Follow breaking news @lgbtqnation
Indiana

Congregation walks out after church forces gay choir director to resign

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

ALEXANDRIA, Ind. — A small Methodist church in northern Indiana is divided and as much as eighty percent of the congregants have left the church after a popular gay choir director was forced to resign, and a respected church lay leader was fired for his support of the choir director.

Adam Fraley

Adam Fraley

Former choir director Adam Fraley (pictured) said he worked for the United Methodist Church in Alexandria, Ind., for six years and attended with his partner, but when a new minister took over the church last year, he said that he resigned because of pressure about his sexual orientation.

The disagreement over whether Fraley should have been allowed to keep his job has caused a divide between the church and members like Dr. David Steele, a member of the church for nearly 60 years who was fired from his leadership position after advocating that Fraley be re-hired.

According to Fraley, the controversy began last year when the church’s former pastor left to take a leadership position with the Methodist church’s governing council, and the interim minster made it clear he was very uncomfortable with Fraley’s sexual orientation.

Fraley, who was previously married and has one daughter, told LGBTQ Nation the interim minister repeatedly questioned him about reconciling with his former wife, and made pointed observations about biblical values.

He said he eventually resigned after the interim minister kept adding to his workload above and beyond his responsibilities and duties as choir director, and because the added workload was interfering with his full-time job as a public school teacher.

Steele, who served as the chief lay leader and member of the committee that selects church workers ranging from choir director to janitor, said that he later pushed the church’s new pastor, David Mantor, to re-hire Fraley, but that Mantor eventually refused, citing Fraley’s sexual orientation.

He said he was subsequently asked to resign his position in church leadership, and when he refused, he was relieved him of his duties.

Steele said he was informed by Michelle Cobb, District Superintendent for the United Methodist Conference, that his services would not be needed because he neglected his duties as a lay leader by not supporting the pastor’s decision regarding Fraley.

According to Steele, as much as 80 percent of the church’s congregation have stopped attending because of the way he and Fraley have been treated.

He said the congregants who have left — who are mostly seniors — feel they should decide who should fill those lay positions.

According to United Methodist Church doctrine and practices, LGBT people may attend services but “self-avowed, practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve.”

Dan Gangler, director of communications for the United Methodist Conference confirmed that the church only prohibits practicing gays being ordained.

“Any other leadership positions should be filled at the discretion of the congregation and the minister,” said Gangler.

Fraley told LGBTQ Nation he would return to the church if offered his job back, as would Steele, but said there has been no effort by church officials to negotiate a resolution.

Manto and Cobb did not return calls by LGBTQ Nation seeking comment.

Share this article with your friends and followers:

Archives: , , , ,

Filed under: Indiana, [ Trending ]

90 more reader comments:

  1. Jesus welcomed prostitutes and tax collectors at HIS table. Too bad some charges still have not learned from His example!

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 6:47pm
  2. You just compared being gay to prostitution in front of a billion fb viewers. Wow...

    Replied on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 8:31pm
  3. Or tax collectors.

    Replied on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 1:09am
  4. Good for the people who took a stand for love & acceptance & walked out.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 6:48pm
  5. money talks… and if 80% of the congregation walked out. well it’s only a matter of time.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 6:49pm
  6. Mary Ferrara, please don’t compare being gay to prostitution. Thanks!

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 6:53pm
  7. i love the fact that this is making NATIONAL news…..and the fact that i have a church music degree, and i haven’t be “in” the church for the last 15 years because i’m gay…..

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 6:53pm
  8. I’m ashamed of my childhood faith. I give up and will not be returning to United Methodist Churches after all. Repeated stories like this are indicative of non-reported stories as well. Now I get to tell my trans child that the church will not feel there is a place for him, should he ever want to serve it, simply because they twist the NT.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 6:54pm
  9. YES!!! good for those people getting up and walking out on hate… Take a stand people and stop the hate

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 6:56pm
  10. I’m glad a good portion of the church followed him right out the door. I think that speaks volumes and will make the decision look as silly, as it actually was.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 6:57pm
  11. Well done! Go Hoosiers!

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 6:57pm
  12. I wonder how many people consider themselves to be ‘practicing’ straights.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 6:58pm
  13. Good! Bigotry and hate should never be allowed!

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 6:58pm
  14. Glad they took a stand for good.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 7:01pm
  15. Some Methodist are getting more like the Baptist every day

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 7:02pm
  16. Hopefully, those people who walked out will also wake up to the fact that the bible is the source of bigotry, and throw it in the trash with the bigots.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 7:03pm
  17. most decent people are taking a stand against bullying right now…it’s just not wise to play the bully…no matter who you think you are or how you try to justify it…when you do something that is obviously discriminitory, you are gonna be painted as the villain.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 7:04pm
  18. I’m a Methodist..gay.. and this is really upsetting.. as our church/denomination is supposed to be open doors..open hearts open minds…and one of the more liberal/accepting of churches.. this is embarrassing …. good for that congregation.. sometimes the flock must leave its lame ass shepherd …

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 7:06pm
  19. what a surprise, a bigoted minister.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 7:06pm
  20. Of all places, church is most filled with bigots and hypocrites…….

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 7:07pm
  21. She wasn’t equating or comparing homosexuality with prostitution. She was citing applicable examples in which the very person they proclaim to follow behaved in a respectful, peaceful and accepting manner toward those the bible also deemed unworthy in these people’s eyes.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 7:08pm
  22. Need to take away their tax exemptions.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 7:09pm
  23. Also, WHOOHOO at seeing anti HJR-3 pictures around Facebook. ^_^

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 7:09pm
  24. I was kicked out my my old church’s youth band when they found out about my queerness. It sucks, dude. All the best for you and yours.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 7:12pm
  25. Well their loss for kicking you out!

    Replied on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 7:36pm
  26. It was an opportunity for me to wake up and leave christianity delusions. Most religions are chains and cages.

    Replied on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 8:54pm
  27. Kill your bible

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 7:20pm
  28. Can you imagine the world we would be living in if ALL congregations did this? Religion would crumble overnight. This is obviously a very tight-knit church and they should all be proud of each other that they didn’t sell out their fellow man like the bigoted hierarchy did

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 7:24pm
  29. God is good…..God is love

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 7:25pm
  30. money talks….word.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 7:30pm
  31. When my daughter’s youth group coordinator decided she and her girlfriend could not sit next to each other anylonger now that they were”out” we left the church and decided that wwe would never go back.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 7:35pm
  32. Hope he finds a UCC or other accepting church!

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 7:39pm
  33. why did they walk out?

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 7:45pm
  34. Missa, Monica, Lorna, and Shannon, many UCC churches would love to welcome those who have been rejected elsewhere (just as Jesus did). Rejection by church of course does not equal rejection by God. I assume you know that!

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 7:46pm
  35. I see no problem comparing homosexuality with prostitution. Neither is bad or unethical.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 7:48pm
  36. The 80 percent should form their own congregation!

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 7:55pm
  37. Good for them to have the courage and integrity to walk out! Hopefully they will not go back unless he is returned to his post!

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 7:57pm
  38. Its hard when a pastor makes your life miserable – trust me – I’m in that position right now!

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 8:01pm
  39. Yes, 80% of the congregation means how much money?

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 8:04pm
  40. Let the church fold.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 8:05pm
  41. GO TO ANOTHER CHURCH!! BETTER YET, STOP GOING TO CHURCH ALTOGETHER AND COMMUNE WITH THE UNIVERSE AND NATURE ON YOUR OWN!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 8:10pm
  42. Story’s like this make me glad I don’t belong to a church.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 8:20pm
  43. Haha! Sucks to be you, pastor.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 8:22pm
  44. Sometimes I’m embarrassed to be a United Methodist. Sometimes my heart is warmed. Kudos to those who support equality in the church.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 8:25pm
  45. Brent Morin, that was your interpretation, not certainly what I meanT

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 8:38pm
  46. May God seek out those who have a good heart and heal those who need to learn the ways of our Lord it is all about forgiveness and understanding/ that gay ppl are Gods ppl

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 8:39pm
  47. <3 Good for the congregation!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 8:50pm
  48. Die bigot chirstians die die die.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 8:51pm
  49. Finally, a story out of Indiana where I hear of people standing up and not judging. How the minister acted is disappointing, but for the 80% of congregation who walked out not liking the minister’s decision, priceless. Hope stands strong with stories of support.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 9:01pm
  50. Was this guy in the American Guild of Organists? If he is, he can make it so that church is blacklisted and will never be able to find another decent choir director or organist. Here in Florida, the AGO protects the rights of Organists/Choir Directors as well as the Musician’s Union. It also makes Churches follow certain guidelines in relations with music ministers.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 9:09pm
  51. Was this guy in the American Guild of Organists? If he is, he can make it so that church is blacklisted and will never be able to find another decent choir director or organist. Here in Florida, the AGO protects the rights of Organists/Choir Directors as well as the Musician’s Union. It also makes Churches follow certain guidelines in relations with music ministers.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 9:09pm
  52. Was this guy in the American Guild of Organists? If he is, he can make it so that church is blacklisted and will never be able to find another decent choir director or organist. Here in Florida, the AGO protects the rights of Organists/Choir Directors as well as the Musician’s Union. It also makes Churches follow certain guidelines in relations with music ministers.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 9:09pm
  53. Maybe if more Congregations would vote with their feet the upper levels of the Church hierarchy would get a clue and force a rewrite of the BOW at the next General Conference.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 9:21pm
  54. Once again fucking idiotic religious fucktards.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 9:21pm
  55. Good for them!

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 9:29pm
  56. Shame on them. A good organist/choir master is hard to find, especially one who sounds like he devoted his time to God and his church. Shame on the powers that be.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 9:32pm
  57. The Methodists have some serious issues, it is okay for a pastor to be transgender but if someone is gay it is a problem they need to live their creed Open Hearts Open Minds Open Doors.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 9:53pm
  58. Indiana disgusts me!

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 9:54pm
  59. Doesn’t the term choir director kind of imply…I mean, who do they think is going to apply for that job?

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 10:07pm
  60. Shame on you church leaders for even thinking you are christian, Why don’t you try being more Christ like! ! ! ! !

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 10:24pm
  61. Wake up people- the people who do these jobs are gay more often than not. This is an issue in Indiana needs to confront. Enough with the bigotry from the christian right- they are wrong .

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 10:27pm
  62. He won’t have a problem finding another church – music directors like him are a tremendous asset to any congregation.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 10:29pm
  63. This just shows how much division there is in the UMC. We need all people to stand up. I did in our planning session for the board. IF the UMC is going to change we are going to have to do it.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 10:29pm
  64. Adam Fraley, don’t let the ignorance of some get you down. I know that there is room for you in both the Episcopal Church and some Lutherans (ELCA), United Church of Christ, many Presbyterian (PCUSA) plus some Methodist Churches are more welcoming.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 10:40pm
  65. My wife and I belong to a UMC that just became a Reconciling Congregation!

    Replied on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 1:23am
  66. I hope that church learns a lesson

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 10:46pm
  67. It’s time to find a new MINISTER!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 10:47pm
  68. Good for the 80% of this congregation

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 10:56pm
  69. And this is why I am no longer a UMC member!!

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 11:06pm
  70. The word “director” should be written between

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 11:16pm
  71. Which is why I left the United Methodist Church several years ago.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 11:17pm
  72. Incredible. Gotta love Quasi-Christians.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 11:25pm
  73. I’m proud of the folks who walked out – the UMC is still in the dark ages.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 11:29pm
  74. Yeah…but remember, its okay to have all of those pedophile priests and ministers in ministry and pass them through to the next church for more victims until they are discovered and caught. This witch hunt just sickens me as time passes on…..

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 11:30pm
  75. Stupid religion. It makes people even stupider.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 11:55pm
  76. Long before Barrack Obama entered politics, long before anti-semitism and antiliberalism had become battle cries for the Religious Right and Tea-Party followers and the Patriots etc, the American Government’s experiment in democracy and social tolerance was steadily undermined by distrust, injustice, and violence. One is almost tempted to say that the President of the United States, the Supreme Court as well as Congress itself did not bring America down; they merely saved it from suicide, by murdering it themselves. It was bankrupt long before the Christian Right appointed themselves as America’s savior against children, adults and eldely who demand as GLBT, equality under the laws of this country.” NOW read and be educated what the Nazis did to GLBT in Richard Plant’s book The Pink Triangle: The Nazi War against homosexuals.

    And tell me that the amended quote from page 23, isn’t just EXACTLY what the Christian Right wants to do to GLBT. They want to annihilate GLBT, by genetics, incarcerations, criminalizing us, and maiming/murdering us. GENOCIDE!! This is their God’s Love? No this is their agenda! They can’t do it here in America (yet) but they have exported their Fear and Hate to Russia, to Nigeria etc.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 12:01am
  77. Sad

    Posted on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 12:35am
  78. Cool !

    Posted on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 12:40am
  79. I would too!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 12:58am
  80. Fools have no power when no one follows them, tolerates them or associates with them.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 1:00am
  81. The Methodists need to go take some methadone

    Posted on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 1:22am
  82. Standing up for what is right is so admirable. Thank you congregants

    Posted on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 1:30am
  83. The Winds of Change….

    Posted on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 1:33am
  84. Good on them!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 2:19am
  85. Christian bigots. To hell with them all!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 2:30am
  86. I hope more leave from his church along with other UMC churches across that state. Blessings to all who are standing for what is right. My prayer is that the conference will take the right stand and dismiss the pastor from his role and reunite this congregation.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 2:32am
  87. The times, they are a-changin’. Glad to see about 80% left in protest.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 3:18am
  88. I will be praying for you that you find loving open arms real soon….we do love you!! xo

    Posted on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 3:51am
  89. it is the congregation that is paying for keeping the church’s bills and its doors open. good for this congregation for taking a stand!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 3:58am
  90. Find a different church. That one apparently sucks.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 4:15am