LGBTQ people gather for final demonstration

Where does a LGBTQ person go to church this Sunday?

That was a question posed by Sue Laurie after a large group of LGBTQ people circled the floor of the 2016 General Conference singing, “I am not forgotten, you are not forgotten, God knows your name."

At the end of closing worship, LBGTQ people flooded onto the floor of the conference and laid their stoles on the communion table in a last show of support for each other.

Laurie said the demonstrations were a final chance for LGBTQ people to surround and support each other before everyone leaves General Conference and returns to their local churches.

Susan Laurie, 21 years after answering God’s call to ministry, was unofficially ordained as a United Methodist pastor by a grassroots group of LGBTQ people and supporters at 10:32 a.m. on May 10 inside the Oregon Convention Center.

“Queer people got no justice from this General Conference,” said Jayson Dobney, an advocate for LBGTQ people in The United Methodist Church. “The bishop’s actions were glimmers of hope, but the system has done so much harm. This was an attempt to let them know we are still here.”

General Conference delegates apparently have hit the pause button on the denomination's quadrennial debates related to homosexuality.

Late May 18, the delegates voted to accept the recommendation of the Council of Bishops to delay a debate on homosexuality at this gathering of the denomination’s top legislative assembly and let a proposed commission study church regulations.

Julie Todd, an LGBTQ advocate with Love Prevails, said she feels a strange combination of emotions at the end of this General Conference.

“I am disappointed, but not at all surprised,” she said. “I do not believe The United Methodist Church cares about LBGTQ people or justice of any kind.

“In the end,” she added, “the institution will do what it will to maintain power and the status quo.”

Gilbert is a multimedia news reporter for United Methodist News Service. Contact her at (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

Sign up for our newsletter!

SUBSCRIBE
General Church
A group of centrist, progressive and traditionalist church leaders have come up with a plan for The United Methodist Church to separate amicably into two or more denominations. It's called the Indianapolis Plan, after where the group met. Photo by William Sturgell, courtesy of Pixabay; graphic by UM News.

Group drafts separation plan for denomination

Citing irreconcilable differences over homosexuality, a theologically diverse team of 12 envisions ʻnew expressions’ of United Methodism in a plan for the church’s future.
General Church
Bishop Rodolfo Alfonso “Rudy” Juan, who leads the Davao Area in the southern Philippines, preaches at the Commission on General Conference meeting in Lexington, Ky. Juan expressed disappointment in the decision not to hold the 2024 General Conference in the Philippines. Photo by Heather Hahn, UM News.

Plans canceled for GC2024 in Philippines

The 2024 gathering was expected to be the first time The United Methodist Church’s lawmaking assembly met outside the United States.
General Conference
Spare voting machines rest on a table at the 2019 United Methodist General Conference in St. Louis. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.

Ask The UMC: How are decisions made at General Conference?

General Conference is the highest legislative body in The United Methodist Church. It usually convenes once every four years to determine the denomination’s future direction.