Before the church split

Before the church split

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The question of the blessing of homosexual couples and homosexual pastors divides the United Methodist Church. Conflict to be defused with new church startup.

United Methodist Church faces split in dispute over treatment of homosexuals. Conservative congregations are to form a new church with financial support from the United Methodist Church, the church said Friday (local time).

Representatives of competing factions would have agreed on this compromise. Remaining congregations would be restructured and free to deal with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The General Assembly still has to approve the decision at its meeting in May.

Their attitude toward sexual minorities has preoccupied Methodists for decades. In the U.S., some pastors have blessed same-sex marriages. Hundreds of Methodist congregations welcome lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender Christians. Conservative U.S. church members and especially many member churches from Africa oppose it on principle.

Sanctions against gay and lesbian pastors

The conflict had reached a preliminary climax at the General Assembly in February 2019. Delegates voted 438 to 384 to uphold its rules against same-sex marriage and against gay and lesbian pastors living in partnerships, and to introduce tougher sanctions.

The compromise now reached with the help of a mediator should show the Methodists the way out of the deadlocked conflict. The sixteen drafters of the compromise paper are lay people, pastors and bishops with widely divergent stances on sexual minorities. According to the church information service, there is therefore a high probability that the bill will "end or at least greatly reduce" the internal church disputes.

Methodism formed in the 18. Nineteenth-century revivalist movement in England. In the U.S., the Methodist Church is the second largest Protestant church after the Southern Baptist Association.

About seven million of the more than twelve million Methodists worldwide live in the U.S. But congregations there have been losing members for years, church statistics show. In African countries, however, it is making strong gains. The compromise paper is titled "Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation".

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