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  WINDY CITY TIMES

UMC may split over same-sex marriage, inclusion
2020-01-04

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A schism is expected within the United Methodist Church ( UMC ) over same-sex marriage and LGBTQ inclusion, media outlets reported.

UMC leaders signed a proposal that outlines the separation, and this could be approved at a general convention in May.

The agreement, facilitated by mediation expert Kenneth Feinberg, reportedly gives $25 million to the "traditional" denomination that will be formed, The Hill noted. That group will include churches in the United States as well as most of the churches in Africa.

The United Methodist Church is the largest mainline Protestant denomination in the country, The Hill noted. Many other Protestant denominations, including the Episcopal Church and Presbyterian Church, allow same-sex marriages and appoint LGBTQ clergy.

When asked about the possible split, First United Methodist Church of Chicago Senior Pastor Rev. Dr. Myron McCoy told Windy City Times, "I think it's an opportunity for us to move on beyond years of acrimony and to have an amicable divorce," also stressing that the process hasn't been finalized.

"[Our] church is fully Reconciling, which means it's totally inclusive," he added. ( Note: The church's website has a statement of inclusion that says, "We welcome all people to the life of this congregation. We believe that we are all in need of God's love and grace and that God, through Jesus Christ, intends the church to be a community that incarnates love, grace and justice for all people. Holding true to that belief, we welcome and encourage all persons, including persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities, in every aspect of our Christian life together." )

Another who weighed in on the situation was Broadway United Methodist Church's Rev. M Barclay. They told Windy City Times, "Despite the headlines, those suggesting this particular plan will inevitably lead to split is premature. The group's proposal is one of many that will be considered in May and could very well be rejected just as the legislation put forward by many of the same players was rejected last February.

"With that said—as a queer minister committed to truth, justice and love for queer people—The Protocol concerns me for a few reasons: It was negotiated behind closed doors while leaving out important groups and voices, it prioritizes institutional preservation, it grants a phenomenal amount of money to traditionalists and potential pennies to liberationists and does nothing to affirm LGBTQIA people after decades of violence.

"I do affirm their recognition that racial reparations must be a part of any future for the UMC, but the plan leaves significant concerns, nonetheless. [Pastor Rev.] Alka [Lyall] and I are both a part of a group called UMForward ( who wasn't invited to the table for these negotiations ). We put forward the N.E.W. Plan legislation [available at um-forward.org/new-plan&; months ago that would achieve a similar goal but with more transparency, accountability and a commitment to LGBTQIA and POC equity throughout the process."

—Andrew Davis


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