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Minnesota reverend loses church over support of same-sex marriage

A Minnesota church is closing its doors for good, split over a reverend’s support of gay marriage.

Rev. Oliver White is looking for a new house of worship, after serving as pastor for 22 years of Grace United Community Church of Christ in Saint Paul, Minn., KMSP Fox 9 reports.

The congregation, which numbered about 300, dwindled to just 125 after White voted in support of same-sex marriage at a UCC conference in Atlanta a few years ago, according to the station.

"A lot of sermons were preached here. A lot of laughter, hugs, joy, sorrows. I've seen it all, but it’s time to move on. It’s no longer my home, “ said Rev. White.

Church leaders took out a loan to keep the doors open, but the much smaller congregation fell behind in the high-interest payments, owing more than $170,000.

Regarding his vote in support of same-sex marriage, White told Fox 9: "I knew so many gay and lesbian people as people and I couldn't for 1,000 years imagine why they shouldn't have the same privileges that heterosexuals have."

White's plight drew national attention and contributions from across the country, but he only raised about $55,000. Church leaders ultimately decided to put that money toward a new building instead of re-paying the loan.

Even though he's preached his last sermon in the building his congregation has called home for the last 12 years, Rev. White has faith that the power of prayer will get them through.

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