The United Methodist Church announced its proposed splitting into two denominations over the issue of LGBTQ clergy members and same-sex marriage.
There are United Methodist Churchs all over the world. The church is currently split on whether to perform same-sex marriages or to ordain members of the LGBTQ community.
Pastor Jenny Hallenbeck Orr at McCabe United Methodist Church says, “It breaks my heart that the fact we aren’t settled on this issue in any way might be keeping people from getting to know and love Jesus and serving him.”
Reverend Hallenbeck Orr was born and raised a United Methodist. She tells KX News the issue of performing same-sex marriages or having members of the LGTBQ community in their clergy have been brewing for a long time, and not just for Methodists, but all denominations. She says coming to a conclusion won’t be simple.
In 2019, the United Methodist Church held a special session to further discuss this topic. 53% of church leaders in attendance voted to uphold the ban on same-sex marriage and clergy. The matter is unsettled in Jenny’s congregation, too.
“Among our folks here at McCabe we have folks here at every place on the spectrum of perspectives,” says Rev. Hallenbeck Orr. “With God’s help, we are working to hold together a congregation that feels differently about this from one person to the next.”
In May, the United Methodist Church will be deciding whether or not to split into two denominations — one for people who are for the social change, and one for those who are not.
“If this protocol passes. There would still be the United Methodist Church, but there would also be a different denomination that would choose to call themselves whatever they would want to call themselves,” says Rev. Hallenbeck Orr.
KX News asked Rev. Hallenbeck Orr how she thought the conference would go, she said that at this point, anything would surprise her.
“You can have pastors who make their own stance clear one way or the other and then you can have a congregation that by majority is not in the same place,” says Rev. Hallenbeck Orr.
And while this issue is still up in the air– no matter your background, or sexual orientation… Jenny says she hopes people know the Methodist church loves all.
“Despite different perspectives, we would absolutely never want what’s happening at our denominational level to make anyone in our community not feel welcomed.”
According to a Pew Research survey, 60% of United Methodist members say homosexuality should be accepted.
If the proposed split passes, the General Council would provide $25 million to the new, more traditional denomination over 4 years. The proposal states all final decisions must be made by 2024.