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.
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EARLIER POST: Next up at the United Methodists’ high-stakes meeting in St. Louis: monster trucks.
Yes, that denomination’s high-stakes deliberations in St. Louis on LGBTQ clergy and same-sex marriage face a 6:30 p.m. (Central time, I believe) to conclude.
CNN Religion Editor Daniel Burke explains:
Religion News Service’s Emily McFarlan Miller, who is on the scene, has the scoop, too:
Also, in case you’re curious:
What’s going to happen? Good question.
This is the latest from The Associated Press:
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The United Methodist Church, America’s second-largest Protestant denomination, faces a likely surge in defections and acts of defiance after delegates at a crucial conference Tuesday rejected a move to ease the faith’s ban on same-sex marriage and ordination of LGBT clergy.
Some supporters of greater LGBT inclusion were in tears, while others vented their anger after delegates, on a 449-374 vote, defeated a proposal that would have let regional and local church bodies decide for themselves on gay-friendly policies.
“Devastation,” was how former Methodist pastor Rebecca Wilson of Detroit described her feelings. “As someone who left because I’m gay, I’m waiting for the church I love to stop bringing more hate.”
Hopefully, you read GetReligion Editor Terry Mattingly’s insightful analysis earlier today, in which he highlighted crucial questions for reporters.
A key update added to his post in case you missed it:
UPDATED: As I have predicted all along, the judicial branch of United Methodist establishment ruled the Traditional Plan unconstitutional. Headline: The Empire Strikes Back.
Then, the conference voted down the One Church Plan, which was brought up in a minority report after it failed yesterday. The growing global church outvoted the declining sectors of the mainline American flock.
As I have said for several years now, the only real question here is whether the United Methodist establishment will fight on and on, even as its votes decline. Establishment could even adopt a Gen. Sherman burns everything plan like the Episcopal Church, spending millions in an attempt to hang on to church properties and assets controlled by conservatives.
The only question, the question reporters have to ask: What will it take for the establishment left to join the right in accepting a charitable, sane set of exit plans for believers and congregations on both sides of this war? Can that be done in St. Louis or do United Methodists have to go through this all over again at general conference after general conference? The growing parts of the international church will only gain votes and no one seriously expects the shrinking — for decades — liberal UMC regions to suddenly explode with growth.
Also, here is a bit of style advice for journalists from tmatt (follow the thread):
As we await news — and the monster trucks — here are a few highlights from the Methodist Twitter universe:
Stop back by later: We’ll update this post with the final developments.