Positive feedback after church officially welcomes gay community - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Positive feedback after church officially welcomes gay community


SUN PRAIRIE (WKOW)--  The Sun Prairie United Methodist Church has officially opened its doors to the gay community. Two weeks later church leaders say the feedback has been mostly positive.

"It has been an exciting process, but is has been a challenging process as well," Rev. Scott Carlson says.

It's an exciting but stressful time at Sun Prairie United Methodist Church. Members aren't only in the middle of a $2 million renovation, they're also changing policy.  The church officially became a reconciling church that is open to the gay community on June 27th.

The process was started by a handful of church members with gay friends, family members and children who pitched the idea to their pastors.

"We want them to know that here is simply a place to come and be in fellowship and worship the way you need to worship and be supported," church member Kellye Walker-Pontius says.

After a year and a half of discussion the church voted unanimously in favor of the idea and became the 4th church in Dane County, the 1st outside of Madison, to become an official reconciling church.

"We were always welcoming, but now our welcome mat is on the outside of the door rather than the inside," Walker-Pontius says.

Church leaders aren't exactly sure how much this announcement has affected their numbers, but Reverend Carlson says he has definitely seen a difference."

"We had that vote on Thursday, the very next day on Friday I got a telephone call from a family and they said now that this has happened we want to join the church and we want to join the church this weekend," Carlson says.

But not everyone is happy with the announcement. Carlson says a few people have decided to leave the church since the reconciling process started, but the number of people who have joined far exceeds those who have left.

"We just had this overwhelming realization that a vast majority of our church was saying this is the right thing to do," Carlson explains.

Reconciling churches are still the minority for the Methodist denomination. It's a growing trend, but right now less than a dozen churches in Wisconsin have officially opened their doors to the gay community, according to the Reconciling Ministries Network.


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