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No, Inclusive Church Was Not Hosting Same-Sex Wedding When It Caught Fire

No, Inclusive Church Was Not Hosting Same-Sex Wedding When It Caught Fire

Fire at First Congregational Church of Spencer

Claims by anti-LGBTQ+ social media users have been debunked...repeatedly.

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Contrary to what some anti-LGBTQ+ types have posted online, an inclusive Massachusetts church was not hosting a same-sex wedding when it caught fire in June.

The First Congregational Church of Spencer, located in central Massachusetts, was destroyed June 2 by a fire started by a lightning strike. But no wedding was taking place there at the time — in fact, the church was empty, according to fact checks by the Associated Press, Reuters, and others.

That didn’t keep social media users from posting messages like "Church burnt down by a lightening...during a marriage ceremony of homosexual couple."

The user also wrote that no one survived, while also referencing Sodom and Gomorrah.

Another user wrote that it was a "gay pride church."

“There was no wedding going on and actually the church was closed up and locked. No one was working in the church,” Spencer Fire Chief Robert Parsons told the AP. Also, the church was misidentified as being in Boston, when it’s actually about 60 miles away.

First Congregational Church is inclusive and supportive of LGBTQ+ people, and it’s part of the LGBTQ-friendly United Church of Christ denomination. Even before the allegations that the fire was punishment for hosting a same-sex wedding, its interim pastor, Rev. Bruce McLeod, had said the fire was not an act of God.

“I have to say I don’t think God made the fire,” he said in his June 4 sermon at the First Congregational Church of Leicester, where he is also interim pastor and where Spencer congregants have been meeting since the fire. “I don’t think God makes us sick. I don’t think God makes the bad things happen. I don’t think God does it to teach us things. I don’t think God does it to punish us. I do believe God is there with us in the midst of it, and that God is here with us to help us pick up the pieces and figure out what to do next.”

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.