Denver's Christ Church United Methodist has a message for its highest court: “we will continue to resist your stance on gay rights.”
On Friday, the Methodist Court ruled its first openly gay bishop, Karen Oliveto -- who oversees dozens of churches in Colorado -- violated church law.
In 1972, the church added a clause to its law stating clergy cannot be "self-avowed practicing homosexuals."
“I am angry and I am hopeful. And I'm angry and I am sad,” said Reverend Eric Strader as he addressed his congregation at Denver's Christ Church United Methodist on Sunday.
Strader’s church preaches acceptance as its congregant base is comprised of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
“We are more than the United Methodist Church. We disagree with the United Methodist Church,” he said in an interview. “We will live in defiance of any attempt to call anyone anything other than holy.”
The church considers itself on the forefront of the “internal battle” its denomination is having as they are overseen by Oliveto. On one hand, congregants consider themselves tied to the church’s higher authorities while on the other, they are steadfast in their own beliefs of inclusion.
“Let's pray that people start opening their eyes and understanding that we as the LGBT community are important,” congregant Steven Nytko said. “We're people, too, and deserve to be loved by others and by God.”
“No law can violate, no hearing can stop this bishop from being our leader,” Strader added.
As it stands right now, the Methodist Court’s ruling is simply a formal way of the church saying it disapproves of what Oliveto is doing.
Oliveto remains in good standing, which means her title of bishop is still intact, but that could change.
Even if that is revoked, Oliveto would still be allowed to be a pastor for a congregation; she just wouldn't be able to oversee multiple churches.