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By Hilde Kate Lysiak
Disagreements over gay marriage in the United Methodist church, could lead to the church splitting in two– forcing some residents in Patagonia, including the Pastor, to choose sides.
After decades of disagreements over the issue, church leaders have come up with one solution; to split the church into two separate denominations. One side would allow same-sex marriage and practicing LGBTQ Clergy. The other side would not. Patagonia Methodist minister Tom Jelinek has sided with the argument allowing the marriage of same sex couples in the church.
“I think all people should have their rights protected and the church should never be a place where people are hurt or rejected based on their lifestyle. There is a way to do that and live together without having to split,” Jelinek told the OSN.
In the past, pastors were given strict orders prohibiting them from officiating same sex weddings, even having to take a vow to obey the order, according to Pastor Jelinek.
However, there are Methodists who believe that allowing pastors to unite same sex couples would be wrong.
“We believe there is truth revealed in scripture, and we believe we are not in a position to change that truth,” said Jeff Warrick, of the Wesleyan Covenant Association told ABC News.
Despite the differences, Jelinek hopes that the United Methodist church can overcome the divide to stay united as one church.
“I think its very sad. I think we should find ways to live together and respect each other and even if we don’t agree on this issue or on others, to find ways that we can practice ministry in the way that we feel god is calling us to do. Without hurting other people and continue to be part of the same church. I think all people should have there rights protected and the church should never be a place where people are hurt or rejected based on there lifestyle. There is a way to do that and live together without having to split,” Jelinek told the OSN.
This May there will be a general conference that will make a final decision on the church going forward.
Jelinek says that no matter what happens at the conference, the congregation in Patagonia will stay united.
“The church, especially local congregations, are a community. They’re a family. And our common faith, and the ties between people, in that community, are way bigger than one controversial issue,” Jelinek told the Orange Street News.