The Ginter Park Baptist Church in Richmond, VA has been affiliated with the Baptist General Association of Virginia for almost 100 years. Now, they’re being asked to stop affiliation with the group, because they have chosen a gay Pastor as their congregation leader and if they don’t withdraw by December, they will get kicked out.
Said John Upton, Executive Director of the Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) and the Virginia Baptist Mission Board.
“”We’ve asked them to withdraw because we prefer they make that decision by the end of the year, but if not we would stop receiving their contributions.
“We also highly esteem the Biblical view of marriage and the way that most of our churches view that is they affirm the Biblical principals of marriage being between one man and one woman. There’s no celebration here at all. There’s deep grief in this and we’re losing some friends here.”
Upton went on to say that, “Virginia Baptists really have no desire to join many groups that demonize or shun or reject homosexuals. Those who struggle with same-sex attraction and I also say that we stand firmly against bigotry, violence, prejudice, slander, and harassment of any group or individual.”
“I think it very unfortunate that the BGAV continues to uphold an archaic understanding and judgmental interpretation of scripture -that in the end says very little and is certainly inconclusive about this issue,” said Rev Warren Hammonds, who is on the Board of the People of Faith For Equality in Virginia. He is also a former minister and employee of the BGAV. “Its stance and action along with Dr. Upton’s statement basically presumes to decide for God whom God calls, and places the notion that all of God’s children being created in God’s image into a small, confining, comfortable box. The action also goes against the long-known Baptist principle of the autonomy of the local church.”
On the Ginter Park website, the church still claims an affiliation with the Baptist General Association of Virginia, saying they are continuing their membership and proud to be part of the BGVA.