Tampa Pastor talks after family says funeral was canceled becaus - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Tampa Pastor talks after family says funeral was canceled because son was gay

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Kendall Capers says his partner Julion Evans died at home after a 4 year battle with an illness. Kendall Capers says his partner Julion Evans died at home after a 4 year battle with an illness.

At the last minute, the funeral of a Tampa man was canceled because the pastor learned he was gay, and his congregation was livid.

Pastor T.W. Jenkins, of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, said earlier this week that he stands behind his decision. He preaches against gay marriage and members of his congregation were up in arms over the funeral.

No one seemed to realize, or care, that the deceased, Julion Evans, was gay, until his obituary ran in the newspaper.

"Based on our preaching of the scripture, we would have been in error to allow the service in our church," Jenkins said on Wednesday. "I'm not trying to condemn anyone's lifestyle, but at the same time, I am a man of God, and I have to stand up for my principles."

Since News Channel 8 broke this story Thursday, Jenkins has been quiet. But another pastor, Otis Cooper is speaking out.

Cooper ended up performing the funeral service for the family. Cooper, 29, has only been a pastor of his own church for 10 months. He is pastor at New Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church in Tampa. Julion Evans' mother attends his church.

The family had chosen to have the funeral at New Hope because it is large enough to accommodate the hundreds of mourners expected. Cooper had agreed to perform the service from the beginning. When he learned the funeral was canceled - during the wake - he had just hours to find another location.

The family ended up having the funeral at the same funeral home that handled the wake, Blount & Curry Funeral Home.

Cooper says he doesn't regret his decision.

"He has his house to run, which is his church. I have one that I must attend, which is my church, and I can't make a judgment call for him, and he can't make a judgment call for me," Cooper said, of Pastor Jenkins' decision to cancel the original funeral.

Cooper says he has a great amount of respect for New Hope's pastor and doesn't judge him for his decision. But he says he feels like he made the right one for his congregation.

"The young man that we funeralized Sat. is deceased," Cooper said. "He no longer has a lifestyle, but those that are out in the audience, those that are in the congregation at that time, that's an opportunity to share the gift of Salvation."

Related Story: Family says funeral was canceled because son was gay

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