About a month ago, I blogged about the Grace Community United Church of Christ in Minnesota that was in danger of closing due to its pastor’s support of gay marriage equality (See the original KARE11 news report). Sadly, the donations were not enough to keep this church going:
The Rev. Oliver White, 69, had hoped fundraising would keep the predominantly African-American church on St. Paul’s East Side open after a Seattle investor demanded full payment on a high-interest loan.
But after a well-publicized Internet campaign raised only about $56,000 of the $200,000 the church needs to pay off its debt, White has decided to call it quits. He will close Grace Community United and look for a new home elsewhere for what remains of his once-bountiful congregation.
“Mentally, we’re gone already,” White said Friday, June 29. “Physically, the building is just now holding our goods until we can pack them up. Our goal is to find a new home within 30 days.” (full article)
The saddest part of all of this is that the closing is coming over gay marriage equality. After Rev. White’s support, attendance at his church dropped. This isn’t something of which anyone should be proud. It’s a true shame. It’s a shame that people who felt people of the same gender who are in a relationship with each other shouldn’t be allowed to have the security and dignity of the recognition of that relationship through marriage. Same-sex couples are people who are building a life together; sharing the ups and downs like any other couple; having or adopting children; and they are also couples who may have faith themselves. It may shock some of our opponents to realize that many a gay folk has a very strong belief and connection to their faith and church.
I’m glad that Rev. White is sticking to his belief in doing right by supporting gay marriage equality. I am also glad that he is going to continue his congregation elsewhere. I know in my heart and soul that come years from now, we will look back on his church and his stand as one of those notable moments from our civil rights struggle which fills us with pride.