Rev. Kevin A. Johnson at First UMC of Kenosha

February 6, 2017

UMC Congregation Apologizes for Removal of Gay Pastor

One United Methodist congregation has reportedly “experienced the joy of reconciliation” with a clergyman it “rejected” 35 years ago for being gay. First United Methodist Church of Kenosha in the Wisconsin Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church (UMC) signed a declaration to this effect, hosted a “service of reconciliation,” and conducted a “liturgy of repentance” on February 5, 2017.

In this liturgy, the Kenosha congregation apologized to their former pastor Rev. Kevin A. Johnson for their part in his removal. Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN) – an unofficial caucus group that purports to affirm ordination and greater inclusion for LGBTQ persons in the UMC – tweeted part of the liturgy. One section of the liturgy proceeded as follows (with bolded congregational responses original to the text):

For more than three decades, the sadness of a past action by our church has been with us.

In 1981, our leaders chose exclusion over inclusion: causing suffering to one we loved, confusion to ones we embraced, and distractions from the core of our Christian missions to “love one another.”

Now, we are ready to say we are sorry for those actions.

We turn from them to embrace the Rev. Kevin A. Johnson in this moment of reconciliation and renewal. We embrace him and his husband, Michael, as our friends in beloved community forever.

Although Johnson was removed from ministry at Kenosha, he returned on Sunday to participate in the service. The declaration and service at Kenosha came about after the congregation joined RMN last year. RMN lauded the news, posting the declaration and a short video online.

In the video, Johnson said the entire process was the first such one that he was aware of. He said he hoped it would “encourage other people in other churches to do the same kind of reconciliation, because I’m not the only person that got asked to leave a church because they were gay or lesbian.”

The congregation expressed a similar sentiment for their denomination in the declaration. “We call upon churches who have rejected clergy and ordination candidates based on sexual orientation to reconcile themselves with one another and with God,” the declaration reads.

Kenosha may have unilaterally attempted to reconcile with their former pastor. But the UMC’s Book of Discipline still unambiguously states that “self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.” This provision has remained a part of the Book of Discipline since 1972, despite repeated attempts by progressives to overturn it at General Conference.


  • Nutstuyu

    OK, let’s see a graph of their weekly attendance. And when will RMN advocate for ALL sexual orientations, not just the popular ones? Fratrisexuals, necrosexuals, omnisexuals, pedosexuals, polysexuals and zoosexuals want “inclusion” too. #LoveIsLove #ObeyTheBOD

    • John S.

      Patience. One thing at a time. After the first leap the succeeding steps are easier.

  • Skipper

    We need some good news to balance out such a discouraging news. On the radio this morning I heard Jesus words to remain “connected to the vine.” Otherwise we shrivel. It surprises me how many don’t care if they shrivel. They are unconcerned – happy in their own wisdom (for now anyway).
    “Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding.” Proverbs 3:13

  • John Masters

    “self-avowed practicing…” what does that mean. Are you a self-avowed heterosexual Joseph? And when do you think you’ll be good enough at it that you’ll no longer need to practice? What sad little closeted men you all are at IRD.

    • 0pus

      One of the many delusions of homosexuals – that all men are as depraved as they are. People in the gutter try to convince themselves that others wish to be in the gutter with them.

      FAIL.

      • John Masters

        Ah, God’s gentle loving people. And you all wonder why people are leaving the church. Behold…you are the reason.

        • Sam Iam

          Why are your comments always directed at attacking the individual rather than discussing the topic?

          • John Masters

            Uh, maybe read the comment I was responding to, but of course, since he shares your opinion that LGBT people are all in the gutter and depraved, you would consider that on-topic rational discussion. But let someone call out a Conservative, and you all are just being attacked. You all need to put on your big boy pants, and be willing to take what you give out.

          • Sam Iam

            John, I pray that God would remove the hate you have towards others that don’t share your viewpoint. Consider the value of diversity John, I understand it is our strength.

          • John Masters

            Seriously, you are taking me to task about “diversity,” for calling out Opus’ comment that, “One of the many delusions of homosexuals – that all men are as depraved
            as they are. People in the gutter try to convince themselves that
            others wish to be in the gutter with them.”

            His comment is not about “diversity” or a “viewpoint.” His comment is insulting and hateful, and he, as a Christian, deserves to be called out for that. It is not “hateful” to call out a person’s intolerance for other people…especially someone who claims to be a Christian. When I see you call out Opus for his comment, I’ll entertain your suggestion. Until then, you’re just being a snowflake, not prepared to accept what you dish out.

          • Sam Iam

            You demonstrate the hypocrisy of the Left John. Whenever someone disagrees with your viewpoint, they are intolerant. Whenever you disagree with someone else’s viewpoint, you (in your mind) aren’t being intolerant, you are simply “calling him out.”

            All you wish to do John, is to use the gospel of Jesus Christ to promote your own secular agenda.

            Why I feel sorry for you John, is that your hypocrisy is so obvious, and yet you are so oblivious to it. I am embarrassed for you.

          • John Masters

            You’re just hilarious. Calling an entire class of people you doesn’t know depraved and “in the gutter,” isn’t a mere “disagreement” Sam. That is just being insulting, and pretending you are being insulting with the blessing of Christ makes it even worse.

            My prayer, is that people like you wake up to the utter hypocrisy of what you do and say, but based on this exchange, that’s hardly likely. But bless your heart for pretending you and Opus are good Christian people.

          • Sam Iam

            John, a lie built upon a lie, will never become the truth. Please specifically cite what you have stated at the basis for your attacks upon me. Specifically, show me where I have ever use the terms “inn the gutter”

          • John Masters

            Your buddy above, Opus, did, and you took me to task for calling him out for that, while you said nothing to him about his name calling and hate speech. You know full well what you did, and if you are so unaware that you don’t, then you’re hardly worth the effort to have a discussion.

        • John S.

          Those in the church aren’t leaving the church. They may be leaving the UMC but it is not the church (no matter how the apportionment demands are phrased).

          • John Masters

            Read the Pew and Barna studies. They are not being called the “Nones” for nothing. Young people are leaving organized religion at an increasing rate. You are free to keep your head in the sand, and pretend a fantasy, but out here in the real world, the trend is real. I realize actual facts and science and such hurt your head, but that’s the reality.

          • John S.

            We have a different idea of what the “church” is. Many who sit in the pews are not part of it. If they leave the pews the church has not lost them; they were never part of it.

      • John S.

        All men are as depraved as the homosexuals. Total depravity, one of the truths the Methodists lost.

        And yes I can split the hairs on the difference between TD and your use of the word but you have missed the point that we are as bad as they.

    • apriluser

      You can get a sense of what that means by reading the BOD, Judicial Council proceedings, etc.

    • John S.

      I’m a self-avowed heterosexual; I’ll need to practice every day to be good but I’ll never really succeed.

      • John Masters

        And you decided to be straight when? Since many believe sexual orientation is little more than a choice, when did you decide to be heterosexual?

        • John S.

          Self-avowed, in the context, means the identification is by the person rather than an accusation by another.

  • accelerator

    its not about orientation but genital activity, duh.

  • Christopher Cynthia Sheffield

    The question was asked: How is your church seeking to repent? The Scriptures command us to repent of sin. Sin is any lack of conformity to, or transgression of the law of God (1 John 3:4). The clear implication of this video is that churches who do not celebrate homosexuality but rather declare it to be sin, are themselves guilty of sin for which they need to repent.

    But the only authority to which the Church is subject is the will Christ revealed in the Holy Scriptures. According to God’s Word, Homosexuality is a sin to be repented of, not celebrated (Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Rom. 1:26, 27; 1 Cor. 6:9). Indeed, celebrating sin and those who commit it, and calling it good, is itself a sin:

    Proverbs 17:15: He that justifies the wicked, and he that condemns the just, even they both are abomination to the Lord.

    Isaiah 5:20: Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil.

    Malachi 2:17: You have wearied the Lord with your words; Yet you say, “In what way have we wearied Him?” In that you say, “Everyone who does evil Is good in the sight of the Lord, And He delights in them.”

    So when the Church excludes from her fellowship unrepentant sinners, she is not committing a sin for which she needs to repent, but in fact obeying the will of Christ (Matt. 18:15-20; 1 Cor. 5:11; 2 Thess. 3:13-15).

    Church discipline is necessary for reclaiming those who have fallen into sin (Matt. 18:15; James 5:19, 20). It is also meant to keep others from going down the same path (1 Tim. 5:20). It maintains the purity of the church (1 Cor. 5:7). It vindicates the honor of Christ and the gospel the Church proclaims (2 Cor. 6:14-18). And it seeks to avoid the judgement of God which might justly fall on the church if it should allow its worship and witness to be profaned by notorious and obstinate sinners (Rev. 2:20-22).

    So in conclusion, let us pray for repentance to be granted to this professed pastor living in unrepentant homosexuality; that he may be delivered out of his sin. Let us pray for repentance to be given to the First United Methodist Church of Kenosha; that she may be faithful to the one she claims as Lord and Saviour and not lead others into sin. And finally let us pray for the UMC; that she will bear a clear testimony of the Gospel by calling sinners to repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

  • gobmom

    This is ONE of the reasons that, after 28 years, I have withdrawn my membership & affiliation with the UMC.

  • John S.

    Someone needs to check the thermometer, say this turkey is done, carve it up, serve out the pieces and let people move on.