Traverse City Church Votes to Welcome LGBTQ Community

Central United Methodist separates from worldwide denomination stance

A church in Traverse City has taken a vote to be more inclusive.

Central United Methodist Church is taking a stand to be welcoming of the LGBTQ community.

Senior Pastor Dale Ostema says, “This is been a process for us in response to what happened globally we said we want to stand apart from that.”

In February the global Methodist church voted against language which would have supported same-sex marriage and LGBTQ clergy. But many churches in the United States didn’t agree with the worldwide church vote. Central has now taken an official position.

“Our congregation said that we wanted to stand away from that and say to our neighbors here that we want to be fully welcoming. And we had overwhelming support of that. Which then led to a vote.”

Central UMC has changed its welcoming statement to include people of “all cultures, sexual orientations and gender identities.”

Pastor Ostema says the issue will likely come up again next year. “The church in the United States is probably 2/3 in favor of becoming more welcoming, but the global church though is, has an influence on what happens here in the states.”

He says it’s possible the churches in the United States could have a separate stance from the global church after next year’s larger vote. “We hope here to model as a congregation what we hope the bigger church would aspire toward.”