A Gay Pastor Leaves His Santa Ana Flock, Exposing the United Methodist Church's LGBT Rift
Updated: Aug 20
Hymn No. 558 in the 960-page United Methodist Hymnal is "We Are the Church," and the chorus to this call for Christian unity echoes through the high-arched ceiling at Santa Ana United Methodist Church (UMC). It's Pentecost, the day that commemorates when the Holy Spirit came to the Apostles, and the multicultural congregation—Latinos, Filipinos, Cambodians, Tongans, whites and blacks—sing from their worn, wooden benches: "I am the church/You are the church/We are the church together!" The Reverend Cedrick Bridgeforth, a bespectacled African-American who wears a neatly pressed, white, short-sleeved shirt, joins in before yielding the pulpit to other pastors during the joint service. It's his last month of ministry. He looks back at the altar, on which rests stoles marking different phases of his career. They will serve as props for his farewell address.
Read more on my latest OC Weekly Cover Story out on newsstands today: