A church that recently announced it will allow same-sex weddings has withdrawn voluntarily from the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
The 6,300-church BGCT voted in 2016 to declare churches that welcome and affirm LGBT persons “out of harmonious cooperation” with the more moderate of two statewide bodies in Texas that are affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.
University Baptist Church in Waco, founded by emergent church pastor Chris Seay and musician David Crowder in 1995, announced May 21 it will allow its building to be used for same-sex weddings and grant ministers the freedom to perform them.
“We have been grateful for our partnership with the BGCT, but decided that since UBC developed a position that differs from that of the convention, it was in both parties’ best interest to end the formal relationship peacefully,” Pastor Josh Carney wrote in a May 30 e-mail quoted by the Baptist Standard.
University Baptist Church adopted the policy after a four-month “season of devoted listening.” Carney said the process began after a same-sex couple requested to use the church building for their wedding.
In 2016 BGCT officials withdrew fellowship from two prominent churches – Wilshire Baptist in Dallas and First Baptist in Austin – for accepting members regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.