Northaven United Methodist Church has voted 270-5 to perform same-sex marriages.
The vote was “to support and honor marriages of couples licensed to be married on an equal basis.”
In a public statement, the representatives of the church wrote, “The decision by the Northaven congregation is in full alignment with the ministry of the church, its mission field, its commitment to social justice and inclusion, and to the core precepts of the United Methodist Church. The Northaven vote empowers the church to extend pastoral care to all of its members in the important area of marriage.”
At its recent meeting, the United Methodist Church made some movement on same-sex marriage, but delayed any change in policy by appointing a committee to study the issue.
In its statement, Northaven made clear it was not making a political statement. No same-sex marriages were scheduled and no public announcement, other than usual wedding announcements, would be made.
Announcement of the vote came a day after the death of Jack Evans. Evans married George Harris in a religious ceremony after a 53-year engagement at a service held at Midway Hills Christian Church. The Rev. Bill McElvaney, retired pastor of Northaven UMC presided. McElvaney was brought up on charges after the wedding. Northaven’s senior pastor, the Rev. Eric Folkerth, attended along with dozens of other Methodist ministers from around the state.
Evans and Harris were legally married a year ago today (June 26, 2015) in the first civil ceremony for a same-sex couple held in Dallas County. Again, Folkerth didn’t preside, but attended. Instead, his wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, performed the wedding.
Northaven’s statement concludes by saying marriage is “an intensely personal and pastoral event.” By saying that “Northaven will fully respect the personal and pastoral nature of marriage ceremonies Northaven,” it is putting other area Methodist churches on notice to butt out of its business.