The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC) cut ties with a Baytown, Texas, church January 12 over the church's connections to a ministry designed to welcome homosexuals.
The executive board voted unanimously to disaffiliate Faith Harbour Church, because the church promoted Eklektos on its online blog and allowed it meet in their building, SBTC spokesman Gary Ledbetter told Christianity Today. The board decided that the church's promotion violated the convention's constitutional provision prohibiting churches that affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior.
Eklektos met in Faith Harbour's leased facility for a Christmas worship service December 22.
On its website, Eklektos calls itself a community of Christians "called to welcome and affirm people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered," and "a ministry which affirms people, not lifestyles or ideologies." Eklektos is a Greek word used in the New Testament to mean chosen.
Wendy Bailey, who founded and leads the Eklektos ministry, says the group neither condemns nor condones homosexuality.
"We're not taking a side on the issue," said Bailey, an ordained minister and Presbyterian Church (USA) official who attends Faith Harbour. "We know that among the gay and lesbian community, saying homosexuality is sinful creates a barrier in terms of letting them know that they're really loved by Christ."
Bailey said Eklektos is still in its early stages and that the ministry has not yet determined its final meeting place.
Ledbetter said another Baytown pastor brought the matter to the convention's attention. Members of the SBTC's credentials committee could not resolve differences with Faith Harbour pastor Randy Haney in a December 20 meeting.
While the SBTC has churches in ...1
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