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Church cancels funeral after learning deceased man was gay

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Kendall Capers said he and his husband Julion Evan’s relationship was not a secret, but when a Florida church learned the pair was married, the pastor canceled the funeral. (Photo: WFLA-TV)

Kendall Capers said he and his husband Julion Evan’s relationship was not a secret, but when a Florida church learned the pair was married, the pastor canceled the funeral. (Photo: WFLA-TV)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) –– In the midst of their grief and with just a day’s notice, loved ones were forced to scramble to make new arrangements after a Florida church canceled a funeral after the pastor and congregation learned the deceased man was gay.

Kendall Capers said he and his husband Julion Evan’s relationship was not a secret.

But the night before Evan was supposed to be laid to rest, the pator of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Tampa learned the pair was gay and the congregation was livid.

“Regardless of our background, our sexual orientation, how can you wait that long and put someone in a bind when they’re going through a loss?” Capers said.

Evans was just 42 years old when he died last month of amyloidosis, a rare and incurable disease that causes an abnormal protein to build up around a patient’s organ.

Evans’ family attends New Hope and wanted his funeral to be held there, and the church immediately said yes.

But the man’s family said the invitation was abruptly revoked during the wake after the newspaper obituary named Capers as the deceased’s surviving husband.

Evans’ mother said she was standing at her son’s casket when her phone rang. The pastor allegedly left a message saying it would be “blasphemous” for her son’s funeral to be held at his church.

New Hope’s Pastor T.W. Jenkins told WFLA-TV that his church doesn’t support same-sex marriage.

“I try not to condemn anyone’s lifestyle but at the same time, I am a man of God and have to stand upon my principles,” Jenkins said.

The heartbreaking ordeal has left Capers upset and conflicted about religion.

“It’s not like we woke up and said, ‘Let’s be gay,’” he said.

Jenkins said he regrets that his decision was made the night before the funeral and that he typically reviews obituaries before they’re published, but he was on vacation when Evans’ obituary ran in the newspaper.

As for the grieving family, they ended up using the funeral home that handled the wake for the funeral service, which they said was successful but the ordeal was something they shouldn’t have had to endure.

17 comments

  • Frank M.

    a homosexual cannot have a funeral at a christian church. a homosexual has denied God in order to justify his or her lifestyle so God Denies them. kudos to this pastor for sticking to his guns.

    • danielle connell

      The church is made of sinners. Pastors such as the one in this story and people like you, Frank M. seem to forget that. I’m pretty sure that you have done some things that you don’t want to come to light and so has the pastor who felt he had the right to judge. I’m pretty sure neither one of you would hold up to the scrutiny you use on others when you time comes to face God

      • Frank M.

        homosexuality, like suicide, is a very public sin and one that denies God to justify their lifestyle. its this denial of God that prevents them from being buried or having a funeral in a church. i have not denied God, i am not a homosexual, i have not committed suicide and i am a practicing catholic therefore, when i die, i can have a christian funeral and buried in sanctified land. the priest has the right to judge as God has already judged homosexuality an abomination.

    • Whatsit Tooya

      Frank M., get a life. This is the 21st century. Are you telling me the church and God can condemn people for being gay but they’re ok with priests touching little kids? I never hear anything about the church judging their members who are child predators but a good man turns out to be gay, he’s an abomination and deserves to go to hell? Get real. I’m more comfortable around the darkest voodoo and the blackest witchcraft than I am around most church people.

    • Brandon

      Wow, dude… You are such an idiot and a homophobe. God loves EVERYONE, including homosexuals, so the pastor was wrong to cancel the funeral and you’re wrong for supporting him

      • Frank M.

        Whatsit: God doesnt change his mind, the church has expelled many pedo priests but that’s not the topic of this post and God loves the sinner but hates the sin still if a person, knowing homosexuality is a sin yet continues the lifestyle then they are denying God and should be denied as well. case closed. and Brandon, i am not a homopobe, i am a humanist and a catholic. homos dont scare me, only idiot, non christian idiots like you that support sin over salvation do.

  • Antoine B

    The Bible declares that all unrighteousness is sin. That means open sin as well as in the closet sin. It amazes me how we expect to live any kind of way then expect the church to preach us into heaven. Its equivalent to ones work performance of the job being horrible than still expect a raise or promotion for not following the guidelines of required by the job. Yes I can speak on this because I’ve lived both ways.

    • The Apostle

      Dude….take your bible and shove it up your ass. I’m an atheist and I live by the golden rule. Religion is the root of many problems today, just look at Israel and Gaza, ISIS and Iraq (muslim vs muslim). You have no right to assert YOUR beliefs on an entire nation of people. The public disagrees with you. 19 states allow gay marriage and that number will only go up. No one cares what your bible says. I only care about how humans have the right to be treated equally no matter what.

      • Frank M.

        wrong is wrong even if a billion people do it and right is right even if only one person does it. just because the world accepts homosexuality doesnt mean the church has to. the church retains the right to reject anyone for homosexuality or suicide. if you are athiest then why do you care the church rejected his funeral? you should be glad.

      • Dee

        And to the one above my first post Frank M.
        YOU are the one of the ones who make religious wars possible. Atheists don’t. They can care less what you believe. As long as you don’t HURT anybody with your beliefs all is fine. And why should the Apostle be happy that he was denied his funeral? Are you out of your mind? NOBODY should be denied by the church. Without them there wouldn’t be any church. THEY pay for their bs… and the church gets it tax free. I smell bs when I see it. Man, am I glad I don’t belong to any church. I don’t call myself christian in any way. I believe in myself and treat people the way I want to be traeted… that is all. Is that your so called ‘golden rule’ Apostle? I know it’s part of the witches creed.

  • shebasheba

    This: Black churches and homosexuality. It’s the reason out communities are so messed up. We are so busy defending the Bible we forget to love our neighbor. The family should sue the pants off this church for the inconvenience and selfishness they endured during their time of grief.

  • Mykel121

    This is discrimination. This church should loose its non-profit status. God loves all of us including gays .

  • Anthony Jones

    If you’re a Christian you might want to follow the word of Jesus, and “Judge not, that ye be not judged”(that’s in the Book of Matthew). You’ll find the Gospels are full of similar sentiments, not one of us is without sin.

  • David J

    The church just missed an opportunity to represent Jesus with Love and Kindness. Jesus walked with sinners because it was those who needed him the most. The Pastor made a call not to provide the funeral based on worldly disagreement. This could have been an opportunity to spread the gospel to those who don’t know it and help them recognize their sins and repent. Now, the surviving partner will have resentment toward the church. I pray for all to understand, look toward Jesus and know that we are all children of God.

  • Dee

    Too bad their homepage doesn’t provide an email address. These are the lowest of the low. It’s ok for him to attend their services and put money in the offering plate, but when it comes to do something for him they refuse with a bs message. These people don’t deserve nothing but to rot in hell (even if there isn’t one). God damn hypocrites!!!!

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