Local United Methodists grapple with denomination decision on gay clergy and same-gender weddings

by Kristin E. Holmes, Updated: March 1, 2019

In the years since she was stripped of her credentials by the United Methodist Church, Beth Stroud had hoped the denomination she calls home would move closer to welcoming gay clergy into the fold.

Stroud, who was defrocked in 2004 after telling her Philadelphia congregation that she was gay and in a relationship, watched from her Lawrenceville, N.J., home this week as the nation’s second-largest Protestant denomination tackled the issue during live-streamed sessions of a General Conference meeting in St. Louis.

But after an often raucous and chaotic gathering, the church hardened its stance, passing a “Traditional Plan” that prohibited “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” from serving as ministers, bans clergy from performing same-gender weddings, and toughens penalties on those who disobey.

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