Gay friendly churches merge

A reconciling ministry is an affirmation group of the United Methodists and deals with LGBT concerns.

by Robin Dorner
Editor in Chief

Epworth United Methodist Church (UMC), well known for its LGBT friendly atmosphere and reconciling ministry, will merge with the community of Leland Clegg UMC in an overwhelming approval made by both faith communities. The merger will be effective June 1.

“I'm very excited about the new church in Oklahoma City," said Pastor Scott Spencer, who will pastor the new church, which will be called Mosaic United Methodist. “I know these two churches have a rich history.”

Pastor Marla Lobo of Leland Clegg and Pastor Deborah Ingraham of Epworth will move on to reassignments from the UMC Bishop. Both will continue preaching at their own churches through May.

A reconciling ministry is an affirmation group of the United Methodists and deals with LGBT concerns. It was created as a system for congregations to publicly support this group and welcome them to full participation in the life of the church. The group was named "Reconciling Congregations" in reference to discussion regarding the need for reconciliation between gay people and the church.

On the Leland Clegg website is this note, “After months of prayer and conversation, God has revealed to us that we are stronger together. We are excited about coming together as a new faith community that continues our passion and commitment to: radical hospitality, justice-seeking, reconciling, disciple-making, and progressive Biblical understanding.”

“I am very humbled and honored in being appointed to this new church merger of Epworth and Leland Clegg,” added Pastor Spencer. “These two churches have a long and rich history in Oklahoma of being open to all, working in areas of social justice (including race relations and work in the LGBT community), and of reaching their communities in many ways including various kinds of mission and service projects. I am looking forward to being a part of the future God has in store for this new progressive Christian community in Oklahoma City.”

Spencer graduated from Enid High School in 1986 and Oklahoma State University in 1991 with a degree in Elementary and Special Education. He received a Masters of Divinity degree from Asbury Seminary in 1995. He has served many churches around the state as Pastor, Associate Pastor and Director. For the past five years, he has served as Pastor at Albright UMC in Ponca City.

“Over the years I have served in various capacities on district, Oklahoma Annual Conference, and national levels. I have served as a volunteer on many youth camps and adult spiritual formation retreats,” Spencer said in conclusion. 

The church will welcome all people into full participation regardless of age, ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religious heritage, handicapping condition and education level (or any other distinction that may divide the Christian community!).

Currently, their plans for worship are at the Leland Clegg facility, located at 102 E. Britton, conveniently off Broadway Extension and Hefner.

The Gayly – May 10, 2015 @ 8:50am.