...Some members of Woodland Park United Methodist Church are
trying to find a way to hire back an openly gay pastor even though
the bishop refuses to break church law and reappoint him.
...Tonight at the church, this idea and others will be debated
in a closed-door meeting of regional Methodist officials, the
congregation and Williams.
...The idea of the congregation hiring Williams is one idea
that surfaced, said Bob Hoshibata, Seattle district
..."Our task is to find a solution that's acceptable to
all parties while still keeping in line with church law,"
Hoshibata said. "In extreme cases, churches who find they can
no longer be United Methodist churches withdraw from the
denomination. That's something we definitely don't want to
...Does baptism give gays and lesbians the right to
participate fully in church life? Should gay and lesbian clergy be
ordained? Do same-sex unions deserve the church's blessing? All
eyes are on the tiny church, Hoshibata said.
...Tonight's conversation is going to be tough and important
"in determining if the congregation is really ready to go
down the path of accepting all that goes with having an openly gay
pastor," Williams said yesterday.
...Maggie Brown, the chairwoman of the staff parish-relations
committee, believes a majority of parishioners want to figure out
how to keep Williams.
...For now, church leaders are trying to find ways to keep
Williams and Dammann employed in a way their gifts for ministry
can be honored, Hoshibata said. Willliams remains in good standing
and in his pulpit until July 1. That's when Dammann, also in good
standing, will come off a family leave.
...After that, Galvan has placed the two pastors under the
direct supervision of Hoshibata.