UPDATE: The vote is in and Wilshire Baptist Church voted to give full membership to its LGBT members, which effectively kicks them out of the Southern Baptist Convention. Buh bye.
The resolution passed with 61 percent of the vote with 948 members voting in favor of the change, 367 against and four abstaining.
Wilshire Baptist Church, on Abrams Road between Mockingbird Lane and Northwest Highway, voted on Sunday (Nov. 13) whether to accept LGBT people as members. The vote tally should be finished by Tuesday.
Wilshire Baptist Church and a church in Austin both received warnings from the Southern Baptist Convention last week that they would be kicked out if they changed their policy. Actually the convention warned it could no longer accept contributions from the churches if some of their money came from gay people who were members. The vote is a result of work by a diversity and inclusion committee created a year ago.
RESOLVED, that the membership of Wilshire Baptist Church affirms its existing bylaws, which provide for a single class of membership.”
The resolution was crafted in response to the work of the Inclusion and Diversity Study Group, but the resolution presented does not call for a vote on the Study Group report.
The deacons have offered the following interpretation of what this vote means:
By voting YES on the resolution, the membership affirms the bylaws, which provide for one class of membership. Therefore, this resolution would permit all members to participate in congregational life on the same basis as any other church member regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. This affirms the ability of the church’s committees and lay and staff governance structures to consider all members for leadership, ordination, baby dedication and marriage based upon individual merit and the discernment of those duly elected to governance positions.
By voting NO on the resolution, the membership affirms the existing operational principle that does not allow some members to be considered for certain leadership roles, ordination, baby dedication and marriage based upon sexual orientation or gender identity.
The resolution implies that the church already has a number of LGBT members, who currently have a second-class membership.
In 2010, Royal Lane Baptist Church became no longer welcome to send money to the Southern Baptist Convention when they posted something on their website saying everyone was welcome. The words LGBT or gay were never used, although LGBT members had become part of the church leadership. That church is thriving and is not affiliated with another Baptist alliance.