A Wisconsin Presbyterian Church ordained its first openly gay minister this weekend, despite aggressive protests made by Westboro Baptist Church members.
“Some of us will see this weekend’s ordination as another disturbing step away from a biblical approach to the issue, while others of us will see this as a landmark moment in the church’s repentance from the mistakes we’ve made in the past,” Justin Lee, the Executive Director of Gay Christian Network (GCN), told The Christian Post in an email.
Anderson’s ordination ceremony was held at the Covenant Presbyterian Church in Madison, Wis., Saturday.
Nine members from the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church staged a protest outside the building. However, about 50 people from churches around Madison held a counter protest against the Westboro group – chanting, “We are standing on the side of love.”
Lee said, “I always try to approach these kinds of issue with a lot of nuances,” in a phone interview with CP Monday.
The GCN said it’s tempting to exchange hasty criticisms from both sides. However, in their opinion, battling to get the church going in any certain direction isn’t Christ-like.
“That is how the world handles problems. As Christians, we believe that even in the midst of great disagreement, we must lovingly sit down and listen to one another without compromising on what we stand for,” said Lee.
In May, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) became the fourth Protestant denomination in America to give the ordination rights to openly gay and lesbian clergy by ratifying a constitutional amendment.
Executives of the North Carolina based Gay Christian Network want media consumers to understand that as a non-profit ministry supporting Christians worldwide, they do not lean in one direction or the other.
“A lot of folks imagine that since we are the gay Christian network that we will automatically fall on one side. But that’s not true. We have people on both sides,” Lee told CP.
Last week, Presbyterian Action Committee Chairman Gary Green told CP in a previous interview that the decision to remove sexual conduct from the denomination’s ordination vows was “symptomatic of a deeper, ongoing struggle within the church over the authority of Holy Scripture.”
“This action stands in contradiction to the PCUSA confessions of faith, which continue to teach that faithful Christians have the choice either to be faithful in marriage or chaste in singleness,” added Green, whose group defends and promotes biblical values within the PCUSA.
Lee told CP that the movement is hugely exciting but it’s important to have a forum for everyone, especially those who are not on any extreme sides.
“As Christians, we believe that talking about why we disagree is going to be important for the church going forward,” he said.
According to their website, the Gay Christian Network supports Christians who happen to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Their mission is “sharing Christ’s love and light for all,” is carried out in five primary directions to impact individuals, families, communities, churches and the world.