Pastor sticks to word after denying funeral for gay man

Tampa, Florida — Should a gay man or woman be denied a funeral at their own church?

New debate over that question after a family had a funeral abruptly cancelled this week when the pastor found out the service was for a gay man.

10 News was the only station to see that pastor preach on Sunday in Tampa and he's sticking by his word.

"Our trials come to make us strong," said Reverend T.W. Jenkins, pastor of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Tampa.

Trials, like the ones faced by Kendall Capers.

"I'm a normal human being trying to have a normal life and trying to celebrate my husband's loss," Capers said. "I can't even do that during my time of need when you're supposed to be there for me."

This week Capers, a gay man, had his world rocked. His husband's funeral was abruptly canceled when Reverend Jenkins found out the deceased was gay.

On Sunday, 10 News went to Jenkins' service to ask him about what happened.

For the first 40 minutes of the service, we weren't even allowed in the building. A representative told us church announcements were being made.

When were were finally allowed inside, Jenkins was thanking his congregation for prayers over the past few days.

"My family is doing fine," he said to claps from the audience. "Church family please remain focused and prayerful ... and we will continue to stand on the word of God."

On those days, Capers tried to mourn his husband.

"I know he's not here, but I haven't had a chance to grieve because of this," he said. "That was my best friend, and he's not here anymore."

Interim pastor Pressley Sutherland at Metropolitan Community Church of Tampa said, "we will not refuse a dignified funeral."

He said it's a decision Capers should never have had to face.

"We need to just be able to grieve. In this case, for a husband to grieve his husband," Sutherland said. "If we let compassion guide us, then we're not too far from the truth."


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