SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – At the start of 2019, the United Methodist Church officially opposed homosexuality, same-sex marriage and gay pastors.
By the end of next week, though, that official stance could change.
Sixteen delegates from South Carolina will join hundreds in St. Louis for a special session to vote on changing the bylaws of the church.
The United Methodist Church has been in front of social issues from their inception, and now they’re facing a vote that some say could split the church.
Delegates and bishops will vote on one of three new plans for the UMC to follow: the Traditional Plan, the One Church Plan and the Connectional Conference Plan.
Churches will ultimately decide if they’ll follow the plan voted on or pull out of the United Methodist organization altogether.
Upstate pastors told us there’s a lot of fear and anxiety ahead of the vote.
“I’ve asked our people to please don’t abandon ship, no matter which side they’re on,” Dr. Tom Norrell, the pastor of Central United Methodist Church, said. “Let us wait and see what options we have as a local church. I’m hoping that life here at Central will not change much.”
“Whether we decide on the One Church Plan, the Connectional Plan, the Traditional Plan, I believe the plan of God for all of us is for a future and a future with hope,” Rev. Telley Gadson, senior pastor at St. Mark United Methodist Church, said.
The votes on these issues for the last 20 years have been almost 50-50.
The special session is slated to start this weekend, Feb. 23 and will end on Feb. 26.
Delegates will vote on one of the proposed plans during that time, and implementation of the new plan could start in 2020.
For more information on the three different proposed plans, click here.