Methodists from around the world will meet in St. Louis from Feb. 23-26 to try to resolve 50 years of conflict over the status of gays and lesbians in their church.
Members of the United Methodist Church don’t agree on biblical teachings about homosexuality. More than that, they don’t agree on whether it’s necessary to agree about homosexuality in order to remain a unified denomination, church members and leaders said.
Participants in this special session of general conference on sexuality are tasked with determining whether it’s possible to avoid a denominational schism. They’ll debate policies on LGBTQ ordination and same-sex marriage, seeking to understand God’s will for the church.
“Our hope is not that this is an argument, but rather a way for followers of Jesus to develop empathy for each other and to listen to disagreements,” wrote Bishop Kenneth H. Carter, Jr., president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, in an email.