Mount Union, in Alliance, is the second Methodist university to entirely cut ties with the church. Baldwin Wallace University trustees approved a split in Berea on April 26. Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware “paused” their relationship with the church the same month.
Mount Union was founded by Methodist lay people in 1846, but was not founded by the church, according to the university’s website. About 40 percent of the student population identifies as Protestant, with about 7 percent identifying as Methodist.
Like BW, Mount Union is not financially supported by the Methodist Church and will work to honor scholarships provided through the church. The campus’s chapel will continue to operate and offer interfaith services.
All the Ohio Methodist universities signed a letter to the church expressing discontent with the “Traditional Plan” which was approved at a Methodist summit in February. The vote confirmed there would be no LGBTQ clergy in the church and no same-sex weddings.
“This decision is at odds with the University’s historical and current commitments to welcome and support all people who wish to participate in our programs,” a statement posted on the university’s website reads.
Otterbein University and Ohio Northern University presidents also signed the letter against the decision, but no action has been taken yet to decide on any potential separation.
“There’s a lot of signals (that) the United Methodist Church may look very different a year from now — it may be two churches,” Otterbein President John Comerford told the Columbus Dispatch. “We’re not leaving the church because we think the church may be in flux.”
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