A debate, spanning decades, over same-sex marriage and the ordination of LGBTQ clergy, could lead to division in one of the country’s largest Protestant denominations. More than 860 United Methodists delegates and members have gathered to vote on these two issues at the 2019 General Conference.
A special 32 person commission, called "A Way Forward," has been meeting for the past two years gathering information on both sides. Tuesday marks the end of the four-day conference. The first day was set aside only for prayer and worship.
The debate concerns specific text written in the Methodist Book Of Discipline on human sexuality. Delegates from around the world will vote on three proposals. The first would allow the ordination of LGBTQ clergy and same-sex weddings.
The second proposal is more conservative and would maintain current church policy. The third proposal would divide the Methodist church into three groups, allowing each group to make its own policies.
"I hope a decision is made and there is some resolution," said Rev. Patrick Littlefield of Lakewood United Methodist Church. "I find that the dividedness not only hurts us as a United Methodist Church as Christians that are in a covenant together, consider ourselves united in one spirit, that dividedness breaks a part that unity we claim to have and it also hurts those we claim to love."
That vote will take place later Tuesday.