Methodists ‘Pause for Prayer’

The Rev. Will Green lies on the floor of the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland with his hands and feet bound to protest the denominations policies on human sexuality.
Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS

The General Conference of the United Methodist Church voted May 18 to commission a study on human sexuality, effectively postponing debate on homosexuality in the church.

In a 428 to 405 vote, the conference affirmed a request from the denomination’s Council of Bishops to “pause for prayer” and study before commencing substantial revisions to the United Methodist Book of Discipline, which currently forbids the blessing of same-sex marriage and the ordination of noncelibate gay clergy.

 “We recommend that the General Conference defer all votes on human sexuality and refer this entire subject to a special Commission, named by the Council of Bishops, to develop a complete examination and possible revision of every paragraph in our Book of Discipline regarding human sexuality,” the Council of Bishops said in a statement [PDF]. “We continue to hear from many people on the debate over sexuality that our current Discipline contains language which is contradictory, unnecessarily hurtful, and inadequate for the variety of local, regional and global contexts.”

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