St. Petersburg minister facing sanctions for performing same-sex marriage

Pinellas County

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Pastor Andy Oliver at the Allendale United Methodist Church in St. Petersburg is facing major controversy from his own church leadership.

Pastor Oliver recently performed a same-sex marriage between two women who are members of his congregation.

A minister at the Lake Magdalene United Methodist in Tampa heard about the ceremony and filed a formal complaint with church leadership.

News Channel 8 contacted the church in Tampa to find out why the complaint was filed.

A spokesperson read a statement that says, “With all due respect, this is a confidential matter within the united Methodist bishops office,”

Pastor Oliver says if the church leadership upholds the complaint, he could lose his certification to be a Methodist minister.

Vickie Dunn is the co-chair for the Church Council at Allendale and says the congregation supports Pastor Oliver.

“Jesus commanded us to love one another as we are loved and we really strive to do that and that means loving everyone unconditionally and inclusively,” said Dunn.

This year, the international United Methodist Church Conference ruled against churches performing same sex marriages and against allowing openly gay members to be ministers.

“We all felt very strongly that this is a position we can not take,” said Dunn, who added the congregation will continue to support Pastor Oliver, even if church leadership does not.

“I feel sure that the church would not accept losing Andy as our minister. We like the direction he’s taking us,” said Dunn.

Pastor Oliver says he will first have a meeting with the bishop of his church and could have a jury trial to finally learn what action will be taken.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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