UNITED METHODIST CHURCH, FEBRUARY 2019
In 1972, the General Conference of the United Methodist Church voted to add language to the Book of Discipline stating that the practice of homosexuality is “incompatible with Christian teaching”. Over the next several decades, as the General Conference met every four years, rules were enacted prohibiting practicing self-avowed homosexuals from being ordained and prohibiting ordained pastors from officiating at same-sex weddings. Proposals to change the language of the Discipline were rejected.
In 2016, the General Conference, meeting in Portland, voted to direct the Council of Bishops to try to find a way forward to resolve this issue which divides the Church. The Council appointed a Commission on the Way Forward, consisting of bishops, clergy, and lay members. The Commission met nine times over a seventeen-month period in 2017 and 2018 and developed two proposals for consideration by a Special Session of the General Conference held in St. Louis in February of 2019, with only one agenda item, that being a way forward on the issues surrounding LGBTQ persons.
SPECIAL GENERAL CONFERENCE, FEBRUARY 23 – 26, 2019
The Special General Conference considered several proposals, and voted on Tuesday, February 26 to adopt the Traditional Plan, which retains the current Book of Discipline language regarding homosexuality, strengthens enforcement of penalties for violation of rules prohibiting LGBTQ clergy, and prohibits all clergy from performing same-sex weddings.
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