Church ordains first openly gay minister

The United States Presbyterian Church ordained the first openly gay minister in the nation Saturday morning at Madison’s Covenant Presbyterian Church, while both protesters and counter-protesters staged demonstrations outside.
Scott Anderson, 56, was ordained as a minister in front of 325 people after he was removed from the U.S. Presbyterian Church because of his sexual orientation in 1990, a time when homosexuals were banned from clergy, The Wisconsin State Journal reported Saturday.
The church’s regional governing council voted in May of this year to permit openly gay men and women to be ordained.
“To the thousands of Presbyterians who have worked and prayed for almost 40 years for this, I give thanks,” Anderson told The State Journal. “And I give thanks for those who disagree with what we’re doing today yet who know that we are one in Jesus Christ.”
Anderson’s friends and supporters gave the newly ordained minister a “thunderous standing ovation and began roaring with cheers,” according to the Associated Press.
Nine members of Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., an organization known for strong anti-homosexual activism and promotion, gathered outside the church to protest Anderson’s ordination.
“Scott Anderson has no hope of heaven, and you know it. Yet, you refuse to tell him the truth and enable him in his sin,” the church said in a statement on its website.
Anderson called the church’s protests a “sad, kind of sideshow,” but said, “they’re certainly entitled to their opinion,” according to The Wisconsin State Journal.
In response to the WBC protests, about 100 counter protesters gathered outside the church. The counter protesters waved rainbow flags and ran a food drive in opposition to the WBC’s picket.
“Let’s turn WBC’s negativity into something positive,” organizer Polly Shoemaker said on the counter-protest Facebook event page. “It may not be as fun as poking the crazy, but it’s better for everyone.”
The church hired two Madison police officers to monitor the event, but no problems were reported.

Via Church ordains first openly gay minister


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