Monday, June 16, 2014

Support, Pushback for `local option’ on homosexuality in United Methodist Church

By Sam Hodges
June 13, 2014

NOTE: VOL readers will see familiar themes and scenes and all the same issues here that the Episcopal Church has faced with disastrous consequences to parishes, priests and bishops resulting in the formation of the Anglican Church in North America. - David W. Virtue DD

The idea of letting United Methodist churches and annual (regional) conferences choose to depart from church law regarding homosexuality is gaining support. But it’s also seeing heated opposition from those who say “local option” would violate Methodist connectionalism and merely shift longstanding conflict to the church and conference level.

On June 5, the Rev. Adam Hamilton and others offered “A Way Forward,” a proposal to let churches vote to depart from the Book of Discipline by hosting same-sex unions and welcoming gay pastors. The proposal also calls for letting annual conferences decide to depart from the Discipline by ordaining self-avowed, practicing homosexuals.

Hamilton said he hoped to provide an alternative to a May 22 call by some clergy and theologians to begin consideration of an amicable split of the denomination. That group, self-described as traditionalist, argues that differences over homosexuality within the United Methodist Church are irreconcilable.

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