15 United Methodist clergy, candidates come out as gay | The United Methodist Church

Fifteen United Methodist clergy and clergy candidates took a leap of faith together and came out as lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer members of the New York Conference.

“It is with fear and trembling that I step forward and step out,” said the Rev. Siobhan Sargent, associate pastor at the United Methodist Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew in New York and one of the 15 signers of an open letter to the people of The United Methodist Church.

The Rev. Sara Thompson Tweedy speaks at a Methodist In New Directions event during the New York Annual Conference at Hofstra University, Hempstead, N.Y., on June 7, 2013. MIND is an unofficial group in the New York Annual (regional) Conference that advocates for greater inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals. File photo by Dave Sanders.

This is the first time clergy and candidates have come out as gay in a group. It could be a chargeable offense under United Methodist Church law for a LBGTQ person to be ordained. The announcement comes just days before the 2016 General Conference opens in Portland, Oregon, on May 10.

“I signed this letter because it’s spiritually suffocating to stay in the closet,” said Bruce Lamb, one of the first candidates confirmed by the New York Conference as a gay man in March. He will be commissioned as a provisional elder in May.

Source:  The United Methodist Church

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