United Methodist Church Splinters Over Some Members’ Refusal To Accept LGBTQ Christians

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United Methodist Church delegates from Illinois participate in a day of prayer in St. Louis on Feb. 23, ahead of a special denominational meeting on whether to affirm LGBTQ Methodists.

Source: Huffington Post

By Carol Kuruvilla

UMC delegates at a special meeting voted to affirm the church’s doctrine prohibiting same-sex marriage — a move that will likely trigger a schism.

The United Methodist Church, America’s third-largest religious denomination, will likely break apart over members’ inability to reconcile differing opinions on whether to affirm queer Christians.

Delegates to the UMC’s General Conference meeting in St. Louis ended a three-day meeting on Tuesday by strengthening the enforcement of existing church doctrine prohibiting same-sex marriage and the ordination of queer clergy.

The vote for what members call the “Traditional Plan” is expected to trigger a schism in the denomination along the lines of LGBTQ inclusion. The plan was approved on Tuesday by a vote of 438 to 384, meaning about 53 percent of delegates voted in favor.

An alternate option called the “One Church Plan” would have allowed individual churches and regional conferences to decide for themselves whether to allow LGBTQ members to be ordained or married. That plan was defeated on Monday, earning only 47 percent of delegates’ votes. An option to reconsider the One Church Plan on Tuesday was also defeated.

Queer Methodists and their allies were heartbroken by the church’s decision. At the conference, some began singing the hymn “Blessed Assurance” directly after the vote.

On Twitter, many people expressed their disappointment ― and resolve.

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