Methodist Church To Split Over Same-Sex Marriage

The New York Times reports:

Leaders of the United Methodist Church, the second-largest Protestant domination 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.”

ABC News reports:

The plan, referred to as “Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation,” would need to be approved by the 2020 General Conference later this year before taking effect.

The church hopes that by splitting into two denominations, it can end or greatly reduce its decades-long struggle over how accepting to be of homosexuality.

“It became clear that the line in the sand had turned into a canyon,” said New York Conference Bishop Thomas Bickerton, who was among the diverse group of 16 church leaders who worked on the proposal. “The impasse is such that we have come to the realization that we just can’t stay that way any longer.”