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Teens stage protest, refuse to join United Methodist Church over its 'immoral' stance toward LGBTQ members

'Some would say they followed a prompting of the Holy Spirit'

Image source: YouTube screenshot

On the heels of the United Methodist Church's recent decision to uphold the denomination's stance against same-sex marriage and ordaining LGBTQ clergy, a group of teenagers just hit back.

Video shows two teenagers standing during a service at the First United Methodist Church in Omaha, Nebraska, last Sunday and reading a letter decrying the UMC denomination's "immoral" and "unjust" position on LGBTQ members.

A group of eight teens in total — all 13- and 14-year-olds — are part of this year's confirmation class and were to become official UMC members that day, too. But they refused membership, Religion News reported.

"We are concerned that if we join at this time, we will be sending a message that we approve of this decision," the letter stated.

Here's video of the teens reading the letter:

The confirmation class at First United Methodist Omaha decided not to join in protest of UMC's anti-LGBTQ policies youtu.be

What happened after the teens read the letter?

The teens received a standing ovation after reading the letter, Religion News said, adding that it was the "first known refusal to join the church at the end of confirmation, a formal rite of passage that includes education in the faith. Traditionally, confirmation classes spend a year learning about Christianity, the history of the United Methodist Church, its social principles, its polity, and what it means to be a member."

What did some adults have to say?

The outlet said the Rev. Kent Little, pastor of the Omaha church, backed the teens: "Myself and our associate pastor are in full support of their decision. We're proud of them. It's not an easy thing to do to resist."

Laura Young — south central regional organizer for Reconciling Ministry Congregation, a network of UMC churches promoting full inclusion of LGBTQ members — told HuffPost she's proud of the teens.

"They're engaged, informed, and making hard choices," Young told HuffPost. "They said yes to a calling. Some would say they followed a prompting of the Holy Spirit. We adults could learn from them."

What's the background?

Tim Fickenscher, a retired junior high school teacher who taught the confirmation class, told Religion News the idea for the letter started about a month ago when two girls said they didn't want to join a denomination that denies full rights to LGBTQ members. After that, the other six teens decided to join the protest, the outlet said.

"It was a very thoughtful, well-discussed decision," Fickenscher told Religion News. "We tried to give the kids as much latitude in decision-making as we could."

One last thing…
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