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first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! HOUSTON – A lesbian Methodist minister should retain her ordained status because defrocking her would amount to discrimination, and would fly in the face of the inclusiveness that the church preaches, representatives of a Pennsylvania minister argued Thursday before the church’s Judicial Council. The nine-member council – seven of whom attended a hearing at First United Methodist Church in Houston – began deliberating the case of Irene “Beth” Stroud with plans to rule on Monday. The Judicial Council is the highest court within the United Methodist Church, the nation’s third-largest denomination. Stroud, 35, was found by a church panel in December to have violated the denomination’s ban on “self-avowed, practicing homosexual” clergy. The decision was later overturned and then appealed to the Judicial Council. Alan Symonette, representing Stroud, said the church is asking gays and lesbians to deny their sexuality in order to serve as ordained ministers. “We contend this is discrimination based on status,” he said. “This United Methodist Church is an inclusive church. Beth Stroud has been called into the ministry.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week But the Rev. Thomas Hall, acting as prosecutor, said if the council decides in Stroud’s favor it will cause confusion throughout the denomination. “What is at stake in this appeal is the ability of the church to uphold its own laws,” Hall said. “If we lose, everybody loses.” last_img

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