Last year, it made headlines for firing its music director, Adam Fraley, after learning he was gay. As a result, members of the congregation left in droves. Now, Pastor David Mantor says the church will be closing its doors for good at the end of the year, but he insists that it has nothing to do with the Fraley firing incident, the Herald Bulletin reports.
“This closure is not due to that situation whatsoever,” he said.
Instead, he claims falling attendance, membership and financing problems are to blame.
“This is a problem that’s going on everywhere,” he said. “And that’s why we’re closing.”
The church has been steadily losing members over the past year. Dr. David Steele, a former member and lay leader for the church, said it lost around 80 percent of the congregation after Fraley was fired for being gay.
“I think this is hurtful for all of us who were involved in that church,” Steele said. “I grew up in that church. We had a very tight-knit congregation.”
According to Mantor, only 20 or 30 of the once 700 parishioners remain. But come December 31, they will need to find a new place to worship.