HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The future of the United Methodist Church is up in the air.
Bishops across the country are conflicted on the issue of LGBTQ weddings and clergy.
In 2019, the church voted to double down on its stance that it doesn’t allow either and it strengthened penalties.
Since the vote, Western UMC Bishops are called for an end to the prosecution of LGBTQ weddings and ordinations.
Southern bishops are calling for deeper conversations and potentially the creation of multiple forms of Methodism.
It’s left UMC churches like Huntsville’s Epworth United Methodist Church uncertain of what’s next.
Pastor Todd Noren-Hentz said he expects the issue to be brought up at the 2020 UMC General Conference, and there is discussion of creating multiple branches within the church.
“My sense is that there’s a lot less clarity about what the options are and so forth than there was going into the 2019 general conference,” he said.
“My own personal feelings, it would just be great if everyone could chill on the church trials and lets just come together at the table and bless one another.”
Noren-Hentz said he is in support of LGBTQ weddings, and the issue has resulted in some of his congregation leaving.
“Heartbreaking when people choose to leave....Those who have departed have done so with great love and respect and I appreciate that,” he said.
He said despite the challenges ahead, he wants the Valley to know his door is open.
“I hope that when you hear about this fight, you may hear there are people in the church fighting for me.”