TAMPA, Fla. — The United Methodist Church has announced a proposal to split following an impasse over same-sex marriage and the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy.
- If approved, a "traditionalist" denomination would "spin-off" from main church
- Proposal will go before worldwide conference in May
- More Hillsborough County stories
Under the proposal, a "traditionalist" Methodist denomination would "spin off" from the United Methodist Church. This group would continue to oppose same-sex marriage and prohibit LGBTQ individuals from becoming ordained clergy.
The remaining portion of the Methodist Church would then permit those changes for the first time in church history.
Bishop Kenneth Carter of Lakeland represented Florida in the group that came up with the proposal.
He wrote on a public Facebook post, "I do believe there is great good in this. That it is a hopeful path. It is a mediation of differences."
Reverend Magrey DeVega of Hyde Park United Methodist Church in Tampa said he thinks the proposal strikes a good balance.
"We really try not to be net toward one extreme or the other, but to try to find the best of both and to articulate a third way," he explained. "I think that this proposal is a good way through the center of this controversy."
University of Tampa sociology professor Ryan Cragun said it will be interesting to see how resources are divided and if doctrines change.
"You'll probably see the more progressive splits accepting LGBTQ individuals, be more accepting of a variety of different things, probably changing a number of their polices and values very quickly. Then, the more conservative side really doubling down on its opposition to equality for LGBTQ individuals," he said.
Local churches would choose whether to join any new traditionalist denomination or remain in the United Methodist Church.
"I think that wherever folks are on this particular controversy we can hopefully move to universal agreement that what the world needs is a faithful expression of God's love that will transform human lives and improve communities," said DeVega.
The proposal would have to be approved during a worldwide conference in May.