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Church of the Nazarene pastor faces removal over g*y marriage support

    A pastor in California who is part of the Church of the Nazarene might lose his job because he wrote an essay supporting same-s*x marriages. This goes against the traditional beliefs of the denomination regarding marriage and se*uality.

    The Reverend Selden Dee Kelley III, who is the head pastor at San Diego First Church of the Nazarene, intends to challenge a decision that found him in violation of the standards expected of clergy within the denomination.

    Reverend Selden Dee Kelley III
    Reverend Selden Dee Kelley III

    This decision was made due to an essay he wrote in February called “A Hope for Change.” This essay was included in a publication named “Why the Church of the Nazarene Should Be Fully LGBTQ+ Affirming.”

    Kelley explained in an interview with The Christian Post that he has 30 days to formally disagree with the decision by appealing to the Regional Appeals Board.

    “Yes, I will appeal. I have not filed yet,” Kelley said. “I am waiting on an official copy of the transcript of the hearing before I file the paperwork.”

    Kelley said he has received much support from the congregation he has served as pastor for the last 17 years.

    “The church has a beautiful diversity of viewpoints, and they exhibit the important trait of maintaining unity in the midst of diverse viewpoints. They have been incredibly kind, supportive and encouraging to me throughout this process,” he added.

    The Christian Post contacted the Southern California District of the Church of the Nazarene for this story. A response was not received by press time.

    As stated in the Church of the Nazarene Manual for 2017-2021, there is a section called “Human Se*uality and Marriage.” In this part, the denomination explains its belief that God intends for people’s se*uality to be expressed within a marriage between a woman and a man.

    The manual mentions that even though someone might feel attracted to people of the same s*x or both sexes, the church thinks that God’s grace is enough to help people live in accordance with the teaching of se*ual purity. The church also emphasizes the responsibility of the whole community to be welcoming, forgiving, and supportive, providing a place for transformation and accountability for everyone.

    The manual also talks about things the church considers wrong, like cheating in marriage, having multiple spouses, engaging in se*ual activity if you’re not married, using explicit materials, and causing harm through se*ual violence. The church believes that these kinds of problems aren’t just about individuals but also affect the larger world.

    Kelley shared with The San Diego Union-Tribune that a church leader named Thomas Taylor, who is in charge of the Southern California District of the Church of the Nazarene, asked him to quit. When Kelley didn’t agree, Taylor started a process to look into the matter, prompted by a complaint made by a group of Nazarene elders who are not from Kelley’s church.

    The Church of the Nazarene started as part of the Wesleyan Holiness Movement in the 19th century. It’s also a member of the World Methodist Council. Nowadays, this group has more than 30,000 churches all over the world and around 2.6 million members. In the Southern California District, there are about 60 of these churches.


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