United Methodist Church Announces Plan to Formally Split Denomination Over Same-sex Marriage

The United Methodist Church, with 13 million members worldwide, has been divided for years over the issue of same-sex marriage.
Credit…Madeline Heim/The Winona Daily News, via Associated Press

Leaders of the United Methodist Church, the second-largest Protestant denomination in the nation, announced on Friday a plan that would formally split the church after years of division over same-sex marriage.

Under the plan, which would sunder a denomination with 13 million members worldwide, a new “traditionalist Methodist” denomination would be created, and would continue to ban same-sex marriage as well as the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy.

A separation in the Methodist church had been anticipated since a contentious general conference in St Louis last February, when 53 percent of church leaders and lay members voted to tighten the ban on same-sex marriage, declaring that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.”

In the months following, a plan was put together by a 16-member committee of bishops and other church representatives, who determined that separation was “the best means to resolve our differences, allowing each part of the Church to remain true to its theological understanding.”

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SOURCE: The New York Times, Campbell Robertson and Elizabeth Dias