St. Paul reverend loses church over gay marriage support - New York News

St. Paul reverend loses church over gay marriage support

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For 22 years, Reverend Oliver White has been the pastor at Grace United Community Church of Christ on Forest Avenue, but now this man of God is looking for a new house of worship. For 22 years, Reverend Oliver White has been the pastor at Grace United Community Church of Christ on Forest Avenue, but now this man of God is looking for a new house of worship.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

A Saint Paul Church is closing its doors for good, divided over a question that seems to divide a lot of people these days: gay marriage.

For 22 years, Reverend Oliver White has been the pastor at Grace United Community Church of Christ on Forest Avenue, but now this man of God is looking for a new house of worship.

"A lot of sermons were preached here. A lot of laughter, hugs, joy, sorrows. I've seen it all but its time to move on. its no longer my home, " said Rev. White.

The congregation dwindled from roughly 300 members to just 125 after Rev. White voted in favor of a resolution supporting same sex marriage at a UCC conference in Atlanta a few years ago.

Church leaders took out a loan with a high interest rate to keep the doors open, but the much smaller congregation fell behind in the payments and have until the end of the month to pay more than $170,000 or hand over the keys.

"I knew so many gay and lesbian people as people and I couldn't for 1,000 years imagine why they shouldn't have the same privileges that heterosexuals have," said the former civil rights and now self proclaimed social activist.

Rev. White's plight drew national attention and contributions from across the country, but he only raised about $55,000. Church leaders ultimately decided to put that money towards a new building instead of re-paying the loan.

"I came to the conclusion I wasn't going to give him another dime. Whereas I know I could have. I wasn't going to be victimized by a predator any longer. He's not going to tether me to something that's unfair to me and my people, " said Rev. White.

Even though he's preached his last sermon in the building his congregation has called home for the last 12 years, Rev. White has faith that the power of prayer will get them through.

"When you stand up for what is right, no matter what it cost in the end, you get the greatest gift. He gets the church but I get freedom. I will take that any day, " says White.

Rev. White's campaign is continuing to collect contributions to find his church a new home. Here are a couple of links with more information if you would like to help.

http://gracecommunityucc.org/

https://rally.org/gcucc

 

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