Derrick Montgomery, an openly gay pastor at Fayetteville’s United Ministries in Christ, says the issue was long buried in churches, only to become apparent in the past decade.
“In the church I grew up in, there were gay individuals,” he said. “They just kept quiet, and nobody made an issue of it.
“But over the past several years, churches are being forced to deal with the issue. It’s a difficult issue, and we certainly aren’t insensitive to that. But we find it to be in keeping with the spirit of God to accept all those who wish to worship, not limit ourselves to certain categories.”
Perhaps the most public schism came in the U.S. Episcopal Church, where the ordination of an openly gay bishop in 2003 led to hundreds of churches breaking away from the denomination. The church ordained a second openly gay bishop last year.