FAIRWAY, KS (KCTV) -- The Methodist Church could be heading for a split into two denominations following a vote of its governing body against LGBTQ inclusion.
“It’s very much about legitimacy, about who holds control, authority,” Leslie Smith, teaches religious studies at Avila University, said. “Debates like this are really to a large degree about who is a citizen, who will be valued.”
Which is why Tuesday’s vote was so painful to LGBTQ members of the church. At issue was a proposal that would have let regional and local church bodies decide for themselves where to stand on gay marriage and gay clergy.
“While there are three texts in the New Testament that speak to some kind of same-sex acts, there are over 100 that call for unity and working to stay together,” Adam Hamilton, leads Church of the Resurrection, voiced.
Church of the Resurrection has several metro locations, amounting to the single largest congregation in the United Methodist Church. Hamilton was a vocal supporter of the plan.
It failed, with 374 delegates voting for and 449 against. A key component to that was geography. Two-thirds of the United States delegates voted for it. But almost half of the delegates are from overseas, most of them from Africa.
Then came a vote on another plan, even more restrictive than current church policy.
Reverend and former KCK mayor, Mark Holland tried to hold up the vote with amendments.
“We had ours voted down. I’m asking you to lay down the sword,” Holland said. “We are going to amend until the Monster Trucks roll in at 6:30!”
But the restrictive policy also passed setting a course for a schism. Which Hamilton addressed, he said his church will always be accepting, and won’t likely be the one to leave the fold of the existing denomination.
“I don’t anticipate that that’s going to be the issue, and a lot of conservatives are actually wanting to leave,” Hamilton voiced.
“Regardless of what it takes, it will almost certainly be a long process,” Smith said.