First Baptist Church voted out of association | News

Fairmont's First Baptist Church

Fairmont's First Baptist Church

A Baptist association has expelled a West Virginia church over its pastor's support for a city ordinance protecting LGBT people from discrimination.

The West Virginia Baptist Convention, which lists churches in fellowships around the state, offered no comment on the matter, and its website does not include the First Baptist Church under its "Fairmont" list.

Last September, Gittings spoke in favor of a proposed ordinance for the city of Fairmont that would add "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to their list of protected classes.

"We believe that the references to homosexuality in biblical passages are not toward committed, monogamous relationships", she said in February.

The association discussed the matter last November and determined that the church could remain in fellowship if Gittings would resign.

The pastor, along with the church's Board of Deacons, released a statement saying members were "greatly saddened" by the the association's decision.

Gittings, pictured above during her ordination service at the church three years ago, said she believes it is important to let people know "many progressive Christians reject outright the idea that homosexual behavior is a violation of God's law", and do not view sexual orientation as a choice, nor homosexual behavior as sinful. Rather, what is being condemned is inhospitality, heterosexual rape, pagan ritual sex and orgies, and pederasty. We believe that gays should be welcome to participate fully in all areas of life, including the church, ' she wrote. She and the congregation disagree about homosexuality, she told the Times West Virginian, but they "have worked it out so that we have agreed to disagree and we don't all have to line up exactly on that issue".

"We've had a long-standing relationship with West Virginia Baptist through the Fairmont Association and it seems a shame to just dissolve that, but they have a totally different view on this apparently". "We remain hopeful, therefore, that at some point in the future the association will return to the Baptist fundamentals of soul liberty and local church autonomy, and we will be able to work together once again". "In the meantime, First Baptist Church reiterates that everyone is welcome to be fully included in our faith community, and we call on other churches to join us in extending that kind of invitation", the statement reads.

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