Spartanburg, SC (WSPA) – Familiar conversation with a new proposal on how the United Methodist Church could possible move forward with an amicable split.
The terms of a recent agreement were put together by an independent mediation team.
However, it won’t be voted on until the general conference meets in May.
The anticipated vote in May could divide the third largest religious denomination in the country.
The architects of the proposal were 16 people from both sides of the debate, including eight Bishop’s, pastors and representatives from advocacy groups.
The group will present their proposal at the general conference in May.
The United Methodist Church is at an impasse, the focus, should they continue to govern themselves according to their foundational tenants, should they allow gay marriage and LGBTQ clergy or should they split as an organization.
“We still have tussled over this one issue, human sexuality, the ethics of human sexuality, but that has become very difficult with how embattled we’ve been over the past few decades.” said Retired Pastor, Reverend Paul Wood
Reverend Wood now chairs an organization that favors the full inclusion of the LGBTQ community.
The proposed plan called, ‘Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace through Seperation’ would allow those in the LGBTQ community to be licensed, ordained and married.
It pledges $25 million dollars to a proposed newly formed denomination, it also spells out how property, assets and liabilities will be handled for church’s who choose to leave the United Methodist Church.
“All church property is held in trusts. That trust clause has held us together for a long time, well over 100 years and now it will be temporarily put aside so that church’s can leave with their assets,” said Reverend Wood.
Dr. Tom Norrell of Central United Methodist Church in Spartanburg released a statement in reference to the new proposal, saying in part that the plan that was negotiated, “…has been approved by leaders on both sides of LGBTQ issues in the U.M.C….” said Norrell.
Bishop Jonathan Holston, resident Bishop of the South Carolina Conference, released an official statement, reading in part,
"It is important to remember that the General Conference is the only body that can speak for the denomination and make changes to The Book of Discipline. At this point, no decisions have been made and none will be made until the General Conference meets May..." Bishop Jonathan Holston South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church
If this protocol is adopted, regional votes will begin to take place and if a church wants to leave the denomination, they will have a way to do so.