Tags: funeral | canceled | gay | church

Funeral Canceled: Church Backs Out After Learning Deceased Was Gay

By    |   Friday, 08 Aug 2014 02:58 PM

A Florida church canceled a funeral for a gay man just one day before it was scheduled, with the pastor reportedly telling family it would be "blasphemous" to conduct the service, the deceased's mother said.

Julion Evans, 42, died July 26. He and his partner, Kendall Capers, had been together for 17 years and were married in Maryland in 2013.

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The funeral was scheduled and the wake was going on at an area funeral home when family members received notice from the pastor at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Tampa, Florida, that the church had canceled and would not conduct the funeral service, The Tampa Bay Times reported.

Apparently several church members saw the obituary in the newspaper where Capers was listed as Evans’ husband.

"We can't even have a dignified service like the next person could?" Capers told the Times. "This is 2014 and we're still going through this."

WFLA reported that Evans’ mother, Julie Atwood, attended New Hope as a child and several family members currently go to the church. The pastor at Atwood’s current church, which is not New Hope, was conducting the service, but the family arranged the funeral to be held at the larger New Hope because of the number of people expected to attend.

T.W. Jenkins, New Hope's pastor, told WFLA that he wasn’t aware that Evans was gay until the obituary came out and congregation members complained. His church does not support gay marriage.

"Based on our preaching of the scripture, we would have been in error to allow the service in our church," Jenkins told WFLA. "I'm not trying to condemn anyone's lifestyle, but at the same time, I am a man of God, and I have to stand up for my principles."

Because the location changed at the last minute and everyone was unable to be notified, some funeral attendees showed up at the church and missed the funeral, WFLA said.

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A Florida church canceled a funeral for a gay man just one day before it was scheduled, with the church reportedly telling family it would be "blasphemous" to conduct the service.
funeral, canceled, gay, church
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2014-58-08
Friday, 08 Aug 2014 02:58 PM
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