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Friday, May 20, 2016

‘The Church Might Divide’: Nation’s Third Largest Faith Group Makes Key Decision in Bitter Battle Over Gay Marriage

As the United Method Church meets for its General Conference in Portland, Oregon — an event that is held once every four years — church leaders continue to deal with a contentious issue that threatens to splinter the denomination: homosexuality.

In a narrow vote of 428-405 on Wednesday, the Council of Bishops — the top policy arm of the nation’s third largest faith group — voted to assess and review current church law on sexuality, the Associated Press reported.

The United Methodist Church’s Book of Discipline, which outlines church regulations, is explicit in noting that marriage is confined to one man and one woman. The official church rules on matrimony read, “We affirm the sanctity of the marriage covenant that is expressed in love, mutual support, personal commitment, and shared fidelity between a man and a woman,” with pastors falling under strict guidelines.

“While persons set apart by the Church for ordained ministry are subject to all the frailties of the human condition and the pressures of society, they are required to maintain the highest standards of holy living in the world,” the rules read. “The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.”READ MORE