Yesterday's service at the First United Methodist Church in Oneonta featured special guest sermon speaker J. J. Warren, a gay seminary student from Penn Yan whose is being denied his ordination by Bishop Mark Webb.  Warren received a standing ovation from those in attendance at yesterday's service in Oneonta.  Warren had spoken at the United Methodist General Council in St. Louis back in February when the United Methodist worldwide General Council approved a “Traditional Plan” that confirmed existing prohibitions on gay marriage and gay pastors.

The FUMC in Oneonta has stood its ground as an all-are-welcome church by defying the General Council's stance on the traditional plan and have joined other like-minded Methodist churches in a group called UNIFY, the “Upper New York for Full Inclusion” caucus that formed February 26, the day a United Methodist worldwide General Council in St. Louis approved a “Traditional Plan”.

Yesterday marked the First United Methodist Church of Oneonta's 30th anniversary as a “reconciling congregation,” welcoming gays in all capacities despite the United Methodist’s position.

This Thursday, a Special Charge Conference is set for 6:30 p.m. at FUMC.  Members of the congregation will debate this issue and vote on “We Refuse” with Reverend Marti Swords-Hornell presiding.

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