- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 26, 2019

The United Methodist Church is in danger of breaking up after a small majority of its 2019 conference attendees voted to keep LGBTQ bans in place.

At its general conference in St. Louis Monday, the 800 clergy members held a preliminary vote to accept the Traditional Church plan by 56 percent, which would continue to keep LGBTQ bans against clergy and same-sex weddings.

While the final vote on the plan will happen late Tuesday, continuing with the Traditional plan is worried to cause a schism within the church and lead to supporters of LGBTQ inclusion to split.

An alternate initiative, called the One Church Plan, only received 47 percent support from the clergy, despite being backed by a majority of the Council of Bishops.

This plan would change current language in the denomination’s Book of Discipline stating that “homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching” and would leave decisions about LGBTQ acceptance for churches to decide regionally.

While the One Church proposal isn’t dead yet, the majority vote for the Traditional plan makes enacting it harder.

David Watson, a Dayton, Ohio dean and professor at United Theological Seminary said to The Associated Press that the potential schism as “painful,” adding, “our disagreement has pitted friend against friend, which no one wanted.”

The United Methodist Church has 12.6 million members around the world. Other historic mainline Protestant denominations including The Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church (USA) have adopted pro-LGBTQ stances.

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