On March 13, 2015, though, members were shocked when Harrell and six elders—two resigned—sent out a letter announcing that City Church “will no longer discriminate based on sexual orientation.” The letter made it clear that sexually active gay and lesbian couples in same-sex marriages could become church members.

The change surprised more than 40 pastors who on March 25 sent Harrell a letter proposing “Compassion without Compromise.” They asked Harrell and the remaining elders, “How long did you take to make this decision? … Were opposing views openly discussed? … Was there a period of open dialogue where members could give input before the decision was made? Why or why not?”

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