Hoosier Congregation? 80% of Indiana Church-goers leave, after Pastor Ousts Gay Choir Director

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    Jan 13, 2014 3:59 AM GMT

    Anderson (Ind.) Herald BulletinDavid Steele said his family has stopped attending the church, which has been difficult. They aren’t alone either. About 80 percent of the congregation left because of the situation with (ex-choir director Adam) Fraley.

    "They all embraced him," Nancy Steele said. "They're upset about the way he was treated."

    Fraley said it was encouraging to see the support the group has for him, especially its demographics. He said getting to know him first was important.

    "I think they got to know me first before they knew I was gay," he said.

    The overall support for Fraley among the congregation has further upset the Steeles about the minister's stance.

    "It's almost like he's hijacked the church," David Steele said. "He is completely going against what the church body wants."
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    Dec 20, 2014 7:43 PM GMT


    Anderson Herald-BulletinThe First United Methodist Church in Alexandria, which lost some members about a year ago after a dispute involving its gay choir director, will close its doors for good at the end of 2014.

    David Mantor, pastor of the church, said the decision to close the church resulted from falling attendance, membership and financing problems. Mantor said statistics he's seen from United Methodist Church headquarters show a "downward spiral" of membership and donations across the whole UM church for the past 30 years.

    "This is a problem that's going on everywhere," Mantor said. "And that's why we're closing."

    The church will officially close Dec. 31. Dec. 28 will bring the final Sunday service for the church, which is home to about 20-30 members. Mantor said attendance fluctuates weekly.

    The church was in the news about a year ago after Adam Fraley, a gay music director, wasn't allowed to return to his position because of his sexual orientation. That struck some of the church members as unfair, and some of the congregation left the church and did not return.

    United Methodist Church doctrine states gays are welcome but cannot serve in positions of leadership, including music director. Although the controversy led to a reduction in size of the congregation, Mantor said that is not the reason for the church shutting down.

    "This closure is not due to that situation whatsoever," Mantor said.

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