UPDATE: The Traditional Plan wins.
That’s the verdict from the United Methodists’ high-stakes meeting in St. Louis on LGBTQ clergy and same-sex marriage
Religion News Service’s Emily McFarlan Miller reports that “the General Conference, the global denomination’s decision-making body, passed the Traditional Plan by a vote of 438 to 384.”
Here is the breaking news lede that just showed up in my email via the Washington Post’s Julie Zauzmer and Sarah Pulliam Bailey:
In a contentious meeting years in the making, the United States’s third-largest faith community voted to emphasize its opposition to same-sex marriage and gay clergy — a decision which was cheered by conservatives in the global church, especially in Africa, but was deeply disappointing to many Americans who had hoped the church would change.
Many American ministers in the United Methodist Church already perform same-sex marriages and approve of the ordination of LGBT people as clergy, although the Protestant church’s rules officially forbid these marriages and ordinations. Many Methodists hoped the church would amend those rules this week. Instead, a group of more than 800 clergy and lay leaders from around the world voted to affirm the church’s traditional view of sexuality — and in fact to punish disobedient clergy more harshly than before.
“The United Methodist Church will very soon lose an entire generation of leadership in the United States,” lamented Kimberly Ingram, speaking at the meeting on behalf of Methodist seminaries and theological schools, who argued that their students strongly approve of including LGBT people fully in the church. “The future of the United Methodist Church in this country is at stake.”
But presented with several options during a four-day special session on the future of the church in St. Louis, the delegates picked the “traditional plan.” Other options would have allowed local churches to choose their stance on sexuality for themselves, or would have split the church into separate denominations.
Here at GetReligion, look for more analysis of the decision and news coverage of it in the coming days.
In the meantime, don’t miss the tweets below about monster trucks. Trust me, there’s a connection to the Methodist meeting.