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Members of the 2018 Michigan Annual Conference meet in Traverse City, Mich. Conferences, including Michigan, voted on resolutions that signal their aspirations for the special General Conference in 2019. Photo by Kathleen Barry, UMNS.

Annual conferences mixed on bishops’ plan

Some have endorsed the bishops’ recommended One Church Model. Some want a more traditionalist approach. Read More

Worshippers, many of whom voted to withdraw from The United Methodist Church, join in a service May 27 at the Porter Funeral Home Chapel in Louisville, Miss. The Mississippi Conference is seeking to keep First United Methodist Church property in United Methodist hands.

Conference claims property of exiting church

The Mississippi Conference says departing members of First United Methodist Church in Louisville can’t take the property with them. Now the matter heads to court. Read More

Bishop Bruce R. Ough (left) greets Bishop Scott Jones prior to the May 22 oral hearing before the United Methodist Judicial Council in Evanston, Ill. The two argued different positions before the court. Photo by Kathleen Barry, UMNS

Court ruling spurs competing interpretations

Focus now turns to how the special General Conference will determine which pieces of legislation are “in harmony” with its stated purpose. Read More

Members of the Commission on a Way Forward converse with each other as they complete their final commission meeting on May 23 at the Upper Room chapel in Nashville, Tenn. Many commission members credit the book “The Anatomy of Peace” with helping them work together. Photo by Maidstone Mulenga, Council of Bishops.

Can a book help the church stay together?

A number of delegations to special General Conference are reading “The Anatomy of Peace” to prepare for their work. Here's why. Read More

Bishop Bruce R. Ough (left) speaks during a May 22, 2018, oral hearing before the United Methodist Judicial Council, meeting in Evanston, Ill. At right is Bishop Scott Jones. Photo by Kathleen Barry, UMNS.

Question to court: Who can submit petitions?

In a two-hour session, streamed online, Judicial Council heard arguments about petitions related to the special General Conference in 2019. Read More

Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton (center), who leads the New York Conference, speaks during a meeting of the Commission on General Conference in Des Moines, Iowa. Seated to the left and right are Duncan McMillan, the commission chair, and Moses Kumar, General Conference treasurer. Photo by Art McClanahan, Iowa Conference.

Paying for the special General Conference

The Commission on General Conference approved registration fees for visitors to GC2019. A big concern is helping delegates do their work. Read More

Screen shot from a livestream Q&A held by Bishop Scott Jones with members of the Texas Conference. From left, Leah Taylor, member of the Commission on a Way Forward, Bishop Scott Jones, and the Rev. Jessica LaGrone, also a commission member. Photo courtesy of the Texas Conference.

Bishops’ action leads to questions

Some bishops expect three plans will be submitted as legislation to the special General Conference. Other bishops emphasize only one plan has their recommendation. Read More

Bishop José Quipungo of the East Angola Area (left) and Sue Laurie of Love Prevails, an unofficial group that advocates for equality of LGBTQ individuals, share Holy Communion during the United Methodist Council of Bishops meeting in Chicago. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.

Bishops’ proposal garners range of responses

Bishops themselves are choosing to emphasize different parts of their motion for a Way Forward. Advocacy groups are also making their thoughts known. Read More

Bishop Bruce R. Ough gives his address April 29 at the spring 2018 meeting of the Council of Bishops in Chicago. Photo by Anne Marie Gerhardt, Northern Illinois Conference.

Bishops begin high-stakes deliberations

Council of Bishops president said the church is watching as bishops finalize recommendations aimed at fending off church splits over homosexuality. Read More

Bishop Sandra L. Steiner Ball speaks during the April 2018 meeting of the Connectional Table. The meeting addressed the Way Forward Commission's work and the worldwide nature of the church. Photo by Heather Hahn, United Methodist News Service.

Bishop urges new mindset for way forward

Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball said United Methodists will need a new approach to General Conference if they are to move through their impasse around homosexuality. Read More

First United Methodist Church in Louisville, Miss., is one of two congregations whose members voted to withdraw from The United Methodist Church in March. Photo courtesy of First United Methodist Church.

2 churches vote to leave denomination

Two Mississippi churches exited The United Methodist Church last year, and now two more want to withdraw. The pastor cites ongoing homosexuality debate. Read More

The Council of Bishops and the Commission on the Status and Role of Women want people with allegations of sexual harassment or misconduct to know they will be heard. Photo illustration by Kathleen Barry, UMNS

Bishops, agency respond to #MeToo movement

United Methodist leaders acknowledge that the church is not immune to sexual misconduct, and they pledge to take such allegations seriously. Read More

Ohio pastor charged with disobedience

The Rev. David Meredith is openly gay and married. This step could lead to a church trial, but that is not a foregone conclusion. Read More

Sara Hotchkiss, in red, speaks during the Commission on General Conference meeting Oct. 7 at Camp Sumatanga in Gallant, Ala. Earlier in the meeting, Hotchkiss helped explain plans for the special General Conference in 2019. Photo by Heather Hahn, UMNS.

Planning the special General Conference

As church heads into ‘uncharted waters,’ the Commission on General Conference offers an overview of what to expect in 2019. Read More

A view of First United Methodist Church in Austin, Texas, with the state capitol dome rising behind it. Photo by J.M. Hicks, courtesy of First United Methodist Church.

Church votes no weddings until all can wed

The Austin, Texas, church sees its vote as a way of showing solidarity with LGBTQ people even as the denomination does not allow same-gender marriage. Read More

An image of only the top paragraph of a press release issued by the North Texas Conference announcing that just resolutions had been reached among three parties after complaints following a same-gender wedding ceremony. Graphic courtesy of the North Texas Conference; cropped by UMNS.

Same-sex wedding complaints reach resolution

Two North Texas clergy faced complaints under church law — a retired pastor for officiating at the wedding and another for hosting it. Read More

The Rev. Adam Hamilton, a clergy delegate from the Great Plains Conference, speaks on the floor of the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Ore. Delegates were discussing what some perceive as a need to divide the denomination over issues of sexuality. Photo by Paul Jeffrey, UMNS

New group to church: Let’s stay together

The Uniting Methodists Movement seeks to give voice to those who think differences around homosexuality should not divide church. Read More

Retired United Methodist Bishop Joel Martinez speaks during a rally at the Texas State Capitol protesting a proposed bill that would keep transgender Texans from using bathrooms that align with their gender identity. About 200 United Methodists were among the 500 people at the event. Photo by Susan Risdon.

Rallying against Texas ‘bathroom bill’

About 200 United Methodists are among 500 at interfaith advocacy event in Austin, Texas, encouraging a vote against bill affecting transgender people. Read More

The Rev. J. Phil Wogaman (right) and Bishop LaTrelle Miller Easterling greet each other during the 233rd session of the Baltimore-Washington Conference in Washington, D.C. Wogaman handed in his clergy credentials during the clergy session over the case of T.C. Morrow, a lesbian who was not approved for ordination as a deacon in 2016 or 2017 and for others he feels have been excluded. Photo by Dawn M. Hand, Foundry United Methodist Church.

Conferences take on immigration, sexuality

The denomination’s long-running debate about LGBTQ people was on display, as was many conferences’ commitment to the sojourner. Read More

Members of the Commission on a Way Forward are pictured during their first meeting held in January 2017. Photo courtesy of commission.

Way Forward keeps mum on plans for church

The commission is looking at new ways to embody unity amid deep divisions around homosexuality. But it’s not ready to share those plans. Read More

In a file photo from 2016, the Rev. Anna Blaedel speaks during the Iowa Annual Conference session on June 4. Photo by Arthur McClanahan, Iowa Conference.

Gay clergywoman’s case heads to top court

The Rev. Anna Blaedel, a campus minister, told the Iowa Annual Conference last year that she is “a self-avowed practicing homosexual.” Read More

The Rev. James Dwyer reports June 18 to Claremont United Methodist Church, in Claremont, Calif., on the recent California-Pacific Conference gathering. The conference approved Dwyer’s motion asking the Judicial Council for a declaratory decision on the constitutionality of church law and Social Principles language stating that the practice of homosexuality is “incompatible with Christian teaching.” Photo by Terry Givens.

Petitions: ‘Incompatible’ is unconstitutional

Denmark and California-Pacific take on language at core of homosexuality debate. Read More

The Rev. M Barclay, at left, kneels at the Northern Illinois Conference’s commissioning of provisional deacons on June 4 in St. Charles, Ill. Barclay is the first openly “non-binary trans person” to become a United Methodist deacon. Photo by Anne Marie Gerhardt, Northern Illinois Conference.

Transgender person commissioned as deacon

The United Methodist Church has no official position on transgender clergy. M Barclay is believed to be the church’s first non-binary trans person to be commissioned. Read More

Bishop Karen Oliveto (left) and the Rev. Walter Fenton (right) shake hands during the April 25 oral hearing before the United Methodist Judicial Council meeting in Newark, N.J. Fenton is the analyst for Good News, which advocates that the church hold the line on homosexuality teachings. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS

Ruling on a gay bishop could be far-reaching

The Judicial Council ruled that a same-gender marriage license creates a presumption of homosexual practice. That’s a big deal, church legal analysts say. Read More

Council of Bishops President Bruce Ough speaks to his episcopal colleagues during his May 1 presidential address in Dallas, Texas. Ough urged bishops to support the Commission on a Way Forward and redouble their own efforts toward unity, evangelism and social outreach. Photo by Maidstone Mulenga, Council of Bishops.

Bishop Ough: ‘The entire church is rightly watching’

Council of Bishops’ president speaks candidly to colleagues of leadership challenges amid divisions over homosexuality. Read More

Members of the United Methodist Queer Clergy Caucus and supporters pray over the seating area to be used by the United Methodist Judicial Council during their meeting in Newark, N.J. The denomination's top court held an oral hearing on a petition questioning whether a gay pastor can serve as a bishop in The United Methodist Church. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.

Reactions vary to ruling on clergy qualifications

Judicial Council’s decision says that conference boards of ordained ministry must consider sexuality when assessing candidates. Read More

The Rev. Alex da Silva Souto of the United Methodist Queer Clergy Caucus leads a prayer prior to an oral hearing before the denomination's top court, meeting in Newark, N.J., questioning whether a gay pastor can serve as a bishop in The United Methodist Church. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.

Spectators pray, sing at Judicial Council

About 200 people prayed, sang and celebrated Holy Communion before and after a Judicial Council hearing on whether a gay bishop can be elected and consecrated in The United Methodist Church. Read More

Bishop Karen Oliveto (left) meets Dixie Brewster (right) for the first time prior to the opening of oral arguments before the United Methodist Judicial Council meeting in Newark, N.J. Brewster is petitioner questioning whether a gay pastor can serve as a bishop in The United Methodist Church. At rear is the Rev. Keith Boyette, representing Brewster before the council. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.

Court hears arguments over gay bishop

An elected representative of one U.S. regional body asks whether the episcopal election in another region violates United Methodist Church law. Read More

The Judicial Council at its April meeting faces a petition asking how the election of an openly gay bishop squares with the Book of Discipline, the denomination's governing document. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS

Preview to the legal debate around gay bishop

The denomination’s top court faces a question of whether it should weigh in on Bishop Oliveto’s election at all. Read More

United Methodist Bishop John K. Yambasu, surrounded by his cabinet, reads from his episcopal speech March 8-12 in Makeni, Sierra Leone. In his speech, Yambasu delivered a “wake-up call” to the Sierra Leone Annual Conference about the possibility of a global church split in 2020. Photo by Phileas Jusu, UMNS.

Sierra Leone bishop: Overseas support at risk

Sierra Leone’s United Methodist bishop warns the church needs to reduce its reliance on overseas funds in case the denomination splits over homosexuality. Read More

Myers Park United Methodist in Charlotte, N.C., is a large church where members are divided on what the denomination's position on homosexuality should be. The Rev. James Howell, pastor, says the church's ability to stay unified and be effective in mission work despite differences would be at risk if The United Methodist Church splits into traditionalist and progressive groups. Photo courtesy Myers Park United Methodist Church.

Schism threat has some churches caught in middle

Pastors of United Methodist congregations with diverse views on homosexuality worry that a painful choice looms. Read More

Morris L. Davis, a professor of Christian history and Wesleyan studies at Drew University, speaks to a group of United Methodist scholars and other observers at Candler School of Theology in Atlanta. The gathering focused on church unity and the church’s impasse on homosexuality. Photo by Ebony Lincoln, Higher Education and Ministry.

Scholars raise doubts about church’s future

Higher Education and Ministry brought together seminary professors to discuss the denomination’s current impasse on homosexuality. Read More

Young clergywomen challenge evangelical group

The women addressed their letter to the Wesleyan Covenant Association, which wants to hold the line on the denomination’s homosexuality teachings. Read More

The Orchard, which denominational data lists as the 16th highest in worship attendance in the U.S., and another large congregation, Getwell Road United Methodist Church, have each begun steps to leave the denomination. Photo courtesy of The Orchard

2 big churches seek exit from denomination

Leaders of the Mississippi congregations expressed frustration with the denomination’s ongoing homosexuality debate. Read More

The Rev. Jorge Acevedo (left), Alice Williams, the Rev. Jasmine Smothers, the Rev. Tom Lambrecht and Mazvita Machinga talk together during the first meeting of the Commission on a Way Forward in Atlanta, Jan. 23-26. Photo by Diane Degnan, United Methodist Communications

Group takes on church unity from multiple fronts

The Commission on a Way Forward formed six working groups that will look at various topics including the experiences of both LGBTQ individuals and different denominations. Read More

Bishop Sally Dyck (at left) and retired Bishop Jane Allen Middleton each released rulings of law in late December 2016 stemming from questions around homosexuality and ordination requirements. Photos courtesy of the Council of Bishops

2 bishops rule on ordination questions

As required by the Judicial Council, two bishops have ruled on questions stemming from issues around gay ordination. Read More

The Rev. Gary Brooks, lead pastor of Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Wichita, confers with the Rev. Nathan Stanton, new church development coordinator for the Great Plains Conference. Photo by David Burke

Emphasizing unity in Christ over divisiveness

Kansas church charts a middle course amid denomination’s theological divides, disagreements about homosexuality and the possibility of schism. Read More

The Revs. Will Green (left) and John Blackadar offer a resolution that the New England Conference of The United Methodist Church

Bishops overrule nonconformity resolutions

The rulings come after a summer that saw multiple conferences say they would defy the denomination's prohibitions related to homosexuality. Read More

The Rev. Anna Blaedel speaks during the 2016 Iowa Annual Conference session on June 4, 2016. Photo by Arthur McClanahan, Iowa Conference

Complaint dropped against Iowa clergywoman

Outgoing Bishop Julius C. Trimble dismisses complaint against the Rev. Anna Blaedel, a lesbian pastor. Read More

The Rev. Mike Tupper talks to a volunteer during his tent witness at the 2016 General Conference in Portland, Ore. Tupper recently agreed to a resolution of a same-sex marriage complaint. Photo by Kathleen Barry, UMNS

No church trial for pastor who sought one

The Rev. Mike Tupper reached a resolution in a same-sex wedding complaint nearly a year after he said he wanted a trial to put a spotlight on church law. Read More

Bishop Karen Oliveto says goodbye to her Glide Memorial United Methodist Church family after eight years as their pastor on Aug. 14. She was elected bishop by the Western Jurisdiction in July and is appointed to the Mountain Sky Area. Photo by Alain McLaughlin Photography Inc.

Bishop Oliveto: God has been in control

Bishop Karen Oliveto, the denomination’s first openly gay bishop, will lead the Mountain Sky Episcopal Area. Read More

The Rev. Val Rosenquist, at left, and retired Bishop Melvin Talbert co-officiate at the wedding of Jim Wilborne and John Romano, both 52, at First United Methodist Church in Charlotte, N.C. Photo courtesy of Reconciling Ministries Network

Pastor avoids church trial in same-sex wedding

The Rev. Val Rosenquist co-officiated at the wedding with retired Bishop Talbert. Talbert still faces questions of whether he violated the resolution for an earlier same-gender union. Read More

Bishops of varied theological perspectives have weighed in on the election of Bishop Karen Oliveto, a married lesbian. Most counsel waiting for the Judicial Council, the denomination’s top court, to rule on questions of church law. Photo illustration by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications

Bishops respond to gay colleague

Some bishops outside the United States said they worry that Bishop Karen Oliveto remaining in office will put their ministry at risk. Read More

Delegates and visitors listen to debate on petitions May 19 at the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Ore. A new group hopes to influence a new commission authorized by General Conference. Photo by Maile Bradfield, UMNS

New group aims to boost evangelical voice

Some worry the Wesleyan Covenant Association could start a new denomination. That is not the group’s intent, organizers say. Read More

The Rev. Cynthia Meyer (second from right) gets a hug and well wishes from supporters after a meeting with Bishop Scott Jones March 28 in Wichita, Kan. A complaint against Meyer ended Aug. 1. Photo by Todd Seifert, Great Plains Conference

Lesbian pastor to take involuntary leave

The resolution ends a complaint against the Rev. Cynthia Meyer and averts a church trial. It comes as the denomination enters a period of discernment on human sexuality. Read More

The Rev. Karen Oliveto accepts her election by the Western Jurisdiction as a United Methodist bishop. Oliveto is currently the senior pastor at Glide Memorial United Methodist Church in San Francisco, Calif. Her wife, Robin Ridenour, stands behind her. Photo by Patrick Scriven, Pacific-Northwest Conference.

Western Jurisdiction elects openly gay United Methodist bishop

The Western Jurisdiction elects the Rev. Karen Oliveto the first openly gay bishop in The United Methodist Church. Read More

General Conference 2016 made a decision to put the issues of human sexuality on hold. Since then, three openly gay pastors are candidates for episcopal elections when the five U.S. jurisdictions of The United Methodist Church meet July 13-16. File photo by Kathleen Barry, UMNS

3 gay pastors among nominees for bishop

Two openly gay pastors from the Western Jurisdiction and a third from the North Central Jurisdiction have been nominated for election as United Methodist bishops. Read More

New England board of ordained ministry co-chairs Yoo-Yun Cho-Chang and Peter Hey announced they will evaluate clergy candidates “based solely upon an understanding of their gifts for ministry and their readiness to serve Jesus Christ.”

New England, South Georgia resolutions on sexuality and Discipline

New England board of ordained ministry follows five others in not considering sexual orientation in ordained ministry, while South Georgia voted to uphold the Book of Discipline’s stance. Read More

Clergywoman denies same-sex weddings caused harm

Resolution allows the Rev. Janet Ellinger to keep clergy credentials after officiating at two same-sex weddings. Read More

Methodists in New Directions celebrated the vote affirming openly LGBTQ candidates with an impromptu worship, which culminated in a laying-on of hands for the four candidates.

NY Conference approves LGBTQ ministry candidates

New York Conference approved 28 candidates for ministry, including four who came out as gay. Read More

Protestors in support of LGBTQ clergy line the entryway to the 2016 United Methodist General Conference May 18 in Portland, Ore. Many wore or carried  clergy stoles of defrocked clergy.

Conferences react to ‘Way Forward’ on sexuality

The Council of Bishops’ proposal to put the sexuality debate on hold doesn’t end complaints or charges. Read More

LGBTQ people gather for final demonstration

Circling the plenary floor, clergy, advocates and allies of queer people offer support to each other as global gathering ends. Read More

Marie Kuch-Stanovsky presents the report recommending divestment from fossil fuel companies. Photo by Maile Bradfield, United Methodist News Service.

GC2016 rejects divestment on fossil fuels

Delegates favor having pension board engage with companies on climate change. Read More

The Rev. Beth Ann Cook, Indiana Conference, introduces a petition from the Church and Society legislative committee regarding The United Methodist Church's association with the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. The vote took place May 19 at the denomination's 2016 General Conference in Portland, Ore. Photo by Maile Bradfield, UMNS.

Church ends membership in reproductive health coalition

The United Methodist Church was one of the founders of Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. Read More

Bishop Bruce R. Ough, Dakotas-Minnesota Episcopal Area, presides over the May 19 afternoon session of the 2016 United Methodist General Church in Portland, Ore. Photo by Maile Bradfield, UMNS.

GC2016: How much does the bishops’ plan cost?

Finance agency executive says church has the funds to cover the recommended commission and possible special General Conference. Read More

Theon Johnson III (at right) and others in support of LGBTQ clergy line the entryway to the 2016 United Methodist General Conference May 18 in Portland, Ore.  The demonstration was carried out in silence as attendees walked past to enter the Oregon Convention Center. Photo by Kathleen Barry, UMNS

Delegates react to plan to defer human sexuality petitions

The decision to accept the report from the Council of Bishops to defer all votes on human sexuality was met with joy and trepidation. Read More

The Rev. Beth Jones, Susquehanna Conference, speaks May 18 on the motion to accept the Council of Bishops statement

GC2016 puts hold on sexuality debate

Bishops asked to defer sexuality legislation until a commission completely examines and possibly recommends revisions to Discipline paragraphs related to sexuality. Read More

Rights activists march on May 16 around the Oregon Convention Center, the site of the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Ore. Using the theme of Jericho in which walls were brought down, the demonstrators were demanding that the church be more inclusive of LGBTQ people in its ministries. Photo by Paul Jeffrey, UMNS.

Clergy offer support to LGBQT pastors despite GC2016 action

Supporters of full inclusion in the church are vocal and visible as the 2016 United Methodist General Conference enters its second week. Read More

Delegate Fred Brewington (at microphone) asks the 2016 United Methodist General Conference meeting in Portland, Ore., to apologize to fellow delegate Dorothee Benz (second from right) after she was ruled out of order while trying to speak about issues of human sexuality in an earlier session. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS

Delegates, supporters stand with LGBTQ people

Protesters, many with rainbow duct tape over their mouths, stood outside the plenary floor to symbolize the silent treatment they feel LGBTQ people get from the church. Read More

The United Methodist Book of Discipline allows clergy under complaint to be suspended. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS

500 clergy support gay United Methodist clergy who came out

The act is part of a series of moves raising the stakes as United Methodists begin their top lawmaking assembly, which meets every four years. Read More

Supporters gather around Susan Laurie (center) during a service of Holy Communion on the first day of the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Ore. Laurie, a lesbian, was ordained in an unauthorized service in the lobby of the Oregon Convention Center. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.

Grassroots group declares lesbian ordained

Lesbian unofficially ordained as United Methodist pastor by grass-roots group in defiance of church law. Read More

In an open letter released May 3, the chairs of the Baltimore-Washington Conference and New York Conference boards of ordained ministry called on other United Methodist conferences to join them in their decision to no longer inquire about the sexual orientation of their ministry candidates.

Pacific Northwest board joins in removing LGBTQ bar

New York, Baltimore-Washington say conference boards of ordained ministry have authority to approve candidates without asking about sexual preference. Read More

United Methodist clergy and clergy candidates from New York Conference came out as lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer.

15 United Methodist clergy, candidates come out as gay

This is the first time a group of ministers have taken action together in publicly announcing what is a chargeable offense under United Methodist Church law. Read More

The Rev. Val Rosenquist, at left, and retired Bishop Melvin Talbert co-officiate at the wedding of Jim Wilborne and John Romano, both 52, at First United Methodist Church in Charlotte, N.C. Photo courtesy of Reconciling Ministries Network

Bishop again officiates at same-gender nuptials

Retired Bishop Melvin G. Talbert faced a complaint after performing a same-sex union in 2013. Now he and another pastor risk their clergy credentials. Read More

Oklahoma Area Bishop Robert E. Hayes Jr. walks past supporters of full inclusion for gays and lesbians in the life of The United Methodist Church who are standing in silent vigil as delegates and visitors leave a session of the denomination's 2012 General Conference in Tampa, Fla. Hayes had presided over the previous session of the conference. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS

GC2016: The debate about how to debate sexuality

General Conference planners are proposing a new way to consider contentious issues. But their plan is getting significant pushback. Read More

The Rev. Cynthia Meyer (second from right) gets a hug and well wishes from supporters after a meeting with United Methodist Bishop Scott Jones March 28 in Wichita, Kan. Meyer faces church disciplinary charges after she announced she was in a “committed relationship” with another woman.

Lesbian pastor moves closer to church trial

The lesbian pastor of a Kansas church and her bishop failed to resolve a complaint against her, moving the Rev. Cynthia Meyer a step closer to a church trial. Read More

Ginny Mikita helps at a blessing of the animals with the Rev. Benjamin Hutchison at Cassopolis (Mich.) United Methodist Church. Mikita remains a certified candidate to become a deacon after officiating at Hutchison's wedding using online credentials. Photo courtesy of Mikita

Same-sex wedding officiant still clergy candidate

Ginny Mikita was told she forfeited her United Methodist membership when she got a quick online ordination. Those overseeing her candidacy disagree. Read More

The 2012 Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church is held by an ordained elder. General Conference is expected to debate what church teaches about ministry with gay individuals. Photo illustration by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications

New York board welcomes gay clergy candidates

The announcement comes soon after another conference board recommended a married lesbian as a provisional deacon. Read More

Manila Area Bishop Rodolfo Juan holds a sign calling on The United Methodist Church to address how to be in ministry with LGBTQ persons. Juan took part in a Feb. 8, 2016 forum at the Central United Methodist Church in Manila, Philippines. Photo courtesy of the Rev Israel Alvaran

Filipino United Methodists hold sexuality dialogue

Filipino United Methodists discuss what it means to be in ministry with those who identify as LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning). Read More

Stanislas Kassongo (left) takes part in a panel discussion during the pre-General Conference briefing in Portland, Ore. Kassongo is a delegate to the 2016 United Methodist General Conference from the Central Congo Episcopal Area. Isabelle Berger (right) is a French interpreter from the denomination's Board of Global Ministries.

Preview to General Conference debate on homosexuality

Many expect the most passionate debates to be around how the denomination ministers with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Read More

The Rev. Cynthia Meyer stands in front of the Edgerton United Methodist Church in Edgerton, Kansas, where she is lead pastor. She came out to the congregation during her sermon on Jan. 3. Photo courtesy of Reconciling Ministries Network

Complaint filed against Kansas pastor who came out during sermon

The Rev. Cynthia Meyer’s announcement comes in the lead-up to General Conference, where delegates are again expected to debate the church’s stance on homosexuality. Read More

The Rev. Michael Tupper is facing a complaint under the 2012 Book of Discipline. The book states that

Same-sex wedding complaint moves forward

The Rev. Michael Tupper has pitched his tent in the snow and said he plans to camp outside a church official's Marquette, Michigan, office until the complaint against him for... Read More

The Rev. Michael Tupper, who faces a complaint for helping to officiate at a same-sex wedding, has agreed to plead guilty and accept the penalty in the case. He said he wants to shed light on what he sees as unjust church law. Photo illustration by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications

Pastor expects trial for same-sex wedding

The Rev. Michael Tupper has agreed to plead guilty and accept the penalty. He said he wants to shed light on what he sees as unjust church law. Read More

Surveys show United Methodist views on church teachings related to homosexuality before and after the U.S. Supreme Court made same-sex marriage the law of the land.  A UMNS photo illustration with photos by Mike DuBose, Kathleen Barry and Clayton Childers

Poll: Small changes in church homosexuality views

Polls examined United Methodists’ thoughts on homosexuality before and after U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage. Read More

Church leaders say by getting online credentials to officiate at a same-sex wedding, a candidate for ordination forfeited her United Methodist status. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS

Online ordination ends clergy candidacy

Church leaders say by getting online credentials to officiate at a same-sex wedding, a candidate for ordination forfeited her United Methodist status. Read More

Church leaders say by getting online credentials to officiate at a same-sex wedding, a candidate for ordination forfeited her United Methodist status. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS

Agency wants leeway to fight gay teen suicide

Discipleship Ministries is proposing legislation to lift restrictions on church funding with the goal of better helping the church prevent teen suicide. Read More

The Rev. Benjamin David Hutchison addresses supporters at a press conference July 28 outside the Michigan Area bishop’s office in Lansing, Mich. Hutchison, an African Methodist Episcopal pastor, was forced to resign July 13 from Cassopolis United Methodist Church after the district superintendent received a complaint that the pastor was openly gay and in a relationship. Photo courtesy of Reconciling Ministries Network

Protest, complaint follow gay pastor’s removal

United Methodist Bishop Deborah Lieder Kiesey plans to meet Aug. 31 with nine clergy as part of complaint for pastor’s wedding. Read More

The executive board of Boy Scouts of America has ended its ban on gay leaders. But religiously affiliated units still can maintain their own prohibitions. Photo illustration by Mike DuBose, UMNS

Churches can have gay Boy Scout leaders

No local church will be required to accept any volunteer based on the new policy, says United Methodist Men executive. Read More

The Rev. Benjamin David Hutchison stands by the sign of Cassopolis United Methodist Church where he served as pastor for two and a half years. He recently was forced to resign from his post at the church against the congregation's wishes. Photo courtesy of Benjamin David Hutchison

Gay pastor’s removal brings sadness, defiance

United Methodist clergy are now facing complaints for officiating at the pastor’s same-sex wedding in violation of church law. Read More

Dozens of demonstrators demanding a more inclusive church took over the floor of a May 3 session of the 2012 United Methodist General Conference in Tampa, Fla. They held Communion around the center table and sang songs, causing the presiding bishop to suspend the morning session. 2012 file photo by Paul Jeffrey, UMNS

Annual meetings stir human sexuality debates

U.S. United Methodist conferences take different positions on church’s long-standing laws on same-sex marriages. Read More

A wedding band rests on the Cross and Flame insignia of the 2012 Book of Discipline. United Methodist bishops seek to offer clarity after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage legal across the United States. Photo illustration by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

Bishops offer advice after gay marriage ruling

Conducting a same-sex marriage violates church law, but many bishops say there are ways clergy can be in ministry with same-gender couples. Read More

Many United Methodists agree that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage likely will fuel a longtime denominational debate on the church's position on homosexuality. File photo by Clayton Childers, United Methodist Board of Church and Society

Same-sex marriage ruling adds to church debate

Some expect the Supreme Court decision striking state bans on same-sex marriage to affect discussion at next year’s General Conference. Read More

The Rev. Stephen Heiss says the dismissal of the complaint against him comes without any demands. Photo courtesy of Reconciling Ministries Network

Complaint ends against Upper New York pastor

The Rev. Stephen Heiss faced a complaint for officiating at same-sex weddings. Read More

The Rev. Kennetha J. Bigham-Tsai explains that a piece of legislation is in line with the Connectional Table’s mandate in the Book of Discipline to address “emerging issues.” Photo by Kathleen Barry, UMNS

Church body seeks greater openness on human sexuality

Under proposed legislation, pastors could perform same-gender weddings and conferences could have openly gay clergy. Read More

An alternative process for legislation related to the denomination’s stance on homosexuality is aimed at fostering more open dialogue. Demonstrations in support of full inclusion of gays and lesbians in the life of church were held at the 2012 General Conference. A file photo by Kathleen Barry, UMNS

Alternative process offered for sexuality debate

The Commission on General Conference hopes to foster more open dialogue and bring out the ‘middle voices’ that often go unheard. Read More

Protesters carry signs outside Foundry United Methodist Church on April 26.

Gay marriage opponents protest at United Methodist church

Foundry United Methodist Church supports same-sex marriage and invites all to worship with them. Read More

(From left) Bishops Thomas Bickerton, Peggy Johnson and Jeremiah Park.

Pennsylvania bishops support Non-Discrimination Act

United Methodist bishops Peggy Johnson, Jeremiah Park and Thomas J. Bickerton are asking lawmakers for protection against discrimination to all people, including gay and transgender people. Read More

Dozens of demonstrators demanding a more inclusive church took over the floor of a May 3 session of the 2012 United Methodist General Conference in Tampa, Florida. They held communion around the center table and sang songs, causing the presiding bishop to suspend the morning session. Photo by Paul Jeffrey, UMNS

How should General Conference discuss sexuality?

The Commission on General Conference meets behind closed doors with advocacy groups to discuss alternatives for handling contentious debate on sexuality. Read More

Members of First United Methodist Church Stryker talk with Sandy Martin, a resident of Eureka Springs, Ark., who came to the Jesus Parade. From left, Suzie Bell, Peggy Way and Kim Stryker.

United Methodist church disinvited to Easter parade

Church members stand on the sidelines and cheer despite exclusion from the annual Jesus Parade in Eureka Springs. Read More

Sarah and DeLyn Celec are joined in marriage, officiated in October 2014, by the Rev. John D. Copenhaver Jr. The wedding was held at Jim Barnett Park in Winchester, Va. Resolutions of complaints against Copenhaver and the Rev. Amanda Miller Garber, have been reached after they officiated at separate same-sex weddings. 2014 file photo courtesy of the Celecs.

2 clergy face suspensions for performing same-sex weddings

The penalties mark a departure from recent resolutions against clergy who officiated at ceremonies celebrating same-sex gender couples. Read More

Connectional Table members spoke in small groups about different legislative approaches to the denomination's sexuality debate during their meeting in Maputo, Mozambique. Pictured from far left are Monalisa Tuitahi, the Rev. Kennetha Bigham-Tsai (standing), Bishop Minerva Carcaño, the Rev. Tamara Brown, the Rev. Ole Birch, the Rev. Harald Rückert and Josephine Deere. Photo by Heather Hahn, UMNS

Church body proposes more open stance on homosexuality

Connectional Table is moving forward on a proposal to remove “prohibitive language” in church law and allow openly gay clergy. Read More

The Connectional Table held a  panel on human sexuality on Feb. 10, 2015 in Maputo, Mozambique. From left are Nordic and Baltic Bishop Christian Alsted, the Rev. Israel Alvaran of the Philippines and the Rev. Nday Bondo, a lecturer at Africa University. Photo by Andrew Jensen, United Methodist Communications.

Sexuality panel displays church’s global variation

Church leaders from outside the U.S. express views as broad as the globe itself on the denomination’s ban on gay practice. Read More

Church leaders say by getting online credentials to officiate at a same-sex wedding, a candidate for ordination forfeited her United Methodist status. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS

Ire, joy follow resolution of bishop complaint

After similar resolutions of same-sex union cases, some United Methodists are working to ensure penalties in the future. Read More

United Methodist Bishop Melvin Talbert (center) blesses the union of  Joe Openshaw (left) and Bobby Prince at Covenant Community United Church of Christ in Center Point, Ala. Photo by Laura Rossbert, Reconciling Ministries Network

Complaint against Bishop Talbert resolved

The just resolution, agreed to by all parties, means Talbert will not face a church trial after blessing the union of two men. Read More

Green Street Church's pastor is facing a complaint for not officiating at a same-sex wedding. The Rev. Kelly Carpenter is sympathetic to the couple filing the complaint. He sees the church's inclusion as key to its growth. Photo courtesy of Green Street Church

Gay couple files complaint for refusal of wedding

Pastor facing complaint is sympathetic. He says the church’s call to be in ministry with all contradicts ban on same-sex blessings. Read More

United Methodist Bishop Deborah Kiesey.

Same-sex marriage complaint against Michigan pastors resolved

Two United Methodist pastors will not go to trial for officiating at same-sex unions. Read More

unity photo

Bishops: Pray for us amid sexuality debate

United Methodist bishops statement on human sexuality also commits that they will “be in ministry for and with all people.” Read More

Bishop Gregory V. Palmer, second from right, speaks during a webcast on human sexuality. At his left are the Rev. Amy Valdez Barker and Neil Alexander. At his right is Bishop Hope Morgan Ward. Photo by Harry Leake, United Methodist Communications

Church sexuality panel views mother’s video

A church panel tackled struggles of gay and lesbian members and questions of how the denomination lives together amid the debate over sexuality. Read More

United Methodist leaders, including seven bishops, will join in a panel discussion on human sexuality on Saturday, Nov. 1. They are all contributors to the book “Finding Our Way.” Pictured clockwise from left are Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, Bishop Melvin G. Talbert, Bishop J. Michael Lowry,  Bishop Hope Morgan Ward, Neil M. Alexander and Bishop John K. Yambasu. Photos courtesy of the Council of Bishops

Panel aims to spur conversation on sexuality

The expansion of same-gender civil marriage in the U.S. has people buzzing, but church leaders say more United Methodists need to join church discussion. Read More

Clergy and faith leaders gather outside Arch Street United Methodist Church in Philadelphia in support of  Richard Taylor and William Gatewood (at top of stairs in doorway) following their Nov. 9, 2013 wedding

Agreement resolves same-sex union complaint

A complaint against 36 pastors who officiated at a same-sex union has been resolved by agreement. Read More