The Church of the Nazarene has become the latest denomination to deal with controversy over same-sex marriage. A California pastor affiliated with the church may be removed from his position because of an essay he wrote expressing support for the blessing of gay marriage although the denomination holds a biblical stance on marriage and sexuality.
The Rev. Selden Dee Kelley III, senior pastor of San Diego First Church of the Nazarene, plans to appeal a decision asking for his resignation after finding that he violated denominational clergy standards. The decision stemmed from his writing an essay in February titled “A Hope for Change,” which was part of a publication titled “Why the Church of the Nazarene Should Be Fully LGBTQ+ Affirming.”
Kelley said he has 30 days to file an appeal. “Yes, I will appeal,” he said. “I have not filed yet. I am waiting on an official copy of the transcript of the hearing before I file the paperwork.”
Kelley said he has received much support from the congregation he has served as pastor for the last 17 years. “The church has a beautiful diversity of viewpoints, and they exhibit the important trait of maintaining unity in the midst of diverse viewpoints,” he said. They have been incredibly kind, supportive and encouraging to me throughout this process.”
According to the Church of the Nazarene Manual 2017-2021, under the section titled “Human Sexuality and Marriage,” the denomination holds “that it is God’s intention for our sexuality to be lived out in the covenantal union between one woman and one man. While a person’s homosexual or bisexual attraction may have complex and differing origins and the implication of this call to sexual purity is costly, we believe the grace of God is sufficient for such a calling.”
The Church of the Nazarene began during the 19th-century Wesleyan Holiness Movement and is a member of the World Methodist Council. Today, the denomination has more than 30,000 churches globally and 2.6 million members. In the Southern California District, the denomination has around 60 churches.
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice