Recently Read: The divided Methodist Church

Attendees vote to allow an unscheduled announcement from Bishop Bruce Ough, from the Dakotas-Minnesota church district and president of the Methodist Council of Bishops, concerning the stance of the Methodist church on LGBT rights during the United Methodist Church General Conference in Portland, Ore., Tuesday, May 17, 2016. The church currently bans same-sex marriages and the ordination of clergy who live openly with same-sex partners.

This piece from The Atlantic captures the nuances of the debate within The United Methodist Church regarding human sexuality. It touches on the global nature of the denomination and the colonialism of Africa by the west, something I’ve heard several delegates mention this week. In a sense, as the piece says, our divide is one we have helped to create:

“The American church has sent missionaries all over the world to spread the faith. Over time, communities abroad have become consistent voices in support of “traditional” heterosexuality, while their progressive peers in the United States have gradually shifted to support gay marriage and pastors. In a denomination that’s remarkably accommodating to local cultural practices, homosexuality might represent the outer limit of tolerable difference.”

Laura Harbert Allen, Managing Editor

Laura is an independent public radio and multimedia producer who makes stories in the documentary tradition. She served as communications director for the West Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church for seven years and has more than 20 years experience in public radio as an announcer, producer, program director, and general manager. She has also written about music for the Charleston Gazette-Mail, and done feature work for Wonderful West Virginia Magazine. Laura is married to the Rev. Jeff Allen. They live in Charleston, West Virginia.

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The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
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