Thursday, May 02, 2024

Not All Churches Are The Same

Some are affirming while other are hateful. One preaches “Love thy neighbor” and the others preach fire and brimstone. And one is split right down the middle.
The Hill
May 1, 2024

Delegates within the United Methodist Church voted to repeal their church’s longstanding ban on LGBTQ clergy Wednesday, showing overwhelming support that contrasts with decades of controversy over the issue.

The church voted 692-51 at its General Conference to remove a rule that bans “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” from being ordained or appointed as a minister, The Associated Press reported.

In the past, elders within the United Methodist Church have reinforced the LGBTQ ban during their annual conference, held in Charlotte, N.C., but the group has moved in a more progressive direction after some conservative members left the denomination.

The change doesn’t mandate or explicitly affirm LGBTQ clergy members but means the church no longer forbids them from serving churches across the country. After the vote, applause broke out and members from advocacy groups embraced, per the AP.
It was painful for them, they lost a sizable chunk of their congregation over it.
Delegates voted Tuesday to remove mandatory penalties for conducting same-sex marriages and remove bans on considering LGBTQ candidates in the network of churches. The votes are historic for the delegation that has been debating LGTBQ rights for more than half a century, the AP reported.

While the changes are celebrated by many current members, the AP noted that nearly 8,000 conservative congregations across the country disaffiliated with the church from 2019 to 2023 after the denomination did not enforce its bans around LGBTQ communities.
NPR wrote,
The tone of the Charlotte meeting has been decidedly upbeat, in sharp contrast with the last, highly contentious global meeting back in 2019, when heated floor debates left many feeling hurt.

In fact, there was no floor debate over the clergy and marriages rules this time around. Rather, they were included on a consent agenda.

However, in the years leading up to this General Conference, about one-quarter of United Methodist congregations in the U-S left the denomination. Those congregations tended to be among the most conservative in the church. Their departure made the decisions this year less fraught.
It is sad that it came to this but the haters chose to leave rather than follow the teaching of Jesus.

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