by Mary Margaret Olohan
Leaders of the United Methodist Church announced a plan Friday for the church to split over divisions on gay marriage.
The leaders announced a plan Friday that will establish a “traditionalist Methodist” denomination that will continue to ban same-sex marriage and the ordination of gay or lesbian clergy members. The move comes after 53% of Methodist church leaders and lay members said at a February conference that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching” and voted to tighten the denomination’s ban on same-sex marriage.
The United Methodist Church is the third-largest denomination in the United States, boasting 13 million members worldwide, and is one of the only remaining denominations that does not perform same-sex marriages, the Washington Post reports.
The division is “the best means to resolve our differences, allowing each part of the Church to remain true to its theological understanding,” according to the committee of bishops and other church representatives who put the plan together.
I was raised United Methodist, and while this was expected, my heart is broken. 💔
My prayers go with those directly affected by this reality.https://t.co/WbDCJgJDyN
— Rev. Rob Lee (@roblee4) January 3, 2020
Writers of the plan say it is “the best means to resolve our differences, allowing each part of the Church to remain true to its theological understanding, while recognizing the dignity, equality, integrity, and respect of every person.”
But the plan must still be approved at the denomination’s May conference – and initial responses from conservatives and liberals indicate that the plan may not pass, according to the New York Times.
“The solution that we received is a welcome relief to the conflict we have been experiencing,” Rev. Thomas Berlin told the Times. Berlin represented Methodist groups opposing discrimination against L.G.B.T.Q. persons. “I am very encouraged that the United Methodist Church found a way to offer a resolution to a long conflict.”
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Mary Margaret Olohan is a reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “United Methodist Church” by Stephen Schweitzer. CC BY-SA 4.0.