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United Methodist Church leaders release plan to split into 2 denominations over LGBTQ issues

Church to vote on plan in May
Posted at 10:57 AM, Jan 03, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The United Methodist Church may split into two denominations, one that supports same-sex marriage and the ordination of gay people as clergy, and one that doesn’t.

Sixteen members of a mediation team for the church released a plan for the proposed separation on Friday. It would give the new “traditionalist Methodist” denomination $25 million and allow it to keep its local church properties.

Under the plan, the new traditionalist faction would continue restricting marriage and the clergy, while the remaining faction would restructure its policies to include LGBTQ inclusion.

The plan, referred to as “Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation,” would need to be approved by the 2020 General Conference in May before taking effect.

The church hopes that by splitting into two denominations, it can end or greatly reduce its decades-long struggle over how accepting to be of homosexuality.

“It became clear that the line in the sand had turned into a canyon,” said New York Conference Bishop Thomas Bickerton, who was among the diverse group of 16 church leaders who worked on the proposal. “The impasse is such that we have come to the realization that we just can’t stay that way any longer.”

The United Methodist Church of San Luis Obispo says they have been advocating for change for a number are years and are already inclusive, but they have lost members in the process.

"We did lose some folks after the General Conference met in February, we lost some more traditional members who said we can't take the fighting anymore and some who are more progressive who said 'If we are not acceptable in this Christian faith then we are out of here,'" said Pastor Rick Uhls of the United Methodist Church of San Luis Obispo.

In February of 2019, the General Conference voted to strengthen restrictions against LGBTQ involvement in the church. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance (GALA) of San Luis Obispo says it would hurt if the proposal doesn't pass.

"It would mean there is no place in the Methodist church for them," sid Michelle Call, executive director of GALA. "The LGBTQ+ community has a lot of homelessness and mental health issues because people aren't accepting about the way they are made and it's an ongoing conversation we have been having with churches."

Click here to learn more about the proposal.