Monday, September 19, 2011

Renegade clergy’s defiance threatens to split United Methodists

From Beliefnet-

Hundreds of United Methodist clergy are expressing deep concerns over a pledge made by a renegade group of fellow ministers to marry same-sex couples. Their concern is that if the pledge is carried through, the future of the denomination is in jeopardy.

“We do not know how many, if any, marriages or ‘holy unions’ of same-sex couples will be performed by UM clergy in the near future,” reads a letter, currently signed by more than 400 pastors, to the Council of Bishops. “But we do know the destructive effects that will result in our local churches and throughout the denomination if such services are performed by UM pastors.”

The Presbyterian and Episcopal denominations have seen several larger, growing, conservative congregations seeking to distance themselves from national hierarchies that have forced recognition of homosexual clergy and marriage onto their denominations. Large churches in Virginia, Texas and California have taken measures to pull out of the U.S. Episcopal denomination. The Presbyterians are seeing a new, conservative denomination split away after national leadership voted to drop longstanding prohibitions on homosexuality.

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