Rev. Oliver White, pro-gay St. Paul pastor, on cusp of losing East Side church to foreclosure
|White says he lost two-thirds of his congregation after coming out in support of gay marriage.|
White's stance cost him dearly. He returned to his congregation and attempted to explain his decision, but within weeks he had lost two-thirds of his followers. Now White's Sunday sermons draw 20 people at most.
As a result, the Grace Community United Church is having trouble paying its bills. The church faces foreclosure at the end of June unless $200,000 can be raised to pay off a 2007 loan in the meantime.
Gay activists from across the country are helping White raise funds. White told the Pioneer Press he's so far raised about $13,000. It's a start, but a lot more money has to be raised over the next month for the Grace United Community Church to keep its doors open.
White, 69, marched for racial equality during the Civil Rights era, and suggests he views his unpopular pro-gay stance as an extension of the same struggle. He says he has no regrets about coming out in support of marriage equality even if it ultimately costs him his church.
""If we are not successful, I am not going to feel that we are defeated," White told John Ong during a recent interview on the Ong-line Podcast. "I've often said if one person has been turned around, if their thinking has been turned around, and they are no longer homophobic, and they can reach out and love their brothers and their sisters as they love themselves, unconditionally, without labeling them in any way, then losing the church will not be in vain."
For more information about White's fundraising effort, check out the Grace United Community Church's Rally webpage.