Gay Christian excluded from church
A Christian has been excluded from his church after the leadership discovered he was gay.
Dylan Settles has published a letter from his church board informing him his name had been removed from the membership list. The note, which has been shared thousands of times on Facebook, urged the 20-year-old to leave his "sinful lifestyle."
"It has come to the attention of the Church body that you have made it known publicly, of your choice, to embrace the homosexual lifestyle," the letter began.
"While we understand the struggles we all face with sin in our lives, we must also be aware of the consequences of our choices," read the letter from the church board.
Settles had been attending Woods Chapel General Baptist Church in Brookland, Arkansas, for six years.
"We as the church board ... have with great sorrow voted to remove your name immediately from the church membership role," the letter read.
The letter finishes with an invitation to return to the church, on the basis he renounce his gay lifestyle and receive counselling.
"It is the desire of your church family you would turn from the sinful lifestyle you have chosen, repent of the sins you have committed and return to full fellowship with God and the church body," the letter adds.
Settles said he read the letter with shock having opened it thinking it was an invitation to come to an event the church was hosting.
"I was like in awe. I was in so much shock, I couldn't read like the rest of it," Settles told Arkansas Matters.
He explained how he had struggled with his sexual orientation for years and had prayed for "God to kind of just take it out of my life." However three months ago he said he'd had enough and told his parents.
"I was tired of living for somebody else...living for my parents or my friends or whoever," he said. "I kind of just chose to live for what I wanted and be happy."
Despite the invitation of the church to return, Settles said he would not be going back to Woods Chapel Church.
"I don't feel comfortable sitting at pew or sitting beside my parents when all I'm going to see is people pointing their fingers at me because of the lifestyle I chose."