Home Christian News The United Methodist Church Split: 4 Proposals for the Future

The United Methodist Church Split: 4 Proposals for the Future

“We both envision a future where the church will focus on its mission of making disciples and spend less time and energy debating issues of human sexuality,” says Jones, “which means we need to bless different parts of The United Methodist Church to be about the mission in their own ways.”

Days before the September 18 deadline, another plan was submitted by Frank Holbrook, a Memphis Conference delegate. Called the “Plain Grace Plan,” it emphasizes “Gracious Affiliation,” which Holbrook says encourages unity and “insures connectionalism among those churches forming a new expression…known as a Full Communion Expression.”

Holbrook, a retired attorney, says the Plain Grace Plan, with 20 petitions, attempts to “prevent future conflict and ruinous litigation” and “will lead to another great awakening like the one that gave birth to historic Methodism.”

Holbrook’s plan has received attention on blog posts by the Rev. Chris Ritter, who was a delegate at February’s special session. “The next few months should reveal where the various constituencies of the church will fall,” writes Ritter, who adds, “Few believe that the UMC will be constituted as it is currently a year or so from now.”

LGBTQ issues have divided the UMC for more than 40 years. Ritter points out a major discovery the church body has made amid this turmoil: “Admitting the denomination needs to break up and accomplishing this are very different matters.”

A possible UMC schism has garnered attention from the mainstream media, with articles focusing on division. As Brian Barry, a professor of United Methodist studies, notes, “’United’ in the title of the church is actually a proper noun and not always an adjective.”

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Stephanie Martin, a freelance journalist, has worked in Christian publishing for 28 years. She’s active at her church in Lakewood, Colorado, where she lives with her family.