The United Methodist Church is struggling to maintain unity amid deep divisions over Scripture and sexuality, the presiding bishop of America’s second-largest Protestant denomination acknowledged. Responding to rumors of a potential breakup at the quadrennial United Methodist General Conference, Bishop Bruce Ough said Tuesday (May 17) that the leadership is “not advancing or advocating any plan of separation or reorganization of the denomination.”

The church faces increasing pressure in the United States to ordain LGBT clergy and allow same-sex weddings, both strongly opposed by conservatives in this country and among the growing congregations in Africa where homosexuality is banned in many countries. There are 12 million Methodists worldwide, including 7.2 million in the U.S. READ MORE