DENVER (KUSA) – The first openly gay bishop for the United Methodist Church could lose her title because of her sexuality.
The denomination’s highest court heard arguments Tuesday and could decide this week if it will overturn Denver-based Reverend Karen Oliveto’s election.
“This is a community of faith and I’m a clergy person who believes we are called to draw our circle wider, not to build walls, not to build barriers, not to exclude people,” says Rev. Eric Strader of Christ Church United Methodist.
The church on Colorado Boulevard in Denver is covered with rainbow signs signifying open doors for the LGBT community.
While some individual churches and pastors like Strader welcome diversity, in the 1970s the United Methodist Church added a clause to their rules stating clergy cannot be “self-avowed practicing homosexuals.”
Despite this rule, Oliveto became the first lesbian elected bishop last July. She oversees hundreds of churches in five states including Colorado.