A Baptist church in Mississippi unanimously voted to eject a lesbian couple. Then the church’s pastor wrote the couple to make sure they knew they were exiled because of their “unbiblical lifestyle.”
Mary Catherine Trollinger posted a copy of Pastor Barry Baker’s letter on Facebook. The letter is on stationary belonging to Gracewood Baptist Church in Southaven.
“It’s been about a year now since you left your church family to live an unbiblical lifestyle with Olivia Jennings,” Baker wrote. “At the outset I kindly, but firmly, reminded both of you that a homosexual relationship is forbidden in Scriptures and against God’s original design.”
He claiming the women, married on Father’s Day 2019, were and “defiling” the church and “degrading the name of Christ.” After encouraging friends, family and church members to show them the errors of their ways, Baker said, he “hoped you would repent.”
Indicating their formal expulsion took effect on August 7, Baker left the door open for them to return—”upon your request and evidence of repentance and reformation.”
“As the Father rejoices over one ‘lost sheep’ being found, we will celebrate your ‘homecoming.’ We will pray and wait expectantly.”
Trollinger who actually met Jennings at the church, made it clear Baker shouldn’t hold his breath: “Hmmmmm, ok whatever,” she wrote. “Going to a better church now. Love my wife and Christ!”
Getting expelled from the church was bad enough, but she says Baker’s letter was just malicious. “It’s one thing if you send out a letter that’s generic, just a template, but it’s another thing to personalize the letter,” Trollinger told WATN Channel 24. “In that sense, all the things that were said it wasn’t out of love, it was more out of spite,” Jennings said.
In addition to being turned away by Gracewood Baptist, Trollinger was kicked out of her family’s house when he mother learned she was dating Olivia. “I was pretty heartbroken was in a deep depression for a few months there,” she told WATN.
The couple now attends an inclusive church in Hernando, about 12 miles away.
The Southern Baptist Convention, the denomination’s governing body, officially considers homosexuality a sin and opposes same-sex marriage. In 2017, the SBC issued the Nashville Statement, denying that “a homosexual or transgender self-conception is consistent with God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption.”
In June, the Convention issued another resolution, this one discouraging the use of the term “gay Christian” to describe people who experience same-sex attraction but choose to remain celibate
“This self-understanding and self-expression is open to misinterpretation [and] affirms a sinful desire as a marker of personal identity,” the resolution read, “and may imply that one’s sanctification would preclude the possibility of deliverance from same-sex sexual desire.”
*story by NewsWeek