Assn. may retain gay-friendly church

The Richmond Baptist Association will consider a recommendation to retain ties to a church that ordained an openly gay man to the ministry last year.

By Robert Dilday

A Baptist association in Virginia will consider a recommendation March 19 to retain ties to one of its churches which ordained an openly gay man to the ministry last year.

A Richmond Baptist Association study committee will recommend that affiliated congregations “continue to embrace Ginter Park Baptist Church as a sister church” in a special called meeting of the association.

Ginter parkLeavesLast year the Baptist General Association of Virginia ended its nearly century-old ties to the church after Ginter Park’s ordination of Brandon Scott McGuire, an openly gay member who says he feels called to minister to persons with disabilities and special needs.

That vote had no effect on Ginter Park’s affiliation with the RBA, an autonomous network of 69 voluntarily cooperating congregations in Richmond and three suburban counties organized in 1951. At its fall meeting the association authorized an 11-member committee to discuss whether the association should take similar action against Ginter Park and to bring a recommendation this spring.

The proposal will be considered March 19, in a meeting called especially for that purpose, at 7 p.m. at Huguenot Road Baptist Church in Richmond. The association’s regular spring meeting is scheduled for April 25.

The resolution affirms “historic Baptist principles of soul competency, congregational autonomy and voluntary cooperation.”

“We recognize that many RBA congregations would not choose to ordain a person who is homosexual and might wish to discontinue fellowship with Ginter Park Baptist Church,” the proposed resolution reads. “However, we as an association can continue to work together in the RBA’s common calling to cooperative missions.”