Former Saddleback Pastor Leaves New Church Over Gay Marriage Stance

The pastor of Southwest Church resigned over his stance on gay marriage.
The pastor of Southwest Church resigned over his stance on gay marriage. (The Desert Sun Video)

The top pastor of Southwest Church in Indian Wells was asked to resign because he refused to condemn homosexuality, he explained in his resignation letter. 

A few months ago, Pastor Gerald Sharon—who has been lead pastor of Southwest since 2013 and previously served at Saddleback Church in Orange County—asked the church hierarchy to look into "the extent to which a homosexual individual could be involved in the life of Southwest Church."

While the church leadership initially seemed engaged in the discussions, they recently sent Sharon a letter in which they unanimously affirmed Southwest's current position on homosexuality.

Southwest's LGBT policy is written down in a document titled "Homosexuality and Human Sexuality." The document does not appear to be publicly available.

"My heart sank realizing that no homosexual person who would read these documents would truly feel welcome at Southwest Church," Sharon wrote in his resignation letter.

"And if the positions held in these papers are followed, they will effectively exclude homosexual individuals from the life of Southwest. My desire was to rescind these papers, neither affirming nor condemning homosexuality so that all individuals regardless of their perspective could feel completely welcome and fully loved at Southwest."

Sharon's resignation is effective July 8, but the church elders have forbidden him from attending any services at Southwest, according to the resignation letter.

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