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LGBTQ policies divide United Methodist Church

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Progress on LGBTQ issues has been incremental, but can sometimes feel like two steps forward, one step back. In one week, the Senate passed same-sex marriage protections, while the Department of Homeland Security warned of domestic terrorism threats to LGBTQ people.

Some segments of the Christian church are grappling with how to handle issues like allowing LGBTQ people to become clergy members or whether to bless same-sex unions in their churches. While some denominations and some churches have made a progressive shift on these issues, it has caused strife in others.

That’s the case in the United Methodist Church where disagreements over LGBTQ policies have created a rift. By the end of next year, as many as 5,000 churches are expected to disaffiliate from the denomination. In North Carolina, 249 churches just elected to separate from the UMC’s eastern conference. We’ll delve into what’s happening, why and the broader context.

Guests

Yonat Shimron, national reporter and senior editor at Religion News Service, an independent, nonprofit source of news on religion.

Dr. Amy Laura Hall, associate professor of Christian Ethics and Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies at Duke Divinity School

James Howell, senior pastor at Myers Park United Methodist Church, one of the biggest in Charlotte. Myers Park is staying in the UMC.

Editor's note: We invited representatives from Charlotte-area churches who have decided to leave the UMC but were not able to confirm anyone by deadline.

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Erin Keever is Senior Producer of WFAE's Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. She has been with the show since joining the station in 2006. She's a native Charlottean.