80% of Congregation Leaves UM Church After Leader Fired for Being Gay

Adam Fraley, formerly of the First United Methodist Church in Alexandra, IN. [Image: RTV6 / Queerty]

Adam Fraley, formerly of the First United Methodist Church in Alexandra, IN. [Image: RTV6 / Queerty]

The majority of a United Methodist Church congregation in Indiana have abandoned their church in protest over the dismissal of a church leader and choir director for being gay.

Adam Fraley, a former choir director at the First United Methodist Church in Alexandra, Indiana, was fired by a new minister, who was uncomfortable with Fraley’s sexuality. To Fraley’s surprise, however, more than half of the historically-conservative congregation supported him, leaving the church in protest over his dismissal.

“He [the new minister] doesn’t know me at all,” Fraley said to RTV6 local news. “[T]o think that he decided that I was incapable of being in this position because of my sexuality really was hurtful. I tried to pretend like it wasn’t quite as much but it really was hurtful”.

Dave Steele has been a member of the church’s congregation since the 1950s. He told local media that his family and others members of the church have left, because the new minister will not rehire Fraley due to his sexuality.

“It’s a very hurtful time and our wish is somehow to reconcile the situation,” Steele said. “[The] Methodist church is archaic in their view and there needs to be a change from the top.”

Dan Gangler, a spokesperson for the Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church, said that there is no rule which prevents Fraley from serving in the church.

“Gays and lesbians are welcomed at United Methodist Church,” Gangler told local media, “and to be a member of United Methodist Church or even serve as leaders in the Church. There’s nothing to prevent them from any type of role in United Methodist Church except one that’s ordination”.

Steele said that interim Minister David Mantor told him and other board members that allowing Fraley to lead was not biblically sound. Meanwhile, Gangler has said that church leaders are working on a resolution to the issue. He added that Fraley initially quit, but it was the decision of the church leaders to not rehire him.

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