Faith leaders react to methodist church divide

Churches split over LGBTQ+ controversy.
Churches split over LGBTQ+ controversy.(Deric Rush)
Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 8:51 PM EDT
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NEW BERN, N.C. (WITN) - A faith leader in the East is addressing tensions that have risen over whether or not one religion will accept members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Reports show more than 4,000 churches, including roughly 200 in North Carolina have split from the United Methodist Church in response to controversy connected to disagreements on sexuality and religion.

“And what we did here at centenary with that example in front of us of churches that were voting and splitting and it didn’t really matter what the vote was if the church voted it was divisive we decided that it was more important for us to stay together as a church family regardless of how we might feel about the issue of human sexuality,” said Lead Pastor of Centenary United Methodist Church Vann Spivey.

Methodist pastors say the denomination has upheld bans on same-sex marriages and gay clergy, but U.S. congregations have openly performed same-sex marriages anyway.

“Two questions I’ve been asked one is are we going to allow same-sex marriages and my answer is right now the United Methodist Church does not allow them will that ever change nobody knows if it does change what will happen is they won’t force anybody to do things next marriages they’ll give the congregations the right to make that decision for themselves I don’t know what this congregation would decide whatever they decide I will abide by it though,” added Spivey.

Many have left the denomination saying it has become “more and more progressive” and have left to join the more conservative Global Methodist church.

“You know there are those on both sides who would agree that you can’t be together when you disagree over something that’s significant and yet we managed to stay together as a church when we had disagreements about divorce in the early part of the 20th century we stayed together when the church integrated in 1968 the United Methodist Church integrated and you know my point was always if we can make it through that we ought to be able to make it through this,” said Spivey.

In addition to North Carolina, close to 100 churches have split from the denomination in South Carolina since the start of this year.