Gays not beyond redemption - pastor
The Reverend Christine Gooden Benguche believes that the Church needs to see homosexuals and persons who have had abortions as Jesus did instead of disseminating condemnation.
Benguche is the first female president of the Methodist Church in Jamaica. She was elected at the St John's Methodist Church in St James recently and will be ordained later this year as the first female in the denomination to be titled bishop. She will succeed the Reverend Everald Galbraith, whose term ends later this year.
In an interview with The Gleaner, Benguche said that the fact remains that every individual was created in the image of God, which means that everyone has equal access to be transformed by the word of God regardless of their shortfalls.
"I believe, in the same way, if I came into the Church and I were a prostitute or a drunkard, by coming into the Church, and through the word, there is the prospect of transformation. There's no barrier for me, where I am going to say, 'Because you are a homosexual or because you did an abortion, you should be targeted'. You might never have committed an abortion, but lying, stealing, and killing are all sins," she said.
"The woman was caught in adultery, but what was Jesus' response? If you have never sinned yet, throw the stone at her, and everybody went away. So the church community ought to embrace each other regardless."
Benguche said, however, that the scriptures made it clear that a relationship should be between a man and woman. But she noted that judgment must be left to God.
"God made us male and female for specific purposes - in order to procreate. I don't know how that (procreation) is manifested if we practise same sex, but at the same time, the Church must be the Church and nothing but the Church. Somewhere along the line, other things have crept in, and we need to make sure that the doctrine we share is biblical-based and that's what we hold to."