University ends United Methodist affiliation over LGBTQ bans

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ALLIANCE, Ohio (AP) | A university in Ohio has ended its affiliation with the United Methodist Church over the denomination’s renewed bans on LGBT clergy and same-sex marriage.

The Canton Repository reports the University of Mount Union president says the board of trustees considered the issue for months before voting recently to end the affiliation of more than 150 years.

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Plan with LGBT bans OK’d by United Methodist judicial panel

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NEW YORK (AP) | The United Methodist Church’s judicial council on April 26 upheld major portions of a new plan that strengthens bans on same-sex marriage and ordination of LGBT pastors.

Conservatives welcomed the decision and said key elements of the policy, called the Traditional Plan, could begin taking effect in January. Among liberal and centrist opponents of the plan, there was dismay; one group, Reconciling Ministries Network, called for an upsurge of resistance.

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United Methodists edge toward breakup over LGBTQ policies

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NEW YORK (AP) | There’s at least one area of agreement among conservative, centrist and liberal leaders in the United Methodist Church: America’s largest mainline Protestant denomination is on a path toward likely breakup over differences on same-sex marriage and ordination of LGBTQ pastors.

The differences have simmered for years, and came to a head in February at a conference in St. Louis where delegates voted 438-384 for a proposal called the Traditional Plan, which strengthens bans on LGBTQ-inclusive practices. A majority of U.S.-based delegates opposed that plan and favored LGBTQ-friendly options, but they were outvoted by U.S. conservatives teamed with most of the delegates from Methodist strongholds in Africa and the Philippines.

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Positive Living: A former Methodist laments — It’s Homophobia!

By : Greg Stemm
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As most people are aware, the United Methodist Church’s board of directors recently voted to uphold that body’s ban on performing gay marriages and ordaining gay pastors. For a church that once touted a slogan of “open hearts, open doors, open minds,” it seems to me that they have proven they espouse none of those things.

For a season of my life (mostly because it’s where my parents belonged) I was a card-carrying member of the United Methodist Church. In fact, my senior year of high school I was president of my Methodist Youth Fellowship. I was a closeted kid in a corn field in Ohio and just beginning my spiritual journey. I even went to a United Methodist liberal arts college, Otterbein University in a suburb of Columbus. Today I hardly recognize that earlier version of myself.

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Pastor of large Kansas Methodist church disappointed by vote

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(Image courtesy United Church of the Resurrection’s Facebook)

LEAWOOD, Kan. (AP) | The pastor of the largest Methodist congregation in the U.S. says he is deeply disappointed by a vote of the church’s delegates that rejected easing the faith’s ban on same-sex marriage and ordination of LGBT clergy.

Senior Pastor Adam Hamilton with the United Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, called Feb. 26’s vote hurtful of gay and lesbian people and their families.

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Campus minister faces church discipline for same-sex wedding

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – A campus minister at the University of Iowa is facing church discipline for performing a same-sex wedding.

The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports that the Rev. Anna Blaedel is executive director at the Wesley Student Center. She told the newspaper she knew she was jeopardizing her United Methodist Church standing when she officiated at the ceremony April 4 for a fellow clergywoman and her wife. But Blaedel says she also knew “that saying ‘no’ to one of my best friends would cost me my integrity and my soul.”

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Lesbian pastor, United Methodist Church agree to separation

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EDGERTON, KAN. (AP) – A lesbian pastor has agreed to go on involuntary leave from her United Methodist Church in Edgerton to avoid a church trial over her sexual orientation.

Cynthia Meyer and Methodist officials agreed in early August that her leave will begin Sept. 1. Her final sermon in Edgerton will be Aug. 28. No other United Methodist church will be able to appoint her as a pastor but churches could hire her to “perform functions equivalent to a lay staff person,” according to the agreement.

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Methodist Church in turmoil over LGBT rights

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(AP) – Struggling to avoid a split over gay rights, the top policy-making body of the United Methodist Church on May 18 narrowly approved a full review of all church law on sexuality, amid an emotional meeting roiled by talk of schism.

Delegates at the Methodist General Conference, meeting in Portland, Oregon, voted 428-405 to delay all consideration of LGBT-related proposals. Instead, the delegates created a commission that will spend at least two years reviewing policy on the subject, contained in the Methodist Book of Discipline, with the goal of developing a plan to address their differences.

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Mississippi church a window into national LGBT rights debate

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BRANDON, Miss. — On many Sundays, conservative Mississippi Republican Gov. Phil Bryant can be found in the sanctuary at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, almost always in his trademark suit and boots, often among those helping pass the offering plates.

In the same sanctuary — sometimes just a few wooden pews away — are Jan Smith and Donna Phillips, a same-sex couple who are also active in the suburban Jackson church and have a 9-year-old daughter named Hannah.

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Pastor power naps through protests against UMC’s anti-LGBT efforts

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Lawrence, Mich. (AP) – A Michigan pastor has been sleeping outside in a tent for weeks to protest his denomination’s stance on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people.

The Kalamazoo Gazette reports that the Rev. Michael Tupper of Parchment United Methodist Church near Kalamazoo started sleeping in a tent Nov. 30 and plans to continue doing so for 175 consecutive nights. He often pitches the tent in the front yard of his Van Buren County home, but he has also taken it on the road, sleeping in front of United Methodist conference headquarters in Indianapolis and Madison, Wisconsin.

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