Day Ten began with legislation on human sexuality. At stake was the removal the clause in our Social Principles which states that “homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.” Well-known clergy Adam Hamilton and Mike Slaughter co-authored an amendment which would have kept the language of incompatibility but add a phrase that United Methodists are not of one mind. The amendment failed 507-441 and the main motion to remove incompatibility language failed 572-368.
During the discussion, a silent witness gathered around the bar of the plenary floor. Members of the Common Witness Coalition kept prayer during the difficult debate. Delegates moved from their seats to the the edge of the plenary floor to stand in witness together. Following the votes a break was called an the silent witness took over the plenary floor. Singing and praying, the witnesses gathered around the table for Holy Communion in which all were invited to participate. At least nine bishops left their place on the stage and joined in the gathering at the center of the room.
Those gathered were still singing and praying when delegates returned from their morning break. Upon refusing to leave when asked, Bishop Michael Coyner of the Indiana Area called an early lunch recess and stated that the afternoon session would be closed to visitors. It was later decided the session would remain open.
Germany Area Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, new president of the Council of Bishops, opened the session with a statement crafted by the bishops. She acknowledged the pain General Conference’s decisions and church policy have caused to the LGBT persons and urged everyone to stay committed to holy conferencing.
In other business, delegates did not approve an amendment to the Constitution that would have allowed General Conference to name a committee to reallocate funds between General Conferences. Likewise, the body rejected a motion to set a time for discussion of a petition directing the General Board of Church and Society and the General Board of Global Ministries/Women’s Division to withdraw membership in the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
The work of General Conference continues on the plenary floor. You can view live streaming of General Conference and watch from home.