Baby denied baptism because parents weren’t married, Mississippi reverend says

Date Added: October 09, 2022 06:09:55 AM
Author: Sutra Web Directory
Category: Society & Culture: Religion & Spirituality

A reverend in Mississippi refused to baptize a baby of unmarried parents, according to a letter that was shared by the mother on Facebook. “

I am informed that you and the baby’s father are living together in sin; the baby was conceived before the parents were married,” says the letter, dated Sept. 15, from the Rev. Dewayne Warren of Hickory Grove United Methodist Church in Sumrall, Mississippi, about 95 miles northwest of Biloxi.

The child’s mother, Kamri Mclendon, shared the letter on Facebook and said that she felt “shamed” by the church she grew up in.

 “Instances like this are why young people are scared to go to church,” she wrote. “(I) will be the first to admit that yesI have sinned and have done wrong in my life. but how did me trying to dedicate my daughter to Jesus turn into us being shamed for being young parents and unmarried?”

In an update, she wrote that a district superintendent for the church had spoken with the reverend and “rectified the situation,” but she said the reverend’s words still hurt. 

Neither Mclendon nor Warren could be reached for comment on Oct. 7. 

Mclendon wrote that, originally, she and her child’s father requested a “baby dedication” for their daughter and were told yes. They received materials and the ceremony was announced at the church.

Later, they received the letter from Warren. 

“We are aware we sinned, but us repenting for that is between us and the Lord, not to be shamed by a church,” Mclendon wrote. “When people ask why there are no young people in these churches this is why.”

According to the United Methodist Church’s “Book of Discipline,” the church only supports sex between heterosexual, married couples. 

“Although all persons are sexual beings whether or not they are married, sexual relations are affirmed only with the covenant of monogamous, heterosexual marriage,” the book says.

In his letter, Warren wrote that performing the ceremony for Mclendon’s daughter would be setting a bad example. “I feel that if I were to perform this ceremony in our church it would set a bad example for our Youth and children,” he wrote. 

“It would be saying to them that the lifestyle you are living is ok for a Christian. That is not so.” 

The superintendent for the district where the church is located, Rev. Dr. Larry Hilliard, wrote in an email to McClatchy News that he could not give out information about a particular family, but said that all who wish to baptize their children are welcome at the church.

“The act of baptism is a holy gift that is given by God, to the person, by the action of the Holy Spirit,” the email says. “I can say that all who wish to unite with God through the sacrament of baptism are welcome in the United Methodist Church.”

 Mclendon wrote that the reverend’s letter was hurtful and damaging to her faith and that of other young people, and that she and her family members would no longer attend that church.. 

“My heart is breaking,” she wrote.

~ Via Sun Herald