The United Methodist Church leaders have proposed a split to the denomination over same-sex marriage and LGBTQ clergy after years of division last week. The proposed agreement will be voted upon during another United Methodist general conference in May, but an early report by the New York Times indicates that it will likely be approved. If so, the church’s publishing arm, the United Methodist Publishing House (UMPH), has a plan in place for its publishing operations going forward.
Rev. Brian Milford, president and publisher of UMPH, said the presumption is that the publishing operations would remain with the post-separated United Methodist denomination, offering materials that fit congregants’ demands. The current United Methodist Church does not allow same-sex weddings and gay clergy, but the proposal lays out a plan for allowing greater regional flexibility in the UMC.
Any break-off denomination or denominations outside of the United Methodist denomination would presumably keep restrictions on same-sex marriage and LGBTQ clergy in place, or determine their own stance on those matters. For more information about the proposal, visit here, and find answers to frequently asked questions about the potential split here.
“If legislation consistent with this plan is adopted by the General Conference in May 2020, the United Methodist Publishing House will remain the publishing and retail distribution arm of the ongoing denomination, which most observers expect will consist of the majority of annual conferences and congregations,” Milford told PW. “We will continue to provide an array of products for worship, Christian formation, Bible study, and other facets of congregational life for all who find them beneficial in their ministries.”
Additionally, UMPH’s publishing imprint, Abingdon, and its retail division, Cokesbury, will also continue to operate as part of the United Methodist Church, rather than any new proposed denomination.
“The United Methodist Publishing House will follow the lead of our predecessors, who through many periods of trial and change over 231 years of continuous existence, navigated church splits, reunifications, and new partnerships,” Milford notes. “We will maintain very close collaboration with clergy and other leaders across the church to understand the themes, settings, and activities where program and study resources are needed.”