samedi, novembre 23, 2013

What next for the United Methodists?

The story I did this week on reax to the sentencing of the Rev. Frank Schaefer for presiding at the marriage of his gay son (back in 2007 - yes, the timing of the complaint was strange) brought back many memories.

The Methodists are an international bodies, with approximately 12 million members around the world. But this was quite the local story.  Schaefer (who is on leave from his position) is a clergyman in Lebanon County, and his

As most of you know, if you follow religion news, the Episcopal Church was consumed, for more than a decade, with internal strife over the ordination of practicing homosexuals and whether or not clergy could officiate at gay unions.

Now we've straightened most of that out, as it were.  But we are a much smaller denomination, at least in the United States (the Anglican Communion is still one of the biggest Christian bodies in the world), with conservatives having decamped, either for other denominations, or new ones they created.

I couldn't include it in the story, because investigating it would have taken the article in a completely different direction but I heard concerns about outside bodies meddling in church affairs.

But there's a bigger concern among some clergy: that the internal battles over these issues are going to split the denomination... and repel those who already think Christians are out of touch.

Please read, and feel free to comment on where you think the UMC is going -- and what it means for Christian practice in the United States.

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