Via press release:
On Saturday, retired Bishop Talbert co-officiated with Rev. Val Rosenquist at the wedding of Jim Wilborne and John Romano at First United Methodist Church in Charlotte, N.C., with other clergy present in support. The ceremony may immediately jeopardize the pastoral credentials of Rev. Rosenquist because the current anti-LGBTQ policy of The United Methodist Church (UMC) pointedly instructs clergy not to preside at same-sex weddings, and that no same-sex wedding can take place in a UMC sanctuary.
The wedding also takes place just weeks from The UMC’s General Conference — the policy-making body of The UMC that meets every four years — where the issues of LGBTQ inclusion, clergy and same-sex weddings will be reconsidered. Wilborne and Romano — who have been together for six years — chose to hold their wedding at this time and partner with Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN) on the It’s Time campaign to play their part in moving the institutional church towards a more welcoming position.
“This church has been my home for almost 20 years, and has become John’s church family too. It is a blessing to be able to have the same opportunity as every other member of our congregation in celebrating our marriage here,” said Wilborne. “We were at the point where we considered leaving the church because of the hurt of discrimination. We’re grateful to First UMC and RMN for showing us that acceptance is possible within our faith.”