The UMC Upholds Traditional Stance on Human Sexuality


February 26, 2019 ST. LOUIS-- Right at the cusp of 5:00 p.m. central time, the 864 delegates of the 2019 Called Session of General Conference voted to affirm The United Methodist Church’s current ban on the ordination of self-avowed practicing homosexuals, having United Methodist ministers conduct ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions and conducting those unions in United Methodist churches. General Conference, which usually meets every four years, is the only body that can speak for the denomination. After moving through legislative committee, the Traditional Plan moved to plenary and passed in a vote of 438-384. The three other plans considered in harmony with the purpose of the called session—the One Church Plan, the Connectional Conference Plan and the Simple Plan—failed to move forward from legislative committee by either dismissal or defeat. A minority report was submitted to bring the One Church Plan back to the floor of the General Conference, but the report was defeated in a vote of 449-374.

General Conference began Saturday, February 23 in a dedicated day of prayer where delegates and United Methodists around the world continue the journey of praying our way forward. During this time, participants were invited to pray for the delegates and leaders of General Conference and everyone involved. The Council of Bishops released a congregational prayer to be shared throughout the connection and prayed during worship service Sunday, February 24.

The second day of General Conference and the first day of business sessions began with opening worship and shortly thereafter moved into the morning business session, which proceeded with several administrative reports. After lunch, business continued with a process to prioritize petitions and their related plans. This means that they were grouped together and then voted on. For example, all 15 petitions of the One Church Plan were considered together, rather than each petition related to that plan being considered individually. Delegates prioritized the grouped petitions and then voted on the order in which they should consider the petitions. The Wespath recommendation on benefits passed through legislative committee to the next day’s plenary. The Traditional Plan was passed through to plenary.  The One Church Plan failed to pass through to be considered at plenary on the last day. The Traditional Plan was the only plan moving forward to the plenary. There was a request for a declaratory decision from the Judicial Council—The United Methodist Church’s highest judicial body. Two disaffiliation plans did move forward and shortly thereafter, a motion passed to group together several other petitions—including the Connectional Conference Plan—to be dismissed. The Simple Plan was also voted down. Although General Conference adjourned and the Traditional Plan was selected as a way forward, some petitions of the plan were deemed unconstitutional by the Judicial Council and will need further action.

The General Conference meets every four years and will meet again for their regularly scheduled gathering May 5-15, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

General Conference is the top policy-making body of The United Methodist Church. The assembly meets at the beginning of each quadrennium to consider revisions to church law, as well as adopt resolutions on current moral, social, public policy and economic issues. It also approves plans and budgets for church-wide programs for the next four years. 

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