Eric Folkerth

The General Convention of the United Methodist Church voted down any new acceptance or equality of its gay and lesbian members.

While still the largest mainline Christian denomination in the United States, the number of Methodists is shrinking in this country and growing overseas. About 40 percent of the delegates to the convention taking place in Tampa were conservatives from Asia and Africa.

Gay and lesbian Methodists as well as allies would like to remove a line from the Book of Discipline that says, “The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.”

At their quadrennial conference, two agree-to-disagree proposals were voted down.

One would have changed the Book of Discipline to say gays and lesbians are “people of sacred worth” and that church members differ about whether homosexual practice is contrary to God’s will.

That was voted down 54–46 percent.

Another proposal was voted down 61–39 percent. That one would have acknowledged limited understanding of human sexuality and refrained from judgement of gays and lesbians.

Eric Folkerth at Northaven UMC, the Methodist church with the longest history of welcoming the LGBT community in Dallas, was unavailable for comment today, but previously told Dallas Voice, “After the last conference, we lost members,” and he’s bracing for that again.