Gay Pastor Feels Compelled To Give Up Post

Rev. Benjamin ReynoldsCOLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADOThe Rev. Benjamin Reynolds, senior pastor of Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church and one of Colorado Springs’ leading civil rights advocates, will step away from the pulpit Sunday, a few weeks after telling his congregation he is gay.
Reynolds, a longtime advocate for gay and lesbian rights, revealed his sexual identity during a church meeting last month. He announced his resignation during the same meeting.
“It’s not really a happy leaving,” Reynolds said Thursday.
According to Deacon Kevin Hagans, Emmanuel’s director of operations, many church congregants feel that homosexuality runs counter to the Christian doctrines.
“The church and Pastor Reynolds have a different view as far as homosexuality goes,” Hagans said.
The 500-member church has not named a successor, Hagans said.
Reynolds, 45, grew up in Emmanuel Baptist and started preaching there when he was 14. He’s been the church’s senior pastor for nearly 16 years. Reynolds was president of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for more than two years, stepping down from that post in 2005.
But Reynolds’ stance on gay issues — including making Emmanuel Baptist an “open and affirming” congregation for gays and lesbians — rubbed many of his congregants the wrong way, he said. That friction, not his sexual orientation, is what caused him to resign, he said.
Reynolds said it would have been difficult for him to remain once he revealed that he was gay, however.
“I think the black church has a long way to go in this area,” he said. “The oppressed, when they feel a place where they’re free, they’ll find others who they’ll oppress.”
Reynolds said part of the reason why he told his congregants he was gay was to personalize the pressing theological, social and political issues that revolve around sexuality.
He said he knows he’s “considered an outcast now,” but added that members of Emmanuel Baptist have been “as supportive as they can be.”
Reynolds said he doubts he’ll stay in Colorado Springs and plans to take doctoratelevel theology classes, possibly at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver. He says he has a “pastor’s heart,” and would like to return to a pulpit.
“I’ve not lost sight of my faith,” he said.
from The Gazette

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: