Kenosha church to issue pro-LGBT declaration, apologize to gay pastor

For the first time since the United Methodist Church declared “the practice of homosexuality” to be “incompatible with Christian teaching,” a local church congregation will apologize to one of its former pastors affected by the decree.

Thirty-five years after being dismissed from his position as associate pastor, First UMC of Kenosha is inviting the Rev. Kevin A. Johnson, now pastoring in Palm Springs, California, and his husband, back to Kenosha for a “Weekend of Reconciliation” on Feb. 4-5, 2017.

The invitation was under consideration for more than a year as First UMC of Kenosha went through steps to declare itself a Reconciling Ministries Congregation in the UMC, which means welcoming openly the LGBTQ+ community into its church despite the restrictions still imposed by the church’s official Book of Discipline (church law).

The weekend will include a youth group reunion, as well as an interactive discussion with Johnson reflecting on his journey the past 35 years.

Johnson will preach during the festival service on Sunday morning, Feb. 5 at 10:30 a.m.

The weekend will conclude with the issuance of “The Kenosha Declaration,” a statement urging other churches that dismissed out LGBTQ+ clergy from duties because of their sexual orientation to reconcile with them publicly “as a means of grace and healing in the church and wider communities.”

For more information, visit firstumckenosha.org.