ST. PAUL, Minn. - A Minnesota pastor who watched most of his congregation leave after he voiced support for gay marriage is now at risk of losing his church, unless he can collect enough donations to keep the doors open.
The Rev. Oliver White of Grace Community United Church of Christ in St. Paul needs to raise $200,000 by June 30 to pay off a loan the church took out in 2007.
A black leader at the helm of a predominantly black church, White faced pushback from his own community in 2005 after he joined a majority of delegates from his denomination in voting to adopt a resolution supporting gay marriage.
He returned to his congregation the following Sunday and explained his decision. Almost immediately he saw church membership plummet. Within weeks he lost two-thirds of his followers, and now a Sunday sermon draws at most about 20 people.
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