The United Methodist Church, UMC, has released a new proposal for the division of America’s second largest Protestant denomination to divide the church into two independent denominations over the issue of same-sex marriage, and LGBTQ+ clergy.
“I believe that we should just let people love who they want without having to worry about the consequences,” freshman Kaylee Rex said.
The plan would allow churches wishing to uphold the ban on same-sex marriage and LGBTQ+ clergy to leave the UMC and form their own denomination. The new denomination would also be paid $25 million from the UMC over a period of four years. Any other resulting denominations would be paid $2 million from the UMC. Any church wishing to leave the UMC would keep all their assets and liabilities, Churches must do so be the end of 2024.
“If [the UMC] can’t reconcile their differences, then it’s probably best to split,” science teacher Tyler Roe said.
Currently under the UMC’s Book of Discipline, homosexuality is, “incompatible with Christian teaching,” and “self-avowed, practicing homosexuals” cannot be ordained as pastors. The Book of Discipline also forbids pastors ordaining same-sex unions and forbids churches using UMC funds to “promote the acceptance of homosexuality.”
The issue of same-sex marriage, and LGBTQ+ clergy came to a head in the UMC last year during a special session of the church’s main governing body, the General Conference, GC, called to attempt and resolve the debate. Delegates at GC 2019 voted 53% to uphold the language in the Book of Discipline, as well as to impose even stricter punishments on openly LGBTQ+ clergy, and clergy who ordain same-sex marriage. The measures included a one year suspension to removal from the clergy, and went into effect at the beginning of January.
“I think the church took a dumb stance and their members don’t agree with it,” junior Benjamin Turley said.