Eastern: Church divided over choir director firing
Updated: December 29, 2017 at 10:07 am
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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — Ryan Mould, a former children’s choir director at Trinity United Methodist Church, was fired from that position in October (see qnotes story for more details at goqnotes.com/56692). Since the firing incident, which has garnered national attention directed at Trinity, it has led to internal division as well.
Mould was fired by the church as a result of his discussion about his sexual orientation with Rev. Steve Smith.
The Christian Post reported that Methodist news service dispatches shared that some of the church members had left the congregation due to the situation and that the North Carolina church conference had stepped in to mediate between affected parties.
The United Methodist News Service also reported that church members had resigned from committees, ceased teaching Sunday school or stopped taking on leadership roles at the church. One member and certified deacon candidate said that the church was “shaken to its core,” adding that she would “challenge Reverend Smith to present how Ryan has been nurtured after his abrupt firing and the public degradation he has been made to endure.” Another member, whose family left Trinity after the firing, sent an email to Bishop Hope Morgan Ward and The Rev. Linda Taylor, district superintendent for Sound District, stating that she found Smith’s “behavior as a Christian leader disturbing.”
Reconciling United Methodists, as well as others, have thrown their support to Mould. It delivered over 2,000 signatures to Bishop Ward and the North Carolina Conference Cabinet in an open letter in support of Mould. Signatures are still being collected at bit.ly/2BDoEyg.
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About the author: Lainey Millen is QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 704-531-9988, x205.