The church and the LGBT life have historically butted heads and it looks like nothing has changed. The United Methodist Church consists of about 12.6 million members worldwide and 7 million members in the United States . Detroit News reports that between Feb. 24-26, 864 delegates from around the world came together in St. Louis from both the United States and overseas. The delegates discussed whether or not to repeal the ban on same-sex marriage and ordination of LGBT clergy.
The church has an initial rule to reject the marriage and lifestyle of those who would be part of the congregation or in general. On the church's website, umc.org, it states " The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching." On Tuesday the delegates voted removing that ban and lost, 438-384. The loss of the vote means that local and regional chapters cannot create their own LGBT policies. Instead, the church looks to initiate a policy called the Traditional Plan. This plan would be used to reinforce the ban on gay policies. The decision came with mixed reviews by many.
Detroit News reports a couple of reverends such as Bishop David Alarn Bard who said,
“We’re still trying to figure out what some of the ramifications of the plan are...What’s immediately clear is that a traditional stance of LGBTQ clergy inclusion and same sex marriage was again reaffirmed and many people … in the LGBTQ community experience that as very hurtful and harmful. There is a lot of disappointment.”
Former Pastor Rebecca Wilson from Detroit says,
Devastation. As someone who left because I’m gay, I’m waiting for the church I love to stop bringing more hate.”
Other clergy members have voted for the Traditional Plan. Rev. Jerry Kulah of Liberia stated,
“The church in Africa would cease to exist. We can’t do anything but to support the Traditional Plan – it is the biblical plan.”
Despite the winning vote, many pastors, bishops and clergy members are very upset. Some plan to fight the decision such as Rev. Allen Ewing-Merrill who tweeted, “I will not participate in your bigotry, sin & violence.” After this decision some need to make the decision is what matters the most to them. The decision can still be reviewed at an upcoming conference in Travis City from May 30 to June 2nd. The Judicial Court has been asked to review the decision. In 2020 the decision will be made church law.