HERNDON, VA: A group of theologically diverse United Methodists met at Floris United Methodist Church in Virginia on Friday and Saturday to continue seeking a way to resolve the impasse on the ordination of LGBTQ members and the blessing of same-gender marriages in the denomination.
Organized by bishops from Central Conferences, the meeting was attended by Tom Berlin and Junius Dotson, representing Centrists; Jan Lawrence and Randall Miller, representing Progressives; and Patricia Miller and Keith Boyette; representing the Conservatives.
Also, in attendance were Bishop John Yambasu, Bishop Christian Alsted, Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey and Bishop Thomas Bickerton. Bishop Gregory Palmer and Bishop Ciriaco Francisco were invited to the meeting but were unable to attend.
Joris Brombach, a layperson from Germany, was also in attendance, representing Central Conference lay and clergy. Two other persons from Mozambique and Philippines were invited to the meeting but were unable to attend.
During the candid and prayerful discussions, the group agreed that it seems inevitable that there will be some form of separation of the church as a way to resolve the impasse.
The participants listened to presentations from some of the plans that were being discussed, including the Indianapolis and the UMC Next plans, both which offer separation as gracious ways for the future of the church.
In upcoming meetings, the group hopes to reach a consensus of what might be the future of the denomination by using a professional, non-United Methodist mediator to help in navigating the differences.
Rev. Dr. Maidstone Mulenga
Director of Communications – Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church