A survey sent out to current and former parishioners with the Sand Lake-based Zion’s Taborton Church is sparking outrage.
“It’s infuriating. This is the 21st century. It’s the 21st century,” said now former parishioner Maia Klippert.
Klippert says she grew up in the Sand Lake based United Church of Christ. As the parish is searching for a new pastor, she says her mother received the controversial survey in an email. The survey asks members of the congregation who they want excluded from the pool of candidates. Specific questions include should they exclude all people of color or people with disabilities?
“You know that there’s discrimination. You know that people are going to be exclusive and just downright mean, but to come from something like this is shocking and surprising,” said Klippert.
NewsChannel 13 went to the church’s pastor search committee for an explanation. Marvin Bubie is one of seven members tasked with helping to find a new pastor. His family has been involved with the church since the late 1800s. He says the intent of the survey was never to discriminate.
“What we didn’t want to do was invite somebody to become a pastor and then have them not be comfortable once they arrived,” said Bubie.
Bubie says it was under the guidance of the New York Conference of the United Church of Christ that they asked the congregation to chime in. The Conference’s mission says they are multi-racial, multi-ethnic, open and affirming and accessible to all.
Bubie says 95 percent of the responses received so far show the congregation is open and accepting. When asked if the responses were discriminatory, would that go against the church’s mission, Bubie said it very well could, but that’s not who they are. He went on to say the UCC Conference required them to ask the questions.
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