A group of leaders of the United Methodist Church, the second-largest Protestant denomination in the United States, announced on Friday a plan that would formally split the church, citing “fundamental differences” over same-sex marriage after years of division.
The plan would sunder a denomination with 13 million members globally — roughly half of them in the United States — and create at least one new “traditionalist Methodist” denomination that would continue to ban same-sex marriage as well as the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy.
It seems likely that the majority of the denomination’s churches in the United States would remain in the existing United Methodist Church, which would become a more liberal-leaning institution as conservative congregations worldwide depart.
A separation in the Methodist church, a denomination long home to a varied mix of left and right, had been brewing for years, if not decades. It had become widely seen as likely after a contentious general conference in St. Louis last February, when 53 percent of church leaders and lay members voted to tighten the ban on same-sex marriage, declaring that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.”
The above comes from a Jan. 3 story in the New York Times.