Foundry United Methodist Church Raising Funds for Gay Marriage, in Church.

When Foundry UMC voted last month in favour of permitting its clergy to officiate at same-sex church weddings, even while a ban on such weddings remains in the UMC Book of discipline, the result was unexpected – and seemed to be of primarily symbolic importance. That reaction may have underestimated its importance. Spurred by the early success, Foundry UMC now sense the wind at the back of moves towards full LGBT inclusion in church, and are responding by taking direct action – they are raising money to support an enabling resolution at next April’s global conference in Florida.

Foundry raises $42,000 for marriage initiative

Same-sex marriage advocates at Foundry United Methodist Church’s Open Doors Fund event at Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Sunday.

An initiative started by Foundry United Methodist Church, a Washington parish on 16th Street near Dupont Circle, to allow the denomination’s clergy to officiate same-sex weddings in jurisdictions where it’s legal raised $42,000 at an event held Sunday at the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams furniture store.

Foundry had previously voted to allow its clergy to perform same-sex weddings in violation of the denomination’s Book of Discipline. The “Open Doors Fund” hopes to raise $200,000 to lay the groundwork to have a resolution passed at the denomination’s next global conference to be held in Florida in April. A similar resolution passed at a regional conference last month.

Foundry members say they feel called to take the lead on this issue.

“I think there’s a mood that’s changed in the country,” said Paul Hazen, a gay member who is Foundry’s facilitator of resources council chair. “Polls in the general public are moving toward equality, so I think the church reflects this and the approach we’re taking is to try to educate people and be inclusive while also being respectful of those who disagree. We feel called at Foundry to be a leader on this issue.”

Gay Foundry member Garrett Peck made a donation and agrees that things are changing.

“What happened the other week at the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference was remarkable and unexpected,” Peck said. “There’s a feeling that the ship is starting to turn in our direction. We have a big challenge at the General Conference in April, but we’re gearing ourselves up for it. If we want to advocate for change, we have to be leaders.”

- Washington Blade

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