By Yonat Shimron
A dozen United Methodists meeting secretly in Indianapolis earlier this summer have unveiled a blueprint for spinning off one or two new denominations, hoping to put an end to decades of battles over LGBTQ inclusion.
The plan would allow the United Methodist Church to create a new, fully independent body for more conservative or traditional churches while preserving the current denomination as centrist/liberal in orientation. Each would have its own structures, policies and finances but share a common Methodist heritage.
The group’s members, who first met at an Indianapolis church in late June, started out with a conviction that a split in the 12 million-member global denomination was inevitable.
“We began by asking, ‘If a separation is going to occur, how might it occur?’” said Keith Boyette, one of the conveners. Boyette is president of the Wesleyan Covenant Association, a conservative group that supports a ban on LGBTQ clergy and same-sex weddings in the church.
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