Protests set at Presbyterian, Episcopal conventions debating gay issues

Posted: Friday, May 19, 2000

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. (AP) -- Demonstrations are planned for the June national assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the July convention of the Episcopal Church to protest their policies against homosexual activity.

The group planning the protests, Soulforce, staged a sit-in outside the hall May 10 while the Archbishop of Canterbury preached to a United Methodist Church conference in Cleveland. Nearly 200 participants were arrested.

The Presbyterian ''direct action'' is scheduled June 25 as delegates to a national assembly in Long Beach, Calif., hold Sunday worship. The Episcopal Church protest will occur sometime during a July 5-14 convention in Denver.

The Presbyterian and Episcopal meetings will both debate blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples.

Soulforce said it also plans ''spiritual resistance'' ongoing protests during Sunday worship at local Presbyterian and Methodist congregations that support their denominations' stands.

Soulforce is led by the Rev. Mel White, a minister in the largely homosexual Metropolitan Community Churches based in West Hollywood, Calif. Soulforce accuses many denominations of discrimination against their gay and lesbian members.


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