RICHARDSON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A vote over the role of LGBT Methodists threatens the very existence of the United Methodist Church.
At its general conference in St. Louis, church delegates voted to keep a ban on same-sex marriage.
Also, practicing homosexual clergy must remain celibate.
Many congregations, including First United Methodist in Richardson, have been briefed by their leaders about Tuesday’s vote in St. Louis.
Despite that, it turned out to be much more emotional and painful day than the two sides may have expected, with people on both sides threatening to leave the church.
“It has been very painful and I can’t do anything to erase and remove the pain and the harm that has been done,” said Reverend Rachel Bachman of Oak Lawn United Methodist Church.
A painful day for the United Methodist Church, the nation’s second-largest Protestant denomination.
The vote for the Traditional Plan also adding punishment to clergy who defy that, including defrocking.
It was especially painful to Reverend Rachel Bachman, who heads the ultra inclusive and LGBT welcoming Oak Lawn Methodist Church in Dallas.
She said her message to her congregation is, “That I see you and I know that you are wounded and angry and frustrated. We are all broken by having gone though this process.”
Rev. Bachman traveled to St. Louis as part of a group trying to convince church delegate to vote for a different plan, the One Church Plan, that would allow individuals regions or churches flexibility to do what was best in their own communities.
It was voted down, but there were accusations of vote buying.
In a day that included tears, demonstrations, singing of hymns in St. Louis, many Methodists in DFW are asking what’s next.
“One of the things that our pastor said was don’t put a period where God put comma. I think is a comma moment. I don’t think it’s done,” said Taylor Newsom, a member of First United Methodist Church.
The Traditional Plan, which was voted on Tuesday, still has to pass a review board of the church.
That same review board already found it unconstitutional by the church’s own rules, and many expect it will be thrown out, leading conservatives to exit the church.