Gay and lesbian clergy


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Since many clergy are gay or lesbian clergy in their denomination, and many heterosexual clergy accept them and their lifestyle as a normal part of who they are, all needed a way to affirm their many contributions as Christians and as clergy. One result was the stoles project in the Methodist Church. Before denominational meetings some gay and lesbian clergy would send a stole to selected Methodists. Attached to the stoles were summaries of the pastoral work each had done, carefully written to guarantee anonymity.

Were they to be "outed" their pastoral contributions would be ended. And a few clergy have outed themselves and lost their ordination credentials. At the recent trial of a very effective Methodist woman clergy she was found guilty but the punishment was very minor. Some denominations, such as the Episcopalians, allow homosexual clergy so long as they remain celibate. Retired Bishop Spong says that he never had any problems with homosexual clergy, and wishes he could say that of his heterosexual clergy. Other denominations such as the Methodist do not allow acknowledged homosexual clergy.

These stoles are then placed publicly at denominational meetings as a silent witness to the contributions of gay and lesbian clergy.

Many of us lay and clergy work for the full and open acceptance and participation of gay and lesbian clergy.