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UMC Edges Toward Historic Split Over LGBTQ Inclusion. This Church Showed the Way.

“More people are out, thank God and thank all the organizations and individuals who have been loud and proud,” Hall said.

That changes the conversation. But, the professor said, she’s not sure yet how it will impact the outcome of the denomination’s next General Conference meeting in August 2022, where United Methodist delegates from across the globe are expected to vote on a proposal to split the denomination over its disagreements about sexuality.

When he thinks about what the denomination can learn from Community of Hope’s story, Mulholland said, it’s this: “Open your doors and find out what you can learn. It’s powerful stuff.”

Penrose is not surprised that the debate over LGBTQ Christians is still raging within the United Methodist Church — but she is appalled, she said.

“The church is supposed to be on the leading edge of these kinds of issues, not dragged kicking and screaming,” she said.

But the former pastor said she doesn’t believe Community of Hope’s efforts were wasted.

“In my more hopeful moments, I think we really did learn that we all really are all broken and made whole together, that we all have elements of brokenness, and trying to heal together is a lot more productive than trying to decide who’s too broken to be present,” she said.

This article originally appeared here.

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Emily McFarlan Miller is a national reporter for RNS based in Chicago. She covers evangelical and mainline Protestant Christianity.