Methodists Divided on Split
At the United Methodist General Conference, leaders from both sides spoke candidly about "amicable" division.
"Idealistically, we would like to see the whole denomination renewed and transformed, not divided. But realistically, especially given the recent example of the Episcopal Church, an amicable separation might be worth discussing. Many on both sides of the spectrum are simply exhausted from decades of battle." Mark Tooley, director of UM Action.
"It is totally premature to talk about a split. We need to honestly face those [divisive] issues and talk about what to do to seek a solution about how to remain together in the church." Kathryn Johnson, executive director, Methodist Federation for Social Action, representing pro-gay Methodists.
"I think the whole idea [of separation] breaks everybody's hearts—it is certainly not what anybody wants, but we can't continue the way we are going. We need some kind of resolution. Right now the division within the church is causing everyone pain. It prevents us from doing the work of the church." Patricia Miller, executive director, Confessing Movement.
"To speak about separation is not the United Methodist way. We believe as we conference together truth emerges and these are people who do not want to conference." Methodist Bishop Joseph Pennell of Virginia.
"I have no interest in calling for a separation. If we are going to remain together, we need to be able to create space … for persons to live out what they think is authentic to the gospel." Bruce Robbins, former general secretary of the General Commission on Christian Unity.
"It's obvious that the legislation that we've had in place thus far has not worked. When you have a total community so committed to ideology that ...