Fourteen-year-old Kat Miller took a firm stand for LGBT rights in front of the entire congregation at the Batavia Zion United Methodist Church in Batavia, Wisconsin when she rejected her membership over the church’s anti-gay policies.
After two years of participating in the church’s confirmation program, she was set to become a member of the church but balked due to its recent policy changes that discriminate against the LGBT community.
Miller and three other confirmands took the pulpit at the church, reading personal faith statements that outlined what Methodism want to them. Only Miller’s had an additional paragraph that shocked the congregation.
“I believe the most important values of a Christian life are to accept everyone who is willing to believe in being a good person in God’s realm… Yet, the stance of the UMC, the organization, does not resonate with what I believe,” Kat said.
Therefore, she said, she would not become a member of the United Methodist Church.
The reaction she received from the congregation was decidedly mixed.
“I was frustrated and disappointed,” Kat saidaccording to USA Today. “I didn’t think that other people, who aren’t the pastor and aren’t confirming me in my faith, should be able to say that my faith statement is wrong.”
Eight teens in in Omaha, Nebraska, received a positive reaction from their congregation when they refused to be confirmed as members of the church.
On Easter Sunday at the First United Methodist Church in Omaha, Nebraska, a group of eight 13 and 14-year-old UMC youth stood up to the church’s anti-LGBT policies by refusing to be confirmed for the time being.
The group made its announcement in the form of a letter read before the entire congregation.
The teens were greeted with a standing ovation from the congregation and received the full support of its minister, Reverend Ken Little. “Myself and our associate pastor are in full support of their decision,” Little saidaccording to Religion News.“We’re proud of them. It’s not an easy thing to do to resist.”
As previously reported in Upworthy, at a United Methodist Church (UMC) conference in St. Louis last February, delegates voted 438-384 for a proposal called the Traditional Plan that bans openly-gay people from being ordained as ministers or serving in the church.
It also forbid any UMC funds from going “to any gay caucus or group, or otherwise use such funds to promote the acceptance of homosexuality.”
A majority of American delegates voted against the plan, but it was passed with support from conservatives and delegates from UMC strongholds in Africa and the Philippines.
The decision has created a schism in the church with some UMCs flying gay flags, performing same-sex weddings, and withholding payments to the main offices in protest.