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United Methodist Church may split over LGBTQ beliefs

Posted at 10:49 PM, Jan 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-05 23:49:43-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — A group of leaders with the United Methodist Church announced a proposal to split over same-sex marriage and LGBTQ clergy.

If passed, the church would divide into two denominations, one that approves same-sex marriage and gay clergy, and one that doesn't.

Hanscom Park United Methodist Church reverend Chris Jorgensen says the denomination has been divided for years over LGBTQ beliefs

There's been attempts to find mutual understanding from both sides of the aisle, but ultimately the only thing they could agree on is a plan to split.

"It's not working to have the people that are really, really opposed to gay clergy and same-sex weddings and the people who are passionately for including gay folks fully in the church in one denomination together," Rev. Jorgensen said.

The proposal would divide an entire denomination of roughly 13 million members and set up a new 'Traditionalist Methodist' church that would still ban same-sex marriage and the ordination of LGBTQ people.

Right now, pastors are not allowed to perform same-sex marriages and LGBTQ people can't become ordained pastors.

These rules are something reverend Keith Boyette, President of the Wesleyan Covenant, stands for.

"I believe that those who engage in the practice of homosexuality are not living a life that pleases god," Rev. Boyette said.

According to Pew Research Center's religious landscape study, although a majority of American Methodist are conservative, 60% believe that homosexuality should be accepted and almost half approve same-sex marriage.

Reverend Jorgensen says her congregation is accepting of all backgrounds, and adds the new change would be welcomed.

"If your not sure you're ready to march in the Pride Parade for example, which is something we've done, that's fine. You're welcome here," Rev. Jorgensen said. "But, we are also not going to pull back on our clarity about including LGBTQ people fully in the life of the church."

If the split is passed, local churches would have to decide whether to stay in the main United Methodist Church, which would accept same-sex marriage and LGBTQ clergy, or join a "traditionalist" Methodist church.

The proposal will be voted on during the global conference in May.