By Darrell Todd Maurina
A former Anglican who pastors in Portales said Sunday’s consecration of the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church is a victory for homosexual Christians.
“We are obviously very pleased that a mainline denomination has come forward and consecrated someone who is openly gay,” said Rev. Christopher George, pastor of Llano Estacado Community Church in Portales. “Obviously our denomination is one that has an outreach to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. We are praying for him in this process.”
George originally sought ordination in the Anglican Church of Canada but later became a minister in the Metropolitan Community Churches, a denomination primarily composed of homosexual members. He now serves as associate pastor of the Lubbock Metropolitan Community Church and since this summer has also been part-time pastor of the Portales church.
While George said he is now happy as a pastor in his new denomination, he said he has mixed feelings about the Anglican debates on homosexuality and hopes the denomination doesn’t split.
“I guess I have moved on in my faith and have found that I can serve God in the Metropolitan Community Church,” George said. “I am concerned about the schism that might happen between the liberal and conservative element of the Anglican church. As in any other area of the church, where there is a separation between people, dialogue goes out the window.”
George said that for now, his church will focus on outreach to people who may have been sidelined by churches that don’t believe Scripture allows for gay marriage.
“Some of our people have had to leave churches because they are allowed to participate to a certain level, but it is as if they are second-class members,” George said. “It’s OK to have ideas, but if you try to teach them, people may not want to be taught.”