United Methodists tried to come to terms with a General Conference that was meant to unify but instead underscored divisions and had all sides acknowledging a high level of pain.
“Catastrophic” was the summary judgment of the Rev. James Howell, a Western North Carolina Conference delegate.
“The church as we’ve known it will not be. It’s going to fracture in ways — different ways,” he said.
Patricia Miller served on the Commission on a Way Forward that bishops appointed to help come up with legislative options for addressing the denomination’s impasse on homosexuality, and the Traditionalist Plan she supported prevailed.
“There is no joy for any of us in this whole debate,” said Miller. “It’s painful for all of us.”
The special legislative session was called by bishops to try to deal with the denomination’s long conflict over how accepting to be of homosexuality. General Conference is The United Methodist Church’s top legislative assembly, comprising delegates from around the world.
In the end, delegates passed by a 438-384 margin the Traditional Plan, which retains church law restrictions against…[homosexual practice] and seeks stricter enforcement.