A group of United Methodist Church bishops and activists announced last week that they were supporting a proposal allowing congregations that hold to the biblical standard of marriage and sexuality to create their own denomination as a way to end the Church’s long debate over LGBT issues.
Over the past several years, the UMC has experienced intense debate over its official stance recognizing homosexuality as a sin, and prohibiting same-sex marriage and the ordination of non-celibate gay clergy.
Known as the “Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace through Separation,” the proposal would, among other things, allocate $25 million for theologically conservative Methodists to vote to leave the UMC and create their own denomination, tentatively labeled “traditionalist Methodist.”
“The United Methodist Church and its members aspire to multiply the Methodist mission in the world by restructuring the Church through respectful and dignified separation,” stated Article I of the Protocol in part.
While the Protocol is still in the proposal phase, the measure has garnered much attention, partly because of the many church leaders across the theological spectrum who have signed it.
Here are four reactions to the most recent proposal to split the United Methodist Church. They include support, opposition, and a belief that everyone should “take a deep breath.”