- The Washington Times - Friday, August 16, 2019

The United Methodist Church would maintain neighborliness, but would split into separate wings, in the aftermath of disagreements over LGBTQ rights in the church, according to a blueprint released by church leaders this week.

In a statement announcing the “Indianapolis Plan,” the Methodist Church’s news service called the schism on LGTBQ issues “irreconcilable” but offered a plan for the church and its 12 million worldwide members that roughly splits the church into sectarian denominations, while maintaining “legal continuation” of the church.

A group of 12 church leaders — made up of centrists, traditionalists and progressives — began meeting in Indianapolis in June and their 20-provision plan was released Tuesday.

“We’ve discovered the United Methodist Church can’t live in the same house together peaceably, but we can live next door to one another,” said the Rev. Kent Millard, president of United Theological Seminary, who helped organize the group.

The church would split into a centrist/progressive wing, which would maintain the church’s legal identity and allow for ordination and marriage of LGBTQ members, and a traditionalist church, which could maintain current language from the Book of Discipline, Methodism’s theological text, that describes “the practice of homosexuality” as incompatible with “church teaching.”

The plan would not dissolve the church, but each wing would receive new names. Leaders are seeking feedback by Sept. 18 to revise the proposal and put it in petition form. Other ideas also are being developed.

In February, the church voted narrowly — buoyed by conservative church members in the South and international members — to maintain opposition to LGBTQ lifestyles.

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