Reverend Kelly Carpenter said the feedback from the congregation has been “overwhelmingly positive.”
The Green Street United Methodist Church, in North Carolina, announced Monday that they will no longer be preforming any marriage-related services “until the right to marry is granted to all couples, including ones of the same sex, Gawker reports. In a statement released through Equality NC, Green Street UMC said, “North Carolina prohibits same sex marriage and all the rights and privileges marriage brings. The Leadership Council has asked that their ministers join others who refuse to sign any State marriage licenses until this right is granted to same sex couples.” Instead of marriages, the church says it will hold “relationship blessings” which can be performed for both straight and same-sex couples.
Reverend Kelly Carpenter told FOX News that both the Leadership Council and the 400-member congregation have been considering a move such as this for a long time. He said, “Many people in our church have been very active about marriage equality in North Carolina, so we’re not new to talking about this issue. So over the past year, this statement has developed, and not only to the state of North Carolina, but also to the United Methodist Church in regards to the injustice of not being able to conduct same-sex weddings.” Same-sex marriage is illegal in North Carolina, and the United Methodist Church’s stance is currently in opposition as well. Reverend Carpenter said the congregations response to the announcement has been “overwhelmingly positive.”
Church officials have stated on their website that a committed same-sex relationship is “no less sacred” than a committed heterosexual relationship. The statement says,
Couples making a commitment to one another need a supportive community of faith to sustain and uphold them so as to grow in faith and love,” the statement read. “Weddings are the occasion for covenant making, a time to seek God’s blessing on their commitment to one another. When a couple chooses to be married in the church, they should also be conscious that they are making a declaration of their relationship as a new ministry for the congregation and the world. At Green Street Church, we claim the committed same-sex relationships as no less sacred in their ministry to us and the community.
There have been other United Methodist Church’s who have taken a similar stance, but it is believed that Green Street UMC is the first southern Methodist church to do so.