23 August 2023 |
The pastor of Andover Seventh-day Adventist Church, Adam Breiner, announced his decision to step down from his role this summer, citing differences with the church’s structure in relation to ministering to the LGBTQ community. During a heartfelt sermon, Pastor Breiner expressed that he believed the current structure of the Seventh-day Adventist Church does not adequately allow for outreach to gay and transgender individuals, stating that the church environment sometimes encourages members to act on biases, misunderstandings of Scripture, and fears. He mentioned that this interpretation of the church’s teachings often makes the LGBTQ community members feel marginalized and unable to experience God’s love authentically.
Pastor Breiner’s statement highlighted the larger dilemma faced by many LGBTQ members within religious communities, emphasizing that for him, it’s about people — the children, friends, and families — who might feel unsafe or unable to be true to themselves within the current church setting. While Breiner respects the journey of individual members grappling with these issues, he believes that the church’s approach poses challenges for those who wish to be open about their identities.
In a video of the sermon, starting at 1:07:09, Pastor Breiner makes the following statement:
“This is the last Sabbath that I will be here at Andover SDA Church. The conference and I are in agreement that what I need to do as a pastor in pastoral ministry does not fit within the structure, as it currently is, within the Seventh-day Adventist denomination. And that is to reach out specifically to people who are gay and transgender, so that they can experience the dignity and grace and filling of the Holy Spirit in ways that they are currently not able to successfully do in the structure as it currently is in the Seventh-day, Adventist Church.”
“…I would like to continue in ministry that openly accepts people who need to know that they are filled with the Holy Spirit. To belong to a community of love and grace, a safe harbor, that accepts all people to experience God’s love. So that’s my choice. So how do I continue to be a Seventh-day Adventist pastor in a local church setting with that as my choice? The conference and I agree that this is not the setting any longer. And that’s fine, because I’m not here to make anyone go beyond what their process is, or what their belief structure is. We’re all on different paths on an issue like this.”
In response to Pastor Breiner’s announcement, the Minnesota Conference acknowledged the amicable discussions held with him concerning his stance on human sexuality and the LGBTQ+ community. Although they’ve accepted his resignation effective July 15, 2023, they remain grateful for his years of service and respect his convictions. The statement from the Minnesota Conference can be viewed here.