Policies always have personal consequences, and for Arden Mitchell of Lakeland, a longstanding policy of the United Methodist Church prevented her father from performing her wedding ceremony. When Mitchell married her wife in a religious ceremony in 2012 and then again in 2013 when the state of Florida made same-sex marriage legal, her father, the Rev. T. Glenn Bosley-Mitchell, a United Methodist pastor, couldn’t officiate without risking punishment.
The church’s Book of Discipline – which contains its beliefs and policies – states that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.” It prohibits ministers, deacons and lay pastors from participating in same-sex weddings. The policy also declares that “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” shall not be ordained as ministers and deacons.
Mitchell, 33, a lifelong Methodist and a member of Lakeland’s First United Methodist Church, calls it “unfortunate” that her father was unable to officiate at her wedding.
“It was not ideal,” says Mitchell, who is director of admissions at Florida Southern College. “My dad is very liberal and accepting and vocal about it. … Something needs to happen.”
Something may be about to happen. More