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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GOOD. Water lightly stained; 82 degrees; 0.58 feet low. Largemouth bass are good with chartreuse flukes, diving crankbaits and Texas rigged plastic worms near brush piles, docks and timber in 14-28 feet of water. Hybrids and sand bass are good on main lake points, humps and flats using spoons, slabs and live bait. Crappie are slowing down as the lake turns to the fall pattern. Stick with it and you will find a few, try using minnows and jigs in brush piles, beneath boat docks and bridges. Catfish are good using live bait, punch bait and chicken liver.

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