The United Methodist Church (UMC) is known for its opposition to homosexuality. It is currently facing a crisis of disaffiliations from its members who are supporting a more diverse church open to joining a new denomination called the Global Methodist Church.
Despite the denomination's rules against funding groups that promote homosexuality, one of its official bodies, The General Board of Church and Society, has taken a bold step in support of the LGBTQ+ community.
LGBT Advocacy Group Got Funded
According to UMC Justice, the board announced it would grant over $98,000 to several organizations working towards justice initiatives, including an LGBT advocacy group. This decision marks a significant departure from the church's previous stance and is seen as a positive step towards creating a more inclusive society.
The Pittsboro United Methodist Church in North Carolina and the Park Slope United Methodist Church in New York are taking active steps towards creating a more inclusive and socially conscious community.
The Pittsboro UMC will deploy assistive groups with professional speakers to address topics such as trauma-informed mental health resources for local students, shared community space with ethnic churches during Advent Season, and a supportive mentorship program for LGBTQ+ youth parents.
Meanwhile, the Park Slope UMC Social Action Committee will be relaunching its community film series, which will explore a range of social issues, including gun violence prevention, women's rights, immigration, LGBTQ+ and AAPI issues, anti-racism, and climate justice. These initiatives show the churches' commitment to positively impacting their communities and promoting human rights.
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With this, the UMC is making small contributions in resolving the ongoing conflicts that may lead to violating the denomination's policies written in its guidelines.
According to the Christian Post, The United Methodist Church's General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) has clear guidelines on using church funds. According to paragraph 613, funding cannot be used to promote homosexuality or violate the church's commitment not to reject or condemn LGBTQ+ members.
However, this restriction does not apply to ministry efforts responding to the HIV epidemic or funding educational events where the church's official position is equally represented. The General Board of Church and Society has confirmed that $2,000 has been set aside for a grant, clarifying any potential confusion around the church's funding policies.
The United Methodist Church, the third-largest Christian denomination in the United States, has been facing a significant divide in recent years. According to Christianity Daily, With over 2,000 churches leaving the UMC since 2019 due to the General Conference's approval of a ban on ordaining LGBTQ+ clergy and performing same-sex marriages, the rift within the church has only grown.
A lawyer representing some churches attempting to leave the denomination has stated that the conflict is rooted in money and power. Dan Dalton, the attorney, has noted that the battles are "about power, and it's about money." This issue highlights the challenges facing the largest mainline denomination in the US as it navigates questions of inclusion and tradition.
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