Behind the Headlines: Methodists Vote To Uphold Ban On Same-Sex Weddings, LGBTQ Clergy | St. Louis Public Radio

Behind the Headlines: Methodists Vote To Uphold Ban On Same-Sex Weddings, LGBTQ Clergy

Mar 1, 2019

Adam Ployd, Matt Miofsky and Shahla Farzan joined host Don Marsh.
Credit Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday afternoon, international delegates from the United Methodist Church voted to reaffirm the church’s bans on holding same-sex weddings and ordaining LGBTQ clergy people.

St. Louis Public Radio reporter Shahla Farzan, who covered the conference held in St. Louis, joined host Don Marsh on St. Louis on the Air Friday. Farzan said the proceedings were emotional and intense, particularly after the Traditional Plan was officially passed, maintaining the old rules.

Farzan explained that protesters tried to rush onto the floor, resulting in organizers barring the doors.

“We had these protesters, many of them draped in rainbow flags, hammering on the doors and saying 'Let us in, let us in,'” she said. “And you can understand the double meaning of those words. It was a really poignant moment.”

Farzan said that the supporters of the Traditional Plan she spoke with believed that it was necessary to keep the international church together.

“The traditionalists, the more conservative members of the church, really feel that with this decision, they're holding fast to their beliefs and trying to hold the church together based on those biblical beliefs,” she said “We heard over and over again throughout the conference that 'We have to keep the church together, this global church.'”

Marsh was also joined by Matt Miofsky, lead pastor of The Gathering, and Adam Ployd, assistant professor of church history and historical theology at Eden Theological Seminary.

Ployd noted that he is married to an out bisexual woman who is also an ordained Methodist clergyperson. He said that while he was upset and disappointed by the vote, the narrow margin of defeat gives him some hope for the future.

“We don't want to keep kicking the can down the road. We don't want to keep saying 'maybe at the next conference, maybe at the next conference,'” he said. “But there is something to be said about the fact that there was a closeness to the vote that might buoy a little bit of hope for the future of the United Methodist Church.”

Miofsky, whose church prides itself on being LGBTQ-inclusive, was also cautiously optimistic, saying that despite being upset, the conference will not change how he or many other Methodist clergy go about their business.

“The declaration that the Methodist Church made here hurts LGBTQ people. And we can't reel that back in. There's harm that's caused. It opens up old wounds; for some it inflicts new ones, and we have to take that seriously,” he said. “On the other hand, the actual legislation is not going to change what happens on the ground at churches like the Gathering and hundreds of other churches.”

Listen to the full conversation:

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Alex HeuerEvie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Jon Lewis give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.