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The Rev. Dr. James Howell, pastor of Myers Park United Methodist Church in Charlotte, NC, recently put out a misleading video on the significance of the Traditional Plan recently adopted by the special 2019 General Conference of the United Methodist Church. Howell, who served as a delegate from the Western North Carolina Annual Conference at the Special General Conference, was a leader of the Uniting Methodists caucus that pursued an odd combination of pushing hard to liberalize church teachings and standards on homosexuality, to an even greater extent than the liberal policies that split apart the Episcopal Church, while at the same time framing their messages and campaign sloganeering around their professed desire to maintain the “unity” of the denomination, seemingly at all costs. Unfortunately, we are also seeing divisive rhetoric in response to votes not going his preferred way.
Below we’ve highlighted some of the worst misrepresentations, errors, and mischaracterizations found in the Facebook video, which you can watch here.
Traditional - Plan - Goal - Homosexuality - Church
The Traditional Plan’s “goal is to stamp out homosexuality from the church, and to stamp out even those who are sympathetic to it. This plan, they wish to be rid of centrists, of moderates, of certainly progressives, even thoughtful conservatives.”
This statement is unhelpful and inaccurate hyperbole. The Traditional Plan makes no attempts to change the UMC’s welcome to all people to attend services, participate in programs, become members of a local congregation, receive sacraments, and more. For example, Paragraph 4 of the Book of Discipline says that all persons are of sacred worth, and Paragraph 214 says all people may become members in any local church in the connection, and these fundamental ideas have never been in question. LGBTQ people are welcome to participate in the life of the church. Nothing in the Traditional Plan excludes or kicks out anyone from...
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