Some predict it with regret while some hope it would end decades of controversy between conservatives and liberals. Some already know which course their congregation likely will adopt; others will have to wait for events to unfold. After I made my decision, I lunched with my old pastor and shared my news and discussed the denomination’s impending division. Traditionalists would create a new Methodist denomination that all local congregations could join by majority vote, keeping their church property (in United Methodism, church properties are held in trust by the denomination through the local conference, which is like a diocese or presbytery). Built with Metro Publisher™ Amanda Garber, the lead pastor at RISE, said a plan dubbed the “One Church Plan” was widely expected to pass and would have allowed individual congregations to choose their position on LGBTQ affirmation while remaining in the UMC regardless of stance. United Methodists' Anti-LGBTQ Actions Could Create Schism The decision by United Methodists to reaffirm a traditional stand on homosexuality and marriage leaves the church's future unclear. schism United Methodist Church. United Methodist Church Faces Schism Over Same-Sex Marriage Doctrine Religion News Service Religion News Service Stephen Mallett, of Nashville, Tenn., listens during a news conference announcing a case against Rev. The schism plan most likely to be approved would ask Methodist congregations to decide by majority vote whether to join a new traditional denomination or stick with a liberal United Methodism that allows same-sex couples to be married in the church and the ordination of LGBTQ clergy. For the past 15 years I have attended a wonderful, historic United Methodist congregation in Alexandria, Virginia. This traditionalist stance has been upheld at every governing General Conference since 1972. We are a non-profit organization that is fully-funded by individual gifts and ministry partnerships. Many Methodists who have not followed national church news will be caught by surprise when their local church finally has this difficult conversation. But when the culture shifted, the church’s moderates followed. The US church bureaucracy has been liberal for many decades, and few conservatives are interested in trying to reform it. The United Methodist Church … Conferences, which typically follow state lines, could join by 57% vote. About 20% of US local conferences will likely align traditionalist, with a population of about 1.5 million. … US United Methodism loses nearly one hundred thousand members annually, while Africa sometimes gains twice that number every year. Meanwhile, old United Methodism will be almost totally comprised of US members, with 3.5 or four million, a number that will quickly shrink further, following the example of other denominations that liberalized on sexuality. Now United Methodists will need to be real with each other. I’ve been involved in Methodist politics since 1985, when my Arlington, Virginia, church sent me, at age 20, to represent it at the Virginia Annual Conference. US clergy typically are more liberal than laity. Many conservative United Methodists initially reacted to this protocol for separation with indignation. Liberals complained their church had been infected by an “Ebola Virus.” Africans told of spiritual visions they had of invisible cosmic warfare at the convention. Story by Nick Judin. Once coronavirus subsides and it reopens, I plan on becoming active there. Avoiding rancor will require extra measures of divine grace and human restraint. United Methodist bishops and delegates gather to pray at the front of the stage before a key vote on church policies about homosexuality on Feb. 26, 2019, during the special session of the UMC General Conference in St. Louis. Our worship is traditional in style with liturgy and old hymns. All of us, traditionalists and progressives, can model how to respect each other even as we divide. The United Methodist Church is the United States’ largest mainline Protestant denomination. There is no need for acrimony or looking back. Well, that is because the Episcopal Church and Methodist Church have been working toward (and were getting closer to) a full communion ratification. There are lots of great people, including our most recent pastor, an energetic young man, who likely saved the long declining congregation from extinction. The Herald Angels Sing, Amen, The First Noel, and Joy to the World! Evangelical and moderate institutionalists in the US church sustained this teaching for decades in sync with American culture. Known as the Liberation Methodist Connexion (LMX), the creation of the new group was announced Sunday during an online worship service. But when the pastor earlier this year preached a sermon in which he disagreed with traditional church teaching on sexuality, I realized I could no longer stay. I strongly urged her to find another local United Methodist church closer to her traditionalist beliefs. Fortunately, there is a church with a traditionalist pastor just as close to my home. After fifty years of fractious debate over sexuality, The United Methodist Church is about to divide into two or more denominations. But overall, United Methodists have the opportunity through this organized division to avoid the chaos inflicted on other mainline denominations, where departing conservative congregations often lost their properties amid millions of dollars in litigation. Chris Ritter is the author of "Seven Things John Wesley Expected Us to Do for Kids" (Abingdon Press, 2016). United Methodist traditionalists and liberals have fought ever since the denomination in 1972 declared homosexual practice “incompatible with Christian teaching.” The church subsequently banned same-sex rites and reaffirmed that clergy must be celibate if single and monogamous in male/female marriage, otherwise risking defrocking. Enjoy more music from The United Methodist Church's Virtual Choir. The conservatives win. Founded in 1987, CBMW exists to equip the church on the meaning of biblical sexuality. It will probably discourage significant numbers of youth from entering the church. The church has fought bitterly about LGBT inclusion for … KEY POINTS. There inevitably will be messy situations where pastors disagree with majorities of their congregations, many of which across America will be sharply divided. A forum for discerning God's future for The United Methodist Church, hosted by St. Stephen UMC, Mesquite, TX. Wesleyan Covenant Association President Keith Boyette offers an update on The United Methodist Church’s impending schism. Our conversation was friendly. There was an encouraging spirit of unity and hope. They will have the chance to shape a new global denomination with classic Methodist theology. United Methodist Insight welcomes submissions from our readers and followers. The final showdown came at the February 2019 Special General Conference in St. Louis, which was summoned specifically to settle the church’s differences on sex. A bishop from Sierra Leone chaired the meetings, which were mediated by legendary D.C. lawyer Kenneth Feinberg, former Special Master of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. United Methodism avoided schism for decades by avoiding hard debates at the local church level and proclaiming a false unity. A new denomination will allow traditionalist clergy to self-select into it, allowing for greater unity behind traditional orthodoxy. The UMC Council of Bishops held a virtual meeting on Nov. 2-5 in which they discussed plans to add more bishops to the continent of Africa in response to large church growth in the region. The Mississippi Conference can claim the property used by both congregations under the trust clause of the Book of Discipline, the church law book. There would also be smaller funding for potentially additional new denominations, which might include a radical liberationist Methodism impatient with conventionally liberal United Methodism. When United Methodism does get to vote to divide into conservative and liberal denominations, thousands of congregations and millions of church members will face difficult choices. New, orthodox Methodism can reach cities, the West Coast, the Northeast, immigrant and nonwhite populations, and young people whom liberal mainline Protestantism largely cannot. The new global Methodist Church will have the opportunity to revive the Wesleyan witness in America, in solidarity with its international members, who will be the denominational majority. Please limit articles to 1,000 words and include full name, contact information, and author's photo. After many decades of liberal control of United Methodism’s seminaries, orthodox theologians have long operated as a minority but robust resistance. State leadership of religious institutions like Galloway United Methodist Church is in question as the potential for a schism over LGBT marriage and ordination looms. OPINION: Why United Methodist Church’s plan for separation is good for everyone. It is also financially unsustainable, with the church already predicting funding cuts of 40% or more, likely exacerbated by COVID-19. It was exciting to hear. RELATED: United Methodist Church postpones General Conference amid coronavirus. The future of Mississippi's United Methodist churches and institutions is … But it need not be bitter or destructive. A group of theologically progressive United Methodists and others have formed a new denomination in advance of an expected schism within the United Methodist Church over LGBT issues. (Mark Tooley is president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy and editor of Providence: A Journal of Christianity & American Foreign Policy. In effect, what remains of The United Methodist Church after the schism, under this “protocol,” could deliver more than $50,000,000 to new Methodist denominations that might continue advocating discrimination on the basis of human sexuality without having to define the theological, ethical, or moral basis on which it will deny the “sacred worth” of all persons. The split within the United Methodist Church is certainly putting the brakes on any … We do not use cookies to collect user data. But the church’s evangelicals gained new allies with the dramatic rise over the last twenty-five years of United Methodism in Africa, where nearly half and perhaps more of the church’s 12.5 million membership now live. He is the Directing Pastor of Geneseo First United Methodist Church which has been honored both by the Illinois Great Rivers Conference and Discipleship Ministries for its high number of new professions of faith. Watch as hundreds of United Methodists from around the world sing and celebrate the birth of Christ our Savior with a medley of Christmas favorites. In both of the major votes on Monday and Tuesday, the evangelical-international coalition held strong at 55-57 percent of the vote while the progressive-centrist coalition held 43-45 percent. With over 30,000 congregations in America, most regions offer many flavors of Methodism. By Marcy Kreiter @marcykreiter 01/03/20 AT 1:39 PM. Unity and Schism Plans for the United Methodist Church [list] Visions from the Bottom-Up. If a proposed schism … The United Methodist schism is all about RACIST white pro-LGBTQ progressives muscling out ethnic minorities faithful to Bible. She had long attended a United Methodist church in Pennsylvania that was siding with progressives on sexuality and sounded understandably distraught over the choices before her. One of the central issues that were discussed was the impending schism of the United Methodist Church. (Renata Birkenbuel/Missoula Current) A potential schism in the United Methodist Church could have ramifications around the world, but the two Missoula congregations … You, too, can help support the ministry of CBMW. The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily represent those of Religion News Service. US bishops, with the US church bureaucracy behind them, pushed a plan to liberalize the denomination by allowing local options on sexual standards. For 47 years United Methodists, with 6.7 million members in America and another nearly 6 million overseas, have fought over sexuality. United Methodist Schism & Local Churches. The bishops and other US liberals were stunned when the delegates instead tightened the church’s rules against heterodox sexual behavior. The attempt to … In The United Methodist Church, breaking up is not necessarily hard to do, but it does require negotiation between the church and conference. The new traditionalist Methodist denomination likely will end up with larger membership than the old liberal United Methodism. Liberal United Methodism has lost more than four million members in America over 55 years and is virtually incapable of planting new churches. At First United Methodist Church in downtown Orlando, the Rev. 2825 Lexington Road Liberals would inherit the church’s name and US-based bureaucracy. The debate around recognizing the rights and dignity of LGBTQ people has been waged in the United Methodist Church since 1972 when the words "The United Methodist Church does not … It’s time for candor, so all church members can make informed choices. Boyette helped craft the Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace through Separation unveiled earlier this year. This division would have occurred at the scheduled May 2020 quadrennial General Conference, now postponed until 2021 due to COVID-19. The debate may cripple and perhaps ultimately kill many divided local churches. Orthodox United Methodist theologians are prominent in the Wesleyan Theological Society, where the more liberal voices are typically from evangelical denominations like the Church of the Nazarene. US church liberals, who had long assumed history was on their side, were exasperated and unprepared for this American evangelical-African majority bloc. We do not use cookies to collect user data. The schism was to settle our differences at long last by going our separate ways. Vance Rains is an outspoken ally of his LGBTQ worshipers. There are some estimates that … This 2.5 million in the US will be joined by over five million in Africa, and thousands more in the Philippines and Europe, for perhaps a total global denomination of 7.5 million or more. United Methodist traditionalists and liberals have fought ever since the denomination in 1972 declared homosexual practice “incompatible with Christian teaching.” The church subsequently banned same-sex rites and reaffirmed that clergy must be celibate if single and monogamous in male/female marriage, otherwise risking defrocking. Most traditionalists prefer a new denomination without the albatross of bloated church agencies. But when a gay couple marries, he dare not officiate. Of course, as this division rolls through thousands of congregations, it will not always be clean and amicable. But if she remains at that church, I advised her to be a quiet witness to her convictions while respecting a majority that differs with her. But I now believe that United Methodist division is the best course forward, and I look forward to great days ahead for traditional Methodism in America and globally. The attempt to paste smiley faces over deep differences didn’t work. This will probably cause a mass exodus of liberal members, who will either leave organized religion or switch to a more liberal denomination. State leadership of religious institutions like Galloway United Methodist Church is in question as the potential for a schism … (RNS) — Coronavirus has forced the United Methodist Church to postpone its quadrennial governing General Conference, originally scheduled for next month, delaying by at least a year the church’s anticipated, and widely supported, schism between the denomination’s traditionalists and progressives. Parting with churches they love and in which they and their families have invested themselves, sometimes across generations, will be anguishing. The Africans are staunch theological conservatives. Hillary Levin/ASSOCIATED PRESS United Methodist Church delegates from Illinois participate in a day of prayer in St. Louis on Feb. 23, ... For years, the UMC has been grappling with the possibility of a schism over whether to welcome queer Christians. United Methodism avoided schism for decades by avoiding hard debates at the local church level and proclaiming a false unity. ), Members and leaders of Belmont United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tennessee, worship in a mostly empty sanctuary March 15, 2020, after church leadership encouraged people to worship from home via video livestream in response to the coronavirus. They say they’re fighting for minorities, but really they’re doing what privileged liberal whites have always done in America – being racist. Published by critter1969. This frankness followed by division will be wrenching for many. It’s more productive to look forward to a better Methodist future without endless battles. An … In 2012, the last time the United Methodist Church considered massive changes to their way of doing things, they forgot to check what time it was: They didn’t realize it was 2012. United Methodist Church leaders have recommended delaying the appointment of new bishops until 2024 due to financial concerns and a possible schism over the homosexuality debate. The United Methodist Church as an institution may be intact for now, but it’s hard to look at the events in St. Louis without noticing seemingly irreconcilable differences or seeing a growing split in the church. Just prior to the Wesleyan Theological Society, a group of traditional US and international bishops, pastors, and renewal caucus group leaders, including myself, convened to agree on principles for the new global Methodism. But how much better to depart in peace than with purposeless anger. There is also the opportunity for a Wesleyan intellectual and theological revival. Local United Methodist Churches Face Schism Over LGBTQ Inclusion. 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