I am Rev. David Wiggs (he/him), Senior Pastor at Boston Avenue United Methodist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Boston Avenue is a historic downtown congregation of nearly 8,000 members. Our reach also extends via our television ministry to four states every Sunday morning. Immediately preceding this appointment, I served as a District Superintendent in my conference. For more than thirty-five years I have worked with people in the United Methodist Church and related agencies including as a Board Member for Oklahoma State University Wesley Foundation, Trustee for the Oklahoma United Methodist Foundation, Conference Council on Finance and Administration, and as a St Paul School of Theology Trustee.
Opening “new doors” for people to participate in the church has been an ongoing focus in my ministry. I believe that the Gospel clearly calls us to be in full ministry with anyone seeking Christ. When the Special General Conference doubled down and made the decision that pastors could not be trusted to make decisions in their own area of appointment as to which weddings we would perform, I knew the delegates voting for that were charting a path veering off from the main Wesleyan tradition. Add the policy of mandatory penalties, suspensions and revoking a person’s ordination on this basis, and it is so anti-Wesleyan (In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty and in all things charity) that I cannot support it.
Targeting a single group of people for exclusion is discriminatory. In that regard, using one’s sexual orientation or gender identity as the basis to judge a candidate for ministry, rather than demonstrated gifts and graces producing fruit in ministry is something I also cannot support. I know candidates and pastors with great gifts for ministry, producing fruit, whom identify as LGBTQ. Banning them from ministry on this basis I find robs the church of talent and ignores God’s work in creating a diverse human/church family. Boston Avenue's leadership is of one mind that we must resist these policies and the unending harm they have caused and will continue to cause, if followed. I am thankful to be a team member of #ResistHarm and hope you will get involved, too.