Methodist pastor fired for marrying same-sex couple

A pastor from the United Methodist Church lost her license and was fired from her ministry after she presided over the marriage of a same-sex couple.

(REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni)A Methodist pastor lost her license after she was fired for presiding over a same-sex marriage.

Anna Golladay served as an associate pastor in Chattanooga, Tennessee, for years and grew up in a family of practicing Methodists. One decision last fall, however, changed everything for her.

Last Sunday, the St. Elmo United Methodist Church announced during a service that Golladay would no longer serve as their pastor. The committee overseeing the churches also stated that it had revoked her license since she was not an ordained pastor.

"[The] committee learned that Anna, while serving as local pastor, officiated a same-sex wedding," read a statement from St. Elmo UMC on Facebook. "The committee decided this was in breach of her covenant to serve as pastor as outlined in the 2016 United Methodist Book of Discipline, and so they rescinded her license."

Last fall, the ex-pastor married the two women she had been guiding at UMC for years. Golladay explained that the decision did not come without any foresight.

Golladay was aware it was against the rules of the Methodist church but she proceeded to officiate the wedding knowing that their community was more welcoming of LGBT members. She actually spearheaded a "revitalization process" at the church that included the LGBT minority.

"I find it sad that the Church asks of me to be their pastor in always at all times, except for one day out of one year in their entire life," Golladay said, according to NewsChannel9. "There's something fundamentally wrong about that."

Golladay also wrote a piece that detailed what she said really happened.

The head of the largest Methodist church in Chattanooga, however, thought the committee made the right decision. Pastor Doug Fairbanks of the First Centenary United Methodist Church emphasized that Golladay had broken the rules when she made the personal decision to marry the couple.

In February 2019, policy-makers of the Methodist churches will once again hold its conference, which takes place every four years. A discussion on updating its rules on same-sex marriages will be part of the agenda.