Hoping to strike a balance between black and gay voters, presidential candidate Barack Obama enlisted Andy Sidden for his controversial Embrace The Change gospel tour. It would seem, however, that Sidden’s not entirely uncontroversial.
The North Carolina-born Reverend (pictured, looking creepy) once worked with the massive gay-founded Metropolitan Community Church. In July of 2002, while working as a pastor at South Carolina’s MCC-Columbia, Sidden campaigned to join the ranks of MCC’s elders. He didn’t get his wish. Less than one year later, the United Church of Christ – an equally inclusive church – asked Sidden to lead their pack. Sidden agreed.
In doing so, however, Sidden may have inadvertently destroyed MCC – Columbia.
In this op-ed, MCC elder Gill Storey discussed MCC-Columbia’s disaffiliation from the larger congregation. The reverend questions Sidden’s motives and perhaps underhanded deal with UCC:
As recently as July of 2002, Andy Sidden stood for election to MCC’s Board of Elders, our denomination’s spiritual leadership body. Mr. Sidden failed to achieve the required votes in both the Lay and Clergy houses to be elected and soon thereafter became the pastor of his present church. So it has only been three years since Mr. Sidden went from wanting to help lead the denomination to possibly leading a parish out of the denomination.
It might also be noted that MCC-Columbia didn’t seek references from UFMCC when Mr. Sidden was applying to be their pastor. Whereas it may certainly be the case that Mr. Sidden has served his congregation well and to their satisfaction, I can’t help but believe that all parties would have been better served by a process of direct dealing and open dialogue. As it is, we are facing the loss of a beloved congregation, and per MCC’s policies, Mr. Sidden’s leading a church out of our Fellowship will be considered a de facto resignation of his MCC clergy credentials.
MCC-Columbia closed their doors soon after and become Garden of Grace United Church of Christ. Could it be Barack Obama’s found his vote-grabbing soul mate?
Hopefully this topic will come up today when Michelangelo Signorile hosts Sidden on his radio show.