Former Methodist responds to news of possible split

Local News

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR News) – An end may be coming to the fight among those in the United Methodist Church over gay marriage and whether a gay person can be ordained in the church.

The solution could be a split, with one faction of the church giving millions of dollars to the other to leave and form their own new denomination.

Leaders announced a plan for the split Friday.

“For some, the theological differences are so solid, regarding human sexuality, that it’s difficult to find a middle space. But I think this opportunity that’s emerged from these 16 clergy and leaders meeting presents a graceful way for the church to move forward,” said Joe Cobb.

Cobb says he grew up in the United Methodist Church and was ordained a deacon and then an elder.

“And I believed I would be an active member of the United Methodist Church for the rest of my life. And that changed when I came out and realized that I could not be openly gay and serve as a clergy.”

He decided to leave in 2001 and join the Metropolitan Community Church, where he has worked for a more inclusive environment for the LGBT community, something he now wants for the United Methodist Church.

“My hope is that this decision if it’s made in the general conference, will provide a path for that to happen.”

If this plan to split is approved, Cobb says he isn’t sure if he’d go back to his former church.

“I never really imagined that the United Methodist Church would get to this point. It does raise an interesting question for me about if they removed these restrictions if I would be welcomed back.”

The next step could come at the church’s General Conference in May.

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