Sid Hall and other local leaders of Methodist churches were interviewed by the Austin-American Statesman after the United Methodist General Conference voted to retain language and policies that are discriminatory toward LGBTQ+ people in its Book of Discipline:
“Yesterday, I wept when that vote happened,” said the Rev. Sid Hall, pastor at Trinity Church of Austin, one of the city’s more progressive Methodist churches. “I am starting to weep now just talking about it because I know so many (LGBTQ) people now over the years in the church, I see their faces and I know their stories, and I know how this church has harmed them and that just pains me. … It’s a feeling of abandonment, a feeling of real harm.”
Hall on Wednesday morning attended a church service at a hotel across the street from the conference held by the Love Your Neighbor coalition, where hundreds of LGBTQ Methodists and their allies, many carrying rainbow flags or donning rainbow stoles, joined hands and wept and sang.
The atmosphere was one of unity and inclusiveness, Hall said.
“It was very moving and very powerful,” he said. “These people are the voice of God in the world. Nothing that is legislated can take that away.”
In the meantime, Hall said he will continue perform same-sex marriages at Trinity Church of Austin as he has for many years, despite the risk of being penalized.
“I am not looking for trouble. I am not throwing the gauntlet down. I am trying to simply be a pastor to the people who I serve,” he said. “I feel called to be a minister, but if I can’t minister to all with respect and love then I don’t think I should be doing what I am doing.”