Mount Zion United Methodist Church is the oldest African-American church in Washington. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

ICYMI: United Methodist Church Removes 40-year Ban on Gay Clergy

The United Methodist Church on Wednesday removed a ban on gay clergy that was in place for more than 40 years, voting to also allow LGBTQ weddings and end prohibitions on the use of United Methodist funds to “promote acceptance of homosexuality.”

Overturning the policy forbidding the church from ordaining “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” effectively formalized a practice that had caused an estimated quarter of U.S. congregations to leave the church.

The New York Times notes additional votes “affirming L.G.B.T.Q. inclusion in the church are expected before the meeting adjourns on Friday.” Wednesday’s measures were passed overwhelmingly and without debate. Delegates met in Charlotte, N.C.

According to the church’s General Council on Finance and Administration, there were 5,424,175 members in the U.S. in 2022 with an estimated global membership approaching 10 million.

The Times notes that other matters of business last week included a “regionalization” plan, which gave autonomy to different regions such that they can establish their own rules on matters including issues of sexuality — about which international factions are likelier to have more conservative views.

Rev. Kipp Nelson of St. Johns’s on the Lake Methodist Church in Miami shared a statement praising the new developments:

“It is a glorious day in the United Methodist Church. As a worldwide denomination, we have now publicly proclaimed the boundless love of God and finally slung open the doors of our church so that all people, no matter their identities or orientations, may pursue the calling of their hearts.

“Truly, all are loved and belong here among us. I am honored to serve as a pastor in the United Methodist Church for such a time as this, for our future is bright and filled with hope. Praise be, praise be.”

Story courtesy of the Washington Blade via the National LGBTQ Media Association. The National LGBTQ Media Association represents 13 legacy publications in major markets across the country with a collective readership of more than 400K in print and more than 1 million + online. Learn more here: https://nationallgbtmediaassociation.com/