Aley United Methodist Church embraces same-sex marriages

Aley United Methodist Church and its pastor the Rev. Eston Williams have long extended welcome to all people, including the Cedar Creek Lake's sizable LGBT community.

In July the congregation took it a step further by voting to go against the Methodist doctrine by approving marriages between same-sex couples and allowing them to be performed in the church.

Of the 87 members, 69 voted to allow the marriages in the sanctuary, eight sought to prohibit them in the church but recognize such marriages performed elsewhere and two members were undecided, according to a report in the Athens Daily Review.

Williams, whose wife and children have lived in the Cedar Creek Lake area 30 years, said the church's congreation risked being charged with breaking church law and tried for the offense.

Williams said that if the North Texas Conference of the Methodist Church took such action and dismissed him and other clergy, he would start a new congregation independent of the United Methodist Church.

"At the end of the day, I'd rather be excluded for who I include than included for who I exclude," Williams told the Athens newspaper.

Williams and other clergy taking such action regarding same-sex marriages is asking the General Conference of the Methodist Church not to try any pastor who conducts same-sex marriages and to not penalize any church allowing a same-sex marriage.

Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas also voted to perform same-sex marriages.

Prominent members of Aley United Methodist Church include Gun Barrel City Mayor Jim Braswell and retired Judge Ron Chapman.

Cedar Creek Lake also has a predominantly LGBT church in the Payne Springs area known as Celebration on the Lake Church.

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Fishing Report from TPWD (Feb. 28)

EXCELLENT. Stained; 58 degrees; 0.15 feet below pool. White bass are staging in full force for the spring spawn and heading into shallower water, 6-18 feet, and into any shallow creek that has flowing water. Hybrids and white bass continue to be caught deadsticking in 25-35 feet in the mouths of the big creeks. Deadsticking utilizing a thumper and a splasher with deadsticking lures with a 1-1.5 ounce jighead with a tandem hook or jig above it paired with a small plastic fluke. You must keep your drift speeds under .5 mph with the ideal drift being .3 mph utilizing drift socks to keep you slowed down in windy conditions. In the weeks to come hybrids and white bass will continue to migrate to the shallower water from 8-20 feet to spawn and will be easy to find. You may even try trolling a small spinner bait or a hellbender or pet spoon rig at 2 mph in the shallower depths. The crappie bite has picked up in the creeks and inlets in 2-10 feet of water throughout the entire lake. The warm weather will continue to drive these fish shallow to spawn. If you can find a brush pile near a dock you can find them stacked up but most of the crappie have migrated into the creeks or shallow water now. Guides have been reporting exceptionally nice catches on sunny warmer days. Report by Brent Herbeck, Herbeck’s Lonestar Fishing Guide Service.

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