The United Methodist Church is calling us to pray twice a day, from 2:23 – 2:26 each day (for four minutes) as our denomination holds a special General Conference in St. Louis on Feb. 23 – Feb. 26, 2019 – – thus the requested daily prayer time.
Many United Methodists are hoping a clear direction on how the church relates to homosexuality will emerge at the special called session of the General Conference in February.
Important stakeholders are claiming their positions, including some who make preserving unity in the church a priority.
Delegates to the Feb. 23-26 gathering in St. Louis will consider plans to deal with the status of LGBTQ United Methodists, who want equal treatment when it comes to ordination and marriage.
The United Methodist Book of Discipline states that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching and that “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” cannot be clergy. The Discipline also bans ceremonies that celebrate same-sex unions in United Methodist churches.
Despite these rules, same-gender weddings have been performed in United Methodist churches and by United Methodist clergy. Clergy have publicly declared they are gay, sometimes losing their credentials.
“It seems like it’s no longer possible for us to live together in one body,” said the Rev. Tom Lambrecht, vice president and general manager of Good News, an unofficial group of United Methodists who support upholding the ban on same-sex marriage and gay clergy.
“Between those who are adamantly promoting the affirmation of same-sex marriage and LGBTQ ordination and those of us who believe that is contrary to Scripture, it doesn’t seem like there’s a middle ground or a compromise point that will satisfy people.”
The most prominent plans submitted for consideration at the special conference are the Connectional Conference Plan, the One Church Plan, the Simple Plan, the Traditional Plan and the Modified Traditional Plan.
The Council of Bishops said in recommending the One Church Plan that it provides conferences, churches and pastors the flexibility to pursue their mission while retaining the connectional nature of the church. The plan leaves decisions of whether to allow same-gender weddings up to local churches and gay ordination up to annual conferences.
Read the rest of the article on UMC’s website OPINIONS STILL VARY ON THE WAY FORWARD
More information on the United Methodist Church website: 2019 SPECIAL SESSION of the General Conference
Also read the Confessing Movement of the UMC (website http://www.confessingumc.org) last newsletter entitled Where are we now as United Methodists & the Way Forward?
So, please remember to pray daily for our church as a whole as this special General Conference in a little more than a month.