The United Methodist Church voted Tuesday night a heated conference to stand strong on its ban of same-sex marriage and LGBT clergy.
The decision at a conference in St. Louis affects more than 78,000 members in the Memphis Conference.
The issue has been going on for decades, and the debate is only getting more heated.
Now, church pastors who spoke to Local 24’s Rebecca Butcher say they fear a separation.
“I had a lot of hope this time that what’s been called the One Church Plan would prevail,” said Pastor Steve Stone of Jacob’s Well UMC. “In the One Church Plan every clergy and every church would go about their own conscious.”
The United Methodist Church conference voted four times against the one church plan.
Instead, the Traditional Plan passed. It reaffirms the church’s stance on no same-sex marriage and no LGBTQ clergy.
“Those on the more conservative side will say we’re just following Scripture, without being honest and saying we’re just following an interpretation,” said Pastor Stone.
The Pastor of Christ United Methodist Church was at the conference. He believes the vote that passed remains true to the Bible.
“It didn’t make us anymore conservative,” explained Dr. Shane Stanford. “It simply claims that what we have claimed from the beginning of the United Methodist Church would continue as our doctrine and discipline.”
The president of the Institute of Religion and Democracy expects churches to leave.
I think some liberal congregations will be deciding on if they want to pull out,” said Mark Tooley, who attended the conference.
Meanwhile, Dr. Stanford tells Local 24 that emotions were high at the conference.
“It got very loud. There was a lot of emotion in the room.”
He also shared his message to those in the LGBTQ community.
“They are welcome at Christ Church,” said Stanford. “According to covenantal items in Scripture, I cannot perform their wedding and I cannot approve for you to be ordained.”
A little more than 45% voted in favor of the failed progressive plan. A plan for disaffiliation for churches was also approved Tuesday.