Aspiring Pastor Undeterred After United Methodist Church LGBTQ Ban

By Lauren Gilger, Annika Cline
Published: Monday, March 25, 2019 - 10:19am
Updated: Tuesday, March 26, 2019 - 8:32am
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Members of the United Methodist Church are trying to find a way forward after delegates voted last month to retain a ban on LGBTQ people from becoming pastors in the church and restrict same-sex marriages from being performed.

About 53 percent of delegates at the conference voted for this in what’s called the Traditional Plan. The One Church Plan, meanwhile, would have allowed pastors to perform same-sex marriages and ordain LGBTQ people.

Andrew Ponder Williams calls himself "a classic child of the church." Both of his parents are United Methodist pastors, and he entered leadership in the church when he was just 14.

Now, he’s hoping to become a pastor himself. He’s also a member of the LGBTQ community, coming out when he was 19 while sitting in a church parking lot.

In 2012, Williams was a delegate to the United Methodist General Conference and was elected to chair the committee on LGBTQ matters.

After this year’s vote, he joined The Show to talk about it, saying he was disappointed, but not entirely surprised.

On the other side of the issue, Rev. Jessica LaGrone is dean of Chapel at Asbury Seminary in Kentucky. She served on the Commission on A Way Forward, the group tasked with creating the options that were put to a vote at the special conference.

LaGrone presented and supported the Traditional Plan, which gained the most votes. When The Show spoke with her more about it, she described it as the only plan that maintains the church’s current stance on sexuality in terms of marriage and ordination.

She said it's an affirmation of those traditional church stances, but there are also many things that it is not.

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