Evangelical Pastor Fired for Supporting Marriage Equality and LGBT Inclusion


Todd Clayton | GLAAD Blog | April 3, 2013

For eight years, Ryan Bell was the senior pastor of Hollywood Adventist Church, an evangelical, Seventh-day Adventist congregation affectionately known as the “purple church” because of a clear glaze on the building’s exterior that years of sun have turned lavender. Half a mile up Hollywood Boulevard from the Pantages Theater, Bell’s church was situated in the heart of the city, and reflected Los Angeles’ diversity: “young and older…and now children!, multi-ethnic, poor and middle-class, gay and straight, artists, business people, teachers and civic servants,” he remarked in his open letter of resignation.

Bell was asked to leave the congregation a week ago, not by its members, but by the governing body—the administration of the Southern California Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church—after his theological and ideological convictions were deemed inconsistent with the trajectory of the Adventists.

When asked if he saw the termination coming, Bell—an LGBT ally and marriage equality advocate—said, “Yeah, I would say I did. My views on gay marriage pushed some tensions over the line. There were growing tensions between me and the [governing body of the church], and not just on LGBT issues.” The congregation was devastated by the news, and statements of shock and deep grief have been surfacing since the news was announced.

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