You have likely seen in the news that the UMC has proposed a split. This is categorically false. The only body which can speak for the UMC is the collected voice of the delegates to our General Conference. What actually happened is that the leaders of many factions inside the UMC got together and
- mediated a proposal
- to serve as a framework
- to base legislation on.
It is true that the intent of the proposal is for the UMC to separate along traditional/progressive lines, but there is special work involved in getting legislation which has been proposed this late before the General Conference. Until it gets there, they can’t vote on it.
When they vote on it, IF they vote on it, then, and only then, will it justify a headline, “The UMC has decided [not] to split.” Theirs is not the only proposal to split the denomination, just the latest, and apparently the one with the best marketing.
A colleague has put together a video that offers a very helpful explanation of things and has shared it publicly. I include it here.
The reason for the proposed split has been framed by the mainstream media as being over differences of thought in the denomination regarding same-sex marriage and ordination of LGBTQ clergy. I believe that to be a simplistic, misleading framing. While that is the issue that looms large in our culture, and has been the focus of specific legislative battles, the theological divide between progressive and traditional is deeper and wider than just LGBTQ issues.
What is absolutely true is that this needs to be a time of devoted prayer in all of the churches across our denomination and in the Church Universal. Please pray.