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Tulsa church reacts to United Methodists removing anti-gay bans and language

The steeple of Boston Avenue United Methodist Church in Tulsa.
Ben Abrams
The steeple of Boston Avenue United Methodist Church in Tulsa.

This week, the United Methodist Church held several major votes over LGBTQ+ issues within the denomination at its General Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina.

A ban on LGBTQ+ clergy members was struck down Wednesday, while anti-gay language from its core teachings was removed Thursday.

Rev. David Wiggs, senior pastor at Boston Avenue United Methodist Church in Tulsa, told KWGS the move toward inclusivity would be met with a positive response by his congregants, particularly queer members and their families.

“They knew that they would be accepted here,” said Wiggs, “but for the denomination to begin to take these steps to make that clear, [it] will be a day of rejoicing.”

Boston Avenue is one of many churches in the U.S. that have embraced queer inclusivity, but not every congregation was on the same page.

Around a quarter of United Methodist churches have left the denomination in the last few years, citing disapproval of fellow churches’ welcoming LGBTQ+ of members.

Rev. Wiggs believes those churches will hold steady in their beliefs, at least for now.

“In the near-term, I think they will become more entrenched, unfortunately. I think they’ll become more vocal and more anti-gay. I think, in the long-term, that will change.”

Asbury Church in Tulsa is one such congregation that parted ways with UMC over the issue.

KWGS reached out to Asbury for comment, but did not receive a response.

Ben Abrams is a news reporter and All Things Considered host for KWGS.
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