Methodists Table Gay Preacher Issue

Virginia’s Methodists decided Saturday to postpone a vote on a resolution advocating for change toward openness in the denomination’s stance on homosexuality in favor of discussing the issue throughout the year before taking an official stance on it.

About 4,000 attendees of the weekend’s annual gathering of the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church in Hampton were scheduled to vote on the resolution. However, it was ultimately tabled in a motion by the Rev. Tom Berlin in light of a request by Bishop Young Jin Cho asking church leaders to facilitate discussions on the matter, according to the Daily Advocate, the newsletter for the conference.

Even if they were to vote in favor of the resolution, Virginia’s Methodists would not on their own have the authority to change their denomination’s rules on a national level. Any changes would have to happen during the United Methodist Church’s national conference in Portland, Oregon, in 2016.

Officially, the decision on the resolution was “postponed indefinitely,” said Virginia Conference spokeswoman Linda Rhodes. However, members of the conference may bring the issue back up for consideration during its 2015 gathering, which would give them enough time to present the outcome of their decision in time for the national conference.

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