United Methodist Church lifts 40-year ban on LGBTQ clergy

The United Methodist Church overturned its 40-year ban on gay clergy Wednesday, marking a historic shift in the church’s stance on homosexuality.

The church has long been divided into factions over LGBTQ inclusion and even weighed splitting into two separate churches over the issue, CNN previously reported.

In 1984, the church banned “self-avowed practising homosexuals” from becoming members of the clergy, and later added performing or celebrating same-sex unions to “a list of chargeable offences that could result in a church trial,” according to a timeline of the church’s history with the LGBTQ community.

The Methodist community spent the ensuing decades debating, fighting and praying over their stance on gay clergy and LGBTQ members. But Wednesday’s vote by the church’s top legislative body signalled a historic shift toward acceptance and inclusion.

In a 692-51 vote, church leaders passed several rules without debate, including overturning both its ban on gay clergy and the penalties for holding same-sex marriages, according to the United Methodist News Service.

After the vote, Hope Morgan Ward, a retired bishop in the United Methodist Church, prayed the church would be used as “peacemakers and servants” and be “welcoming of all people into the embrace of God.”

According to the Methodist news service, members cheered, cried and hugged after the vote.

“We’ve been going on like this since the ’70s and, finally, in just a brief few minutes with no debate, it was gone. And now we can get on about the business of the church,” Marilyn Murphy, an observer from the church’s South Carolina conference, told the news service.

LGBTQ advocates within the church hailed the decision.

Matt Patrick, co-pastor at the University United Methodist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, told CNN he became emotional after the church announced the decision.

“I did tear up this morning at the announcement of the vote because it was just a huge relief to see justice had been done after so many years,” he said. “There’s just been a lot of pain in order to get us to this place.”

Though the prohibition on gay clergy has been removed from the church bylaws, Patrick said the work will continue to ensure the Methodist church is as an inclusive place for everyone.

“Where we go from here, God only knows,” he said.

More changes are expected as the legislative conference continues in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Source: CNN

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles

Back to top button

Adblocker Detected

Turn Off your Adblocker to continue.