Local Church Splits From The United Methodist Church Along LGBTQ Lines | WJHL
WEBER CITY, Va. (WJHL) — As part of a larger schism within the United Methodist Church (UMC) denomination, a local church has decided to split from a newly formed church that it says , offers a tougher stance on sexuality.
According to a press release from Holston View United Methodist Church in Weber City, Va., the congregation will soon join the Global Methodist Church (GMC), which is expected to launch in May.
“Having reviewed our understanding of the importance of scripture and the fundamental beliefs of the vast majority of our church members, we believe we must declare where we will stand once Methodists have defined a way to separate according to theological lines,” said Chris Stapleton, the church’s lay leader. “The current crisis in The United Methodist Church is simply causing too much confusion as we try to fulfill the mission of reaching people for Jesus Christ.”
This mission, however, cannot currently be accepted by Methodists in the LGBTQ+ community. In the press release, the church cites the recent opening of the ministry to “practicing” homosexuals and the permitting of same-sex marriage at UMC shrines as the cause of their departure, stating that some modern UMC churches have “flagrantly ignored the church. Book of Discipline without repercussions.
What does the UMC think?
As part of its updated doctrine, The United Methodist Church has released its social position on sexuality as follows:
Certain basic human rights and civil liberties are due to all people. We are committed to supporting these rights and freedoms for all people, regardless of their sexual orientation.
We see a clear problem of simple justice in protecting legitimate claims where people have shared material resources, pensions, guardianship relationships, mutual powers of attorney, and other legitimate claims typically associated with contractual relationships that involve contributions , shared responsibilities and commitments, and equal protection under the law.
Additionally, we support efforts to end violence and other forms of coercion against all people, regardless of sexual orientation.
In church literature, the UMC states that clergy cannot be “self-proclaimed practicing homosexuals” and that homosexual ceremonies cannot be performed on church premises. In the early 2000s, the The UMC Judiciary has revoked the membership of the Reverend Irene Stroud after informing her bishop and congregation that she had been in a relationship with a female partner for several years.
In a pseudo-trial, an internal jury found Stroud guilty of violating church principles. Within the church, however, practices and opinions may vary.
“With a body of more than 12 million members worldwide, United Methodists disagree on how to be in ministry with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people,” said one. church announcement bed. “Some members believe the church should maintain its current positions regarding gay clergy and marriage. Others advocate strongly for the inclusion of LGBTQ Christians in all aspects of church life.
More recently, prominent members of the clergy have remained open about their sexuality without repercussion. Bishop Karen Oliveto is quoted by the UMC Council of Bishops as the first openly lesbian bishop in the history of the denomination. Oliveto’s wife, Robin Ridenour, is also listed as a deaconess within the church.
What does the GMC think?
Within the New World Methodist Church, published doctrine states that church leaders “denounce as sinful racism, sexism and other expressions that unjustly discriminate against any person”.
Later in the same document, the GMC states that “We believe that human sexuality is a gift from God to be affirmed as exercised within the legal and spiritual covenant of a loving, monogamous marriage. between a man and a woman”.
While affirming a scriptural view of sexuality and gender, we invite all to experience the redeeming grace of Jesus and commit to being a safe place of refuge, hospitality and healing for all who have experienced breaks in their sex life.
In doctrine outlining the qualifications of the ordained, the GMC states that those who wish to serve must demonstrate “faithfulness in a Christian marriage between a man and a woman” or “chastity in celibacy.”
How will the split work?
As discord arose around the topic, factions within the UMC began calling for a general conference to formally settle the issue churchwide. In 2019, a special session was devoted to the question led to tougher restrictions on LGBT clergy and ceremonies.
As COVID-19 has impacted churches of all denominations, a general conference scheduled for 2020 was repeatedly pushed back before a final announcement that it would not take place until 2024. Church officials cited visa and travel issues and said all conference delegates must have the opportunity to attend should the event take place.
After the most recent delay, GMC leaders wrote that the UMC had prevented an “amicable and orderly separation” using a negotiated plan called the “Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace Through Separationwritten in 2019. The protocol, which at the time was expected to be accepted at the 2020 general conference, was supposed to formalize the split process and allow church leaders from different factions to declare new denominations by May 15, 2021.
According to a protocol review, $25 million was to be paid to the new “traditionalist” denomination upon their release. If multiple factions split, protocol stated that each would have to come to an agreement on their individual cut.
The creation of the GMC before the protocol was adopted in 2024 throws a wrench into the original compromise, as no specific procedures are currently in place for the transfer of church assets and pensions.
“The logistics are what’s left to work out,” Holston View UMC pastor Chuck Griffin said. “And to people outside (maybe even inside) UMC, it all seems a bit complicated and mysterious.”
As it stands, Griffin said it’s possible entire conferences will vote to leave the denomination. If the church judiciary decides to allow it, the entire Holston Conference could decide its own fate at its next meeting called after the decision.
Otherwise, Griffin thinks changes can be made through existing rules.
“There is a paragraph allowing churches to change to ‘another evangelical denomination’; another paragraph simply allows churches to “disaffiliate,” to become independent,” Griffin said. “Because of our trust clause, which ties our properties to the larger church, and our churches’ individual pension commitments, the latter option is likely to be significantly more expensive for most churches than the former.”
Griffin is president of the Holston chapter of the Wesleyan Alliance Association (WCA), a faction formerly within the UMC that advocates for stronger adherence to doctrines of sexuality.
Griffin said several UMC churches have spoken to the WCA about making the change, though few have spoken publicly about it. Griffin cited Alcoa’s First United Methodist Church as a shining example, voting to publicly affiliate with the WCA in 2021.