Minn. Methodists Investigate Same-Sex Blessings

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Leaders of the United Methodist Church in Minnesota are investigating whether a Minneapolis pastor violated church policy when he blessed same-sex unions.

The Star Tribune reports Tuesday that the Rev. Greg Renstrom of New Harmony Methodist Church admits to bestowing six blessings on same-sex couples on June 25 as part of gay pride festivities in the Twin Cities. He says none took place on Methodist Church property but that he realized he might run afoul of denominational rules.

Renstrom tells the newspaper he warned his bishop of his plans and that he believes he is “expressing the love of Jesus the best way we can.”

A Methodist spokeswoman says the investigation could last up to 45 days after which the bishop will either take supervisory action or dismiss the complaint.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • kilgore

    As Thomas Jefferson so aptly stated, “One man with courage is a majority.” Way to go Reverend Renstrom!

    • travis


    • Phid

      Since when is blessing a perversion something to applaud?

      • Mike

        Phid… It might not line up with your own preferences but then again since when does the world conform to your ideals of right and wrong?

        We can all help form a better society when we realize that being well adjusted to people’s peaceful differences is simply OK and much needed.

        There is nothing to fear other than ignorance and dysfunctional control.

      • The Architect

        What perversion was applauded? The guy gave a blessing to some people. Gays can’t receive words of peace and love from a clergyman either now?

        When does the “You aren’t allowed to talk to gays at all” rule start, Phid?

        When will we start jailing gays, Phid?

        Where should it stop?

      • kilgore

        Phid..can you support your statement or are you just engaging in name-calling? There are no research-based professional organizations (e.g., American Psychological Association) that share your negative views on being gay or gay marriage. Even Jesus didn’t have anything negative to say about being gay. If you are a Christian, shouldn’t you follow his example?

      • Tom

        @ Phid

        Well the Catholic Church has been giving it’s blessing for the past 30 – 40 years with their priests and sex abuse!

  • Dave

    This organization stopped being a Christian church long ago, along with the Episcopalians, the ELCA, and several other mainline denominations that were formerly Christian. Believe what you want, people. At your own risk.

    • markH

      Virgin births, walking on water, turning water into wine, healing the blind with a touch, creating the world in six days, coming back to life after a brutal death and ascending into the clouds…yes, believe what you want. But you should know that there is no evidence for these beliefs, there is only evidence that people BELIEVE these ideas. Religion is divisive, and there is no greater evidence of that fact that your bigoted comment. Peace.

      • Mike

        TOTALLY AGREE 100% WITH markH

        I’ve been going to this site and it’s pretty profound and supports the delusions that Christian’s have and through logic makes a person realize how it’s mostly just a bunch of ridiculous garbage. Bottom line, I don’t need religion or religious beliefs to be a good person to others or live a happy life.


      • The Architect

        A further point – There is no tangible scientific evidence proving that ANY of the people mentioned in the bible existed AT ALL other than Pontius Pilate.

        • meow

          @The Architect

          Question… Does anything exist outside of our human biological senses? If so, how would one prove it?

          Nice to see you on here btw. :-)

          • The Architect

            Nice to be seen. I have to keep changing names to avoid the haters. :)

            Interesting question you posed. I will answer with my own interesting question.

            What if there were no hypothetical questions? Try to wrap your brain around THAT one. :)

            By the way, I’m 6-1 190 lbs and devilishly handsome. :)

            • meow

              Well, I do admit, I find you “mentally stimulating”


              So is your question like… “If a bear farts in the woods, does the Pope’s toilet flush?” JK

              HEY! you can’t answer my question with a question. That is like SO Michele Bachmann of you.

  • http://travel2minneapolis.us/minneapolis-news-stories-foraug-02-2011/ Minneapolis News Stories for Aug 02 2011 : Travel tips, hotels, restaurants, jobs and news | Travel 2 Minneapolis

    […] shows the number of breeding ducks and geese in Minnesota is significantly higher than last year.Minn. Methodists Investigate Same-Sex BlessingsLeaders of the United Methodist Church in Minnesota are investigating whether a Minneapolis pastor […]

  • Tom

    I will give this Rev credit. He sees that society is changing its views on alot of things. And instead of ignoring it and trying to stop it he is embracing it.

  • Believer

    I will start by saying this – embracing a changing society and adapting beliefs to “fit” is very dangerous.

    Please consider this – if there is a God, and you believe that fact, and you live according to his word, you will have lived a good life and will likely be with Him one day. If you do all this, and there is no God, you are really no worse off. If, however, if you are a sinner (we ALL are, so not really “if”) and do not seek forgiveness, and reject God and his word and upon dying discover that there is a God – well, you know what happens next.

    God does warn against innapropriate relationships in his words to us. He also warns against countless other offenses. No matter the offense, the sin should be rejected and hated, NOT the sinner.

    Praying for peace…

    • Mike

      I hear a lot of ‘IF” this and ‘IF’ that from you Believer

      There is a fantastic book by Dr. Wayne Dyer called “Pulling Your Own Strings: Techniques to Avoid Being Victimized” that can greatly open your mind to new ways of living a liberated life and become aware of all the ways we victimize each other, including all the ‘IF’s

    • The Architect

      No sin has been demonstrated.

      No sinners have been identified.

      No gods have ever spoken to human beings, especially not you.

      If you believe in them, fine, but you can’t tell me I have to, and you can’t tell me I have to live by the rules you want to establish based on those beliefs.


      • Mike

        Agree with The Architect 100%

        It’s more of the delusional and brainwashed “Reward or Punishment” system that Christian’s have fallen for based on their own fears.

        There is nothing dangerous about being liberated to live a peaceful life of compassion, kindness and basic respects of diversity WITHOUT having to follow a religion and all it’s dogma and doctrines that have been revised over and over and on and on over hundreds of years.

    • The Architect

      Number 1, believing in a god because you fear what might happen if you don’t is not actual belief.

      That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard in my life.

  • The Architect

    Live a good life.

    If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by.

    If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them.

    If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.

  • meow

    I’ve dropped the whole Christian “BIG BUSINESS” mind control club all-together.

    Eating the body and drinking the blood (Cannibalism and Vampirism) of their made up imaginary leader alone makes my skin crawl.

    The peaceful gays aren’t trying to “enlist followers” then feed them fairytales and myths with deception of facts and non-critical thinking, then through constant delusions and illusions control their behaviors and powers of choices with guilt and shame control factors.

    But for some reason, the Christian’s use fault-finding and then weaponizing of their religion to make themselves feel better by putting others down. It’s very highschool and childish. Im a touch more evolved than to fall for or partake in that anymore. I guess I also have healthy boundaries.

    • The Architect

      I think I love you. <3

  • TW

    The pastors who do back flips to make everyone feel a Stuart Smalley moment really are ridiculous. This is to try to appear relevant to the world but reading above some dismiss faith of any sort altogether and others may be a bit more selective. If faith is just a Wayne Dyer thought then it is bubble gum stew washed down with rainbow cool aid. Why this pastor bothered is beyond my understanding. ‘Cater to all and satisfy none’ or whatever cliche you like along that line of thought. Who is he kidding, blessing the couple is just a pastor being used to add a air of legitimacy to a farce.

    • YUMMY

      O M F G … how did you know I love bubble gum stew and rainbow cool aid?

      • TW

        Lots of people do, I made a lucky guess I suppose. I just find it silly when churches bend their beliefs to try to fit in. If you want to fit in that’s fine but why toss aside the particular beliefs of a faith just to not offend anyone. Speaking of stew it is like thinning down the kettle with a lake full of water, not much substance left but who wants any? I don’t mind if there are people who don’t agree with my faith, this is written into our laws here in the US. If gays get married I don’t have to agree or like what they do no more then they have to like what I do. I can still live with that. We don’t have to co-exist to the point of losing our individual views or belief that we are right. Or is that the blunt limit of the CO-EXIST thought process?

  • TW

    Rev. Engstrom, where is the gospel in your ministry? Are sinners finding any hope for eternity? Is sin still a human condition that leads to our eternal peril or is all that superstition to be glossed over? Sad, you can walk like a duck and quack like a duck but that does not make you a duck and you talking like a pastor and acting like a pastor does not make you one, credentials and education not included. Perhaps you need to reexamine the gospel message and see if forgiveness and redemption from sin matter anymore. Last time I checked everyone was a sinner and salvation is a human need across the globe. If these fundamentals don’t matter then maybe find a new line of work is best because maybe you are not called by God to this one. I do know Methodist pastors who have not compromised in these matters, they stand alone in many districts.

    • kilgore

      TW…it’s clergy like Reverend Engstrom that helped move their churches out of the dark ages and that challenged their churches to stop accepting slavery as the status quo, to accept women as equals, and to accept interracial marriages. Besides, Jesus had nothing negative to say about gay people in the entire Bible. If you’re truly a Christian, shouldn’t you follow his lead or do you know something he doesn’t?

      • TW

        Following the lead of Jesus is to do like he did when the accusers brought the woman accused of adultery to him for a ruling on her being stoned. He asked the ones who were sinless to go ahead and stone her. As he waited we read he made some marks in the dirt but we don’t have a record of the nature of those. I wonder if he was writing the names of the men who were accusing her and listing the secret sins they thought no one knew. We read that he also told the woman she was forgiven, of sins is the inherent message, and to go and sin no more. So to be like Jesus is to offer grace and mercy to those who acknowledge the need for forgiveness of sin and to oppose those who oppress or ignore sin, like this pastor did who ‘bless’ the folks at Pridefest. No hate is directed at anyone but I won’t ignore those who excuse sin and call that the gospel of salvation. In Christ alone my hope is found, he is my rock, my strength, my shield. Peace and grace to you kilgore.

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