United Methodist Church leaders from outside the United States said they feel dismissed by their brethren in the United States over their support for traditional sexual ethics.
Bishop Eduard Khegay, who is based in Eastern Europe, said he received emails from fellow UMC members who no longer want to financially support his Episcopal region after his delegate supported a plan earlier this year that opposes openly homosexual clergy and same-sex marriage.
“I find it kind of threatening,” explained Bishop Khegay at a meeting last month in Manila, Philippines, as reported by United Methodist News Service.
“The question my people ask: Are we a church that wants to support those in need even if they think a different way? Or do we only support those who think like us?”
At a special session of the UMC General Conference held in February, delegates voted 438-384 to uphold the mainline denomination’s official position against homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
Known as the Traditional Plan, the proposal not only upheld the current standards of the Book of Discipline but also included stricter enforcement of the rules and a possible gracious exit for congregations opposed to it.
Delegates representing overseas churches, especially Africa where the UMC is growing the fastest, played a crucial role in the vote result.
Those gathered in Manila talked about the backlash they have received from pro-LGBT churches in the United States.
Simon Mafunda from the East Zimbabwe Conference, who was a delegate at the special session in February, explained that many African members felt alienated by pro-LGBT UMC members.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Gryboski