An LGBT lobby group has placed a radical new proposal before the United Methodist Church's General Conference in a bid to solve long-standing disagreements on LGBT issues.
In a bid to appease all church members, the pro-LGBT group UM-Forward has suggested that the UMC be split into four separate denominations each with their own policies on the issue.
Despite varying rules and regulations, all four sections of the Protestant UMC will be “grounded in the Wesleyan view of grace and holiness, commitment to mission, and connectionalism,” according to the group’s plan. Each denomination will, however, hold to “a different understanding of how this heritage faithfully serves the present age.”
The four different denominations defined within the plan are named the “Traditionalist Methodist Church,” the “Moderate Methodist Church,” the “Progressive Methodist Church,” and the “Liberation Methodist Church,” the Christian Post reported.
According to the plan, despite their varying positions, these different denominations “may be in full communion with each other and part of a global convention or worldwide Wesleyan Communion.”
One of those heading up the initiative, UM-Forward leader and General Conference reserve delegate, Rev. Alex da Silva Souto, told the United Methodist News Service that the plan was the only feasible way of preventing a catastrophic split within the UMC over the issue of gay marriage.
“Remodeling the house or replacing the roof and adding a fresh coat of paint are not going to address the detrimental cracks on the foundation,” da Silva Souto told the outlet. “Our plan is not the panacea, but it makes it possible for each denomination to fulfill their mission as they feel called.”
In February, the UMC voted to keep its traditional stance on marriage, prohibiting same-sex ceremonies and the ordination of gay clergy, according to Christianity Today. In April, the UMC’s Judicial Council released its review of the policy, approving legislation that makes it possible for congregations to leave the denomination over the issue.
The 7.6 million-strong United Methodist Church is the third-largest denomination in America, behind the Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.
Will Maule is a British journalist who has spent the past several years working as a digital news editor. Since earning a degree in international relations and politics, Will has developed a particular interest in covering ethical issues, human rights and global religious persecution. Will's work has been featured in various outlets including The Spectator, Faithwire, CBN News, Spiked, The Federalist and Christian Headlines. Follow him on Twitter at @WillAMaule.