Chinese-American UMC caucus supports 'Traditional Plan' on homosexuality; rejects resistance

View of the stage during the United Methodist Church's special session General Conference inside the Dome at America's Center in St. Louis, Missouri on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019.
View of the stage during the United Methodist Church's special session General Conference inside the Dome at America's Center in St. Louis, Missouri on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019. | United Methodist News Service/Kathleen Barry

The National Chinese Caucus of The United Methodist Church recently passed a statement in support of the mainline Protestant denomination’s traditional stance on LGBT issues.

In recent years, the UMC has experienced divisive debate over its official position against homosexuality, same-sex marriage and the ordination of noncelibate gay clergy.

In February, at a special session of General Conference, a majority of UMC delegates approved the “Traditional Plan,” which affirmed the official position and promised stricter enforcement.

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At their biannual meeting held last month, the National Chinese Caucus passed a statement in support of the “Traditional Plan” for the UMC, with 41 votes in favor, 3 abstentions, and 0 nays.

“We support the decision of the 2019 Special General Conference and disagree with all actions contrary to the 2019 decision,” read the brief statement.

John Lomperis, a UMC delegate who writes for the theologically conservative Institute on Religion and Democracy, commented on the NCC’s statement.

“This recent development is further indication that as our denomination moves towards some sort of separation, whichever new group rejects biblical teachings on this matter will be less ethnically diverse, and less effective in reaching newer immigrant communities in a demographically changing America,” stated Lomperis.

On Feb. 26, UMC special session delegates voted 438-384 to approve a “Traditional Plan” for the denomination regarding their debate over homosexuality and gay marriage.

Delegates also rejected another proposal called the “One Church Plan,” which would have, among other things, allowed regional bodies to determine their stance on the issue.

Although the special session was originally aimed at preventing schism within the UMC, regional bodies and groups have continued to offer opposition to the results of the gathering.

Days after the NCC passed their statement in support of the Traditional Plan, the UMC Greater New Jersey Conference Bishop John Schol announced that he was going to resist the enforcement of rules regarding ordination and gay marriage.

“I share with you that I will not forward complaints for trial against LGBTQ people who serve the church or those who bless gays and lesbians in marriage,” declared Schol at a conference gathering.

“The LGBTQ community should not live in fear of what the church will do to them because they pursue their calling or because they want to serve people, or because they seek God’s blessing because all people are of sacred worth.”   

The theologically progressive UM-Forward submitted this year a proposal known as the New Expressions Worldwide Plan, which if implemented would create four different Methodist denominations. 

Also, last month, the Wesleyan Covenant Association, a theologically conservative group, endorsed a plan for “amicable separation” due to the ongoing debate over LGBT issues. The Indianapolis Plan calls for the creation of a Traditionalist denomination, a Centrist denomination, and possibly a Progressive denomination.

These proposals are expected to be considered at UMC's 2020 General Conference.

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