BINGHAMTON, NY – A Binghamton church is marking the 25th anniversary this weekend of a controversial decision.
Centenary-Chenango Street United Methodist Church is celebrating its move in 1994 to become a Reconciling Church, meaning it was welcoming to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people.
It was the first Methodist church in Broome County to do so.
The debate over whether to ordain gay ministers or marry gay couples is still going on among international Methodist leadership.
Interim Pastor Ron Wenzinger wasn’t at the church at the time but says he wholeheartedly supports the decision.
“Gay people know they were gay from young ages. It’s not like it was something that they decided to do. At least most of them will tell you that this is something I’ve been all my life. Well, if God made people that way, who are we to divide people. So, I’m strongly supportive. I think God loves us all,” says Wenzinger.
Centenary-Chenango Street has invited local dignitaries, representatives of other churches and members of the public to its service on Sunday at 10 AM.
The pastor at the time, Gary Doupe will make remarks as will Reverend Stephen Heiss who was prosecuted by church heirarchy for marrying a lesbian couple at another local Methodist Church several years ago.
The church plans an extended coffee hour celebration after the service.