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May 11, 2000 GC-058

Delegates reject program to help people leave homosexuality

CLEVELAND (UMNS) – United Methodists declined May 10 to support a request that would have established a specific denominational program aimed at "persons who seek to leave or not start the practice of homosexuality."

The vote came during the May 2-12 meeting of General Conference, the denomination’s highest legislative body.

By a 78 percent vote, delegates approved a committee recommendation not to support the petition, which would have directed the United Methodist Board of Discipleship to create and implement the program.

In another action on the homosexuality issue, delegates tabled a petition that would move the prohibition against pastors performing same-sex union ceremonies from the church’s Social Principles, contained in the Book of Discipline, to the section on special provisions for ordained ministry. The petition, which had gone to the Higher Education Committee, will be held until similar petitions from the Faith and Order Committee can be presented.

Other actions included:

Affirming the "Igniting Ministry" media campaign -- presented by United Methodist Communications as a way to increase awareness and recognition of the church – and supporting funding for such a campaign;

Supporting implementation of recommendations from the Asian American Language Ministry Study;

Agreeing that new systems should be developed and implemented to assure pay equity in the general agencies of the United Methodist Church;

Tabling a petition regarding raising money for church growth and the United Methodist seminary in Russia until the report from Higher Education is presented.

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--Linda Bloom

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