AP NEWS

Kirkland Methodist church takes stance for LGBTQ community

March 7, 2019

KIRKLAND – Pastor Jenny Weber wants people to slow down and think – hence the half-dozen chairs she and her congregation painted and are putting around the village.

But the leader of First United Methodist Church, 300 W. South St., Kirkland, wants residents to think specifically about who they should welcome into their lives.

“I can’t speak for my whole congregation, but as an individual, I welcome all people,” she said.

Weber said the Methodist denomination is split on LGBTQ issues, and that the takeaway from a recent meeting in St. Louis was that policy would become more stringent, and that punishment for members of the gay community could be harshened.

“I’d like to see our denomination’s stance change,” she said.

Hence, the sign message in the church’s sign: “We Choose Love. All Are Welcome Here.”

A sign alongside a chair in the church’s yard reads “Sit down, take a deep breath, and join us as we fast from “busy-ness” during Lent.”

She said her congregation is about 110 strong, and that worship services are typically attended by about 50 people, several of whom have agreed to have the chairs set up on their lawns, along with signs urging people to slow down, sit and think.

Weber said the plan was for the chairs and signs to be out only during Lent, but they might stay out there longer, to drive home the message, and that the hope is to eventually auction off the chairs.

“We want people to fast from hurry and worry,” Weber said. “We’re so distracted by our phones, screens and videos, and we get ourselves worked up because of the polarization of our society.”