Last week, the United Methodist Church (UMC), in violation of its rules against the ordination “self-avowed practicing homosexuals,” voted to elect the first openly gay Black bishop.
The UMC Western Jurisdiction (which includes the western U.S.A and Alaska) voted to support Rev. After Bridgeforth received 73 votes from the 93 cast, Cedrick D. Bridgeforth was elected to the rank bishop. To win, he needed 63 votes.
Bridgeforth, who is currently married to another man stated in remarks after his election that he was grateful to God Almighty and to Christopher.
The new bishop stated, “It’s in church where I have found purpose. Even when it was chewing my up and spitting out, it still couldn’t leave me go.”
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Bridgeforth was promoted to bishop in violation of the UMC Book of Discipline which prohibits the ordination of homosexuals.
In 2016, the Western Jurisdiction elected Karen Oliveto, the first openly lesbian UMC bishop. She was not ordained by the United Methodist Judicial Council in 2017. However, she is still in her position.
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The UMC is the third largest Protestant denomination in America. However, there has been a growing division in recent years, as more congregations leave the mainline to address issues such as LGBTQ rights or church government.
The UMC voted 438-384 at a special session in 2019 to maintain the church’s prohibitions on the ordaining of LGBTQ clergy and officiating or hosting same-sex marriages.
In addition, the UMC adopted a disaffiliation arrangement that year. This agreement allows churches to opt out of the vote and remain in the UMC until 2023 “for conscience reasons.”
Fox News Digital reported that several conservative members of the Methodist clergy said that while the issue was not resolved, Fox News Digital reported in June how many liberal leaders from the UMC disregarded the 2019 vote. They decided to stay in the denomination and commission openly gay clergy, as well as officiating same-sex marriages.
John Lomperis, of the Institute on Religion & Democracy was a UMC General Conference delegate. stated that Bridgeforth’s promotion is “further direct defiance” of the UMC’s rules. This trend is becoming more common.
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“No one forced Mr. Bridgeforth into seeking ordination or leadership in our church. Lomperis stated that he was aware of our rules prohibiting same-sex partners, as well as premarital sex for our clergy.
“Bishops have the sacred responsibility to uphold and enforce our church’s moral and doctrinal standards.” He said that if the bishops are openly violating these standards, it is an ‘inmates running asylum’ situation.
Many congregations leaving the mainline Methodist church are now joining the conservative Global Methodist Church. It was founded in May.
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Fox News Digital reached out to UMC Western Jurisdiction in order to get their comments.