BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) -“Part of myself died just watching this happen,” Eden Johnson said.
That was Johnson’s response in February watching the United Methodist Church reject a plan that would have allowed churches to perform same-sex weddings and hire openly-LGBT clergy. When the decision was being made Reverend Vaughn Stafford with Clearbranch UMC said he’d rather the church stick to traditions that go back decades.
"I do not believe the Christ is for one second concerned. His church will prevail, the kingdom will move forward because no matter who’s in the seats of leadership, he’s sovereign and seated on the throne,” says Stafford.
Some members of the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church released an open letter of apology this week, addressing the LGBTQ community. The letter in part reads: “You are created and loved by God. You are blessed, and you are a blessing.” It goes on to say “We grieve our denomination’s failure to uphold our own Methodist standards of doing no harm and honoring the sacred, God-given worth of every individual…”
Johnson is on the path to becoming a pastor and identifies as a member of the queer community. She believes this letter is coming at the right time.
"I just think it’s a great representation of like, the heart that we have for each other and for this time in the Methodist Church,” says Johnson.
She sees this as a call to others like her, that there is hope.
“I see a vision of more love and more unity as a church. That we can be more diverse, that we can look more like the kingdom of God on this earth.”
Johnson says to be clergy was a calling, and she is hoping for the best for the future of the church and knows her faith will take her where she needs to go.