The former head of the United Methodist Church Council of Bishops regarded the split of the mainline protestant church over the difference in LGBT stance as "counterintuitive" to the Body of Christ.
The outgoing head, Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey gave her final address to the leadership body of the United Methodist Church at the official spring meeting of the UMC Council of Bishops. After serving for two years, she handed the position to the new president Bishop Thomas Bickerton last Friday. She became emotional before delivering the speech, yet she controlled after few minutes break.
In her speech, she recognized the elevated tension as they anticipated the inception of the new expression of Methodism. Some churches under the Methodist church chose to establish or join a more conservative church due to irreconcilable theology with the main church.
As she mentioned Reverend John Wilson's declaratory decision, she argued that the UMC, as one body in Christ, they have different parts and functions. Therefore, any part of the body claiming to have a different "function" could not say that he's not part of the body. She pointed out how the church worked as a whole and yet the time and effort done arguing regarding the separation is "egregious."
She pointed out that the Book of Discipline has been "complex or vague" regarding the matter of separation because it wasn't its intent. She noted that the Book of Discipline has been designed to give them a direction to become United Methodists and not the opposite.
Harvey expressed her sadness to see leaders at various annual conferences, urging other leaders to disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church. She said, "Now I understand the intent, but the mere words make me so sad in the very pit of my stomach." For her, giving instructions how to separate from the body was contradictory from the instruction on how to be the Body of Christ.
She emphasized that their arguments regarding their image as a church led them to neglect their central purpose. She reiterated that they never gratify and encourage division. The primary reason of leadership was love and grace of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For her, bringing people together, and not leading division was the true meaning of Body of Christ.
Harvey admitted that although she hopes no one would leave the Church, it was clear to her that some would not. So, she would just choose to bless and send their brothers and sisters who would opt not to stay in the main protestant church.
Meanwhile, the Global Methodist Church launched on May 1 to maintain traditional and conservative Wesleyan theology. The leadership noted that their infrastructure as a church would be lighter and leaner, emphasizing accountability and ministry connections.
According to GMC, though the UMC Book of Discipline identified the homosexuality as contrasting with the Christian teaching and it forbids the blessing of same-sex union or the ordination of clergy involved in same-sex relationships, UMC progressives tried to change the teachings.