Local pastors talk divide within Methodist church over gay marriage

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Updated: 2/12/2014 9:32 pm
"It's heartbreaking to be a part of a church family that is divided, but personally the issue is fairly clear for me."

Kevin Young is not your typical minister. 

"it has been a very liberating experience for me as a pastor to be here and to be able to welcome and to affirm anyone who walks in our doors."

Young delivers his sermons on Sunday mornings at St. John's Methodist Church in front of a congregation that knows and accepts the fact that he is in favor of gay marriage. 

"I haven't had anyone disagree with me in the church," Young said. "Of course, there are people who come to visit here and learn about us and decide that this is maybe not  the best church for them, but that's fine. There are lots of churches."

For many like Young, homosexuality and gay marriage are in a gray area, and there isn't necessarily a "right" or "wrong". For others, the issues are starkly black and white. 

"For the church, it's been clear, and it has been for almost forty years now," Andy Hurst, a pastor at St. Luke's Methodist Church, said. "What we believe is that homosexual persons are persons of sacred worth and value to God, and secondly, we believe that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian faith and teaching."

Hurst said he accepts all people and all values, even if those values conflict with his own. He said he believes homosexuality is a sin. 

"My loyalty, my primary loyalty is to God's word, and scripture is primary above all sources of truth. So, I have to go with that."

Regardless of his church's beliefs, Hurst said he thinks it's wrong that our culture has put the sin of homosexuality on a different level than most other sins. 

"I just hate to talk like this because I know it sounds almost hateful, and I don't want it to be," Hurst said. "I have sin in my own life. I have brokenness in my own family, I have struggles with all kind of folks, that are friends of mine, that are dealing with issues just like this."

However, when asked how long a church body can withstand having two very different beliefs under one roof, both Hurst and Young said that is the million-dollar question. 
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