United Methodists In Liberia Keep Ban Barring Divorced Clergy from Becoming Bishops

Members of First United Methodist Church in Monrovia, Liberia, attend a special welcoming and thanksgiving service honoring Bishop John G. Innis. Photo by Julu Swen, courtesy of UMNS
Members of First United Methodist Church in Monrovia, Liberia, attend a special welcoming and thanksgiving service honoring Bishop John G. Innis. Photo by Julu Swen, courtesy of UMNS

In the United States, United Methodists are fighting about whether to allow clergy to marry gay couples. In Liberia, divorce is on the line.

The United Methodist Church in Liberia recently voted to uphold a long-standing provision barring divorced clergy from running for the office of the bishop.

The church’s leaders say the ban brings moral credibility to the office and guides the conduct of those who want to be bishop.

“The entire conference believes this is the right thing to do,” said the Rev. Isaac Chuckpue-Padmore, conference secretary. “Being able to keep a marriage, no matter what, is a high moral standard a candidate for episcopacy must meet.”

But the ban is not part of the Book of Discipline, the rulebook that defines how United Methodists govern themselves. And it is meeting resistance from some church members.

“We demand free, fair and transparent process,” read a placard displayed by one of the protesters during last month’s annual conference meeting in Gardnersville, a north central suburb of Monrovia City.

Some church members protested the ban, disrupting an afternoon session.

Click here for more.

SOURCE: Religion News Service
Fredrick Nzwili

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