TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSTV) A decision from the General Conference of the United Methodist Church threatens to divide one of America's largest Christian religious denominations by alienating a core member of its congregation and threatening the mission of the First United Methodist Church in Twin Falls.
"The sign on the door, right, that name, now become associated with this news story with this national event," Pastor Buddy Gharring said. "This was a heartbreaking and difficult moment to watch."
That difficult moment was the previously mentioned vote in the General Conference that affirmed a more traditional interpretation of the Methodist Book of Discipline that goes against same sex marriage and allowing openly practicing gays to serve in the clergy. For many Methodist, that wasn't what they hoped the meeting would accomplish.
"We have a deep concern for the members of our congregation and denomination who are gay, and lesbian, and transgender, and who feel alienated," said member of First United Methodist Phyllis Parish.
"The hope was that each clergy member, and congregation, would be invited and allowed to serve their communities in the best way they see fit," Gharring said.
"We have to say we are sorry for the vote. It didnt represent what we think but we all have to deal with the consequences of that vote," Phyllis Parish said.
However, now the church faces a real threat of a split between those who do and don't support the vote. The First Methodist in Twin Falls hopes to continue to be welcoming to all in the wake of that vote.
"Our local church, I think everyone is going to be loved, and everyone's going to be welcome at this congregation," Phyllis Parish said.
"If you were to look at the bulletin of our it would say all people are welcome," Bob Parish said.