Split over gay marriage delayed, United Methodists face a year in limbo…

There seems to be a religious debate of gay rights. At least they are talking about it. This great article from Lavender Magazine gives the details.

With split over gay marriage delayed, United Methodists face a year in limbo

America’s largest mainline Protestant denomination had planned to meet this week for a likely vote to split over differences on gay marriage and LGBTQ pastors.
by  | May 6, 2020 | Big Gay NewsTop Headlines | 0 comments
By The Associated Press

Had there been no coronavirus pandemic, America’s largest mainline Protestant denomination would be convening this week for a likely vote to break up over differences on same-sex marriage and ordination of LGBTQ pastors.

Instead, the United Methodist Church was forced to postpone the potentially momentous conference, leaving its various factions in limbo for perhaps 16 more months. The deep doctrinal differences seem irreconcilable, but for now there’s agreement that response to the pandemic takes priority.

“The people who are really in trauma right now cannot pay the price of our differences,” said Kenneth Carter, the Florida-based president of the UMC’s Council of Bishops. “What is in our minds and hearts is responding to death, illness, grief, loss of work.”

The conference was to have taken place at the Minneapolis Convention Center starting Tuesday, running through May 15. Instead, bishops are proposing to hold it there Aug. 31-Sept. 10 of next year.

The differences have simmered for years, and came to a head in February 2019 at a conference in St. Louis where delegates voted 438-384 for a proposal strengthening bans on LGBTQ-inclusive practices. Most U.S.-based delegates opposed that plan and favored LGBTQ-friendly options; they were outvoted by U.S. conservatives teamed with most of the delegates from Methodist strongholds in Africa and the Philippines.

In the aftermath of that meeting, many moderate and liberal clergy made clear they would not abide by the bans, and various groups worked throughout 2019 on proposals to let the UMC split along theological lines.

There have been at least four different proposals for how to implement a split.

The most widely discussed plan has a long name — the Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation — and some high-level support.

It was negotiated by 16 bishops and advocacy group leaders with differing views on LGBTQ inclusion. They were assisted by renowned mediator Kenneth Feinberg, who administered victim compensation funds stemming from the 9/11 attacks and the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Under the protocol, conservative congregations and regional bodies would be allowed to separate from the UMC and form a new denomination. They would receive $25 million in UMC funds and be able to keep their properties.

***

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