The situation began to unfold in 2019 when a same-sex couple approached Conrad to gauge how welcomed their family would be at the Shiloh Road church. There was nothing in the bylaws that prevented them from joining and the church began the process of clarifying its stance on the issue.
Conrad said the church probably lost about 30 percent of its membership pretty quickly, but said he would do it all over again, if given the chance.
Towne View has benefited from opening its doors to all, he said.
“They have helped us be a better church and we are all growing and learning together,” he said. “We have a transgender woman working with us and I’ve told her if I get it wrong, just let me know. These folks have shown us tremendous grace. Everybody is welcomed here and we believe that is the welcome that Jesus would offer.”
He said he doesn’t hold any ill will against the SBC.
“We’re not mad at anybody,” he said. “We’re not mad at the SBC. We don’t want to convey that and we also don’t want to be used by any group for any agenda.”
The Rev. Jeremy Hall, associate pastor of the church, said he has a sense of relief.
”Now it’s all about the future,” he said. “That’s how I’m feeling. I’m ready.”
In other action, the denomination also cut ties with two other churches: Antioch Baptist Church in Sevierville, Tennessee, for hiring a pastor who confessed to two counts of statutory rape; and West Side Baptist Church in Sharpsville, Pennsylvania, for employing a registered sex offender as its pastor, according to the Baptist Press.©2021 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Visit at ajc.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.