Locals respond to Methodist Church’s separation plan
SALISBURY, Md. – The United Methodist Church is one step closer to splitting the denomination, after dealing with disagreements over same-sex marriage and LGBTQ clergy.
“It is a step in a direction that allows us to move forward without the conflict that has been a part of the conversation,” said Pastor Tom Pasmore, at the Asbury United Methodist Church in Salisbury.
On Friday, church leaders announced the proposal, and if passed those against gay marriage will be able to separate from the United Methodist Church. It would also allow pastors to perform same-sex marriages without risking disciplinary action.
“It would allow those people who have traditional views on human sexuality and marriage to go and form their own denomination,” said Pasmore.
Pastor Tom Pasmore tells us this new proposal comes after years of conflict.
“We’ve had conversations on both sides on how things should change or shouldn’t change,” said Pasmore.
“Some congregations are better than others at accepting and supporting LGBTQ people,” said Michele Schlehofer, executive director at Salisbury PFLAG.
Members of the Asbury United Methodist Church, representing a more inclusive congregation, say they are hopeful for a brighter future moving forward.
“Hopefully, it will open up space for God to work in new and different ways even though we’re going to lose brothers and sisters in Christ who disagree with our own positions,” said Pasmore.
Many are also hoping for a chance for people of all backgrounds to freely live out their faith.
“We do have a large number of people in the LGBTQ community who are religious, who are spiritual, who want to maintain their faith connections,” said Schlehofer.
Members at the Asbury United Methodist Church say they host meetings for people interested in better understanding sexual orientation and homosexuality.