by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – The United Methodist Church (UMC) is in crisis as dozens of theologically conservative congregations are set to break off into a separate group over the denomination’s support of same-sex marriage and homosexual clergy, the Washington Times reports.
The UMC mainline Protestant denomination has nearly 13 million members and 32,148 congregations around the world.
The defecting conservative congregations are expected to join the Global Methodist Church (GMC), a new organization that officially launches on Sunday, the Times said. The new group is against UMC lobbying to welcome “LGBTQ people into all aspects of church life.”
Although the UMC stipulated in 1972 that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching,” a new online statement attests that some within the denomination “strongly advocate for the inclusion of LGBTQ Christians in all aspects of life in the church.” This has become a source of contention and upset among those who hold to traditional Christian teaching on homosexuality.
In a statement made in March, the Rev. Keith Boyette, the GMC’s transitional leadership council president, said the group was being established for “theologically conservative local churches and annual conferences [that] want to be free of divisive and destructive debates and to have the freedom to move forward together.”
Commenting on the separation, UMC leader Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey said in a zoom call with members this week: “We will not be the continuing or the post-separation UMC or the future United Methodist Church. We are the United Methodist Church right now and forever, a church confident in what God has done in Christ Jesus for all humankind, committed to personal and social salvation and transformation, a church that is courageous in dismantling the powers of racism, tribalism, and colonialism.”
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