This is a followup to my post of March 5, 2019 - United Methodist Church Misstep
|A rainbow gay pride flag flies below the U.S. flag|
last year in front of the Asbury United Methodist
Church in Prairie Village, Kan.
By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.Although not religious, I still have warm feelings for my childhood county Methodist Church in Virginia. Everyone in that town/church was always loving and accepting. On my last visit home I was pleased that there was now a woman pastor and, by my observation, I suspect she is gay. (Apologies for the obvious stereotyping.)
As Abraham Lincoln so eloquently stated: "A house divided against itself cannot stand."
Below is the NPR article detailing the impending decision.
The United Methodist Church announced a proposal Friday to split the denomination over what it called "fundamental differences" regarding its beliefs on same-sex marriage and LGBTQ clergy.
The proposal, signed by 16 church leaders from around the world, will be voted on at the church's 2020 general conference in May. If passed, it would allow for a "traditionalist" denomination to separate from the United Methodist Church, the second largest Protestant denomination in the U.S., with more than 12 million members worldwide.
Currently, ordained pastors are not allowed to perform same-sex marriages, risking disciplinary action if they do, and "practicing" LGBTQ people also cannot become ordained pastors, according to the church's book of discipline.
The new traditionalist denomination, once separate, would open the door for the existing United Methodist Church to repeal the church's ban on same-sex marriages and LGBTQ clergy.
"If this actually passes, it will be a great relief," says the Rev. Tom Berlin, a pastor at the Floris United Methodist Church in Herndon, Va., who signed the protocol and described himself as representing groups who hold a centrist view in the ideological conflict.
"What this proposal allows us to do is be a more inclusive United Methodist Church," Berlin says. "It also allows us to put a controversy to rest. The controversy itself has been a stumbling block toward our larger mission."
"In the congregation I serve, they're delighted that I was appointed to be their pastor. They would describe it as an answer to prayer," says the Rev. David Meredith, a pastor at the Clifton United Methodist Church in Cincinnati. Meredith is gay and has been married since 2016.
Meredith says the protocol speaks to where he believes the United Methodist Church is called to go. He referenced a banner outside his church that reads:
"No matter what the politician, the TV preacher, your income, your diagnosis, your documents, your relationship says about you, you're a beloved child of God."