Institute on Religion & Democracy Media Advisory
Contact: Jeff Walton: 202-413-5639, jwalton@TheIRD.org
St. Louis, MO—The Institute on Religion and Democracy is sending a team led by UMAction Director John Lomperis to the 2019 specially called General Conference of the United Methodist Church.
This historic gathering of the UMC’s top governing body may potentially make decisions that would result in a major global split of the denomination.
The United Methodist Church is the second-largest Protestant denomination in the United States, but has a global membership of more than 12 million members in the United States, Africa, Europe, and the Philippines.
The denomination’s longstanding official standards are that all people are welcome in its churches, while also teaching that marriage is only between one man and one woman.
However, there have been growing tensions over liberal bishops and other church officials violating rules forbidding same-sex union ceremonies and “self-avowed practicing homosexual” clergy.
The 2019 special session of General Conference is tasked with deciding between competing proposals to either liberalize church teaching on sexual morality, or uphold current standards and increase accountability.
IRD/UMAction supports the Modified Traditional Plan, which maintains the denomination’s traditional biblical standards, requires discipline when clergy violate related rules, and offers “gracious exits” for congregations and regions who feel they can no longer respect the denomination’s standards.
UMAction is accountable to its Steering Committee and Advisory Board, composed of faithful United Methodist clergy and laity.
What: General Conference of the United Methodist Church
Who: 864 Delegates of the United Methodist Church
Where: America’s Center Convention Complex, St. Louis, Missouri
When: Saturday, February 23 through Tuesday, February 26
Available for Interviews:
John Lomperis—Director, The United Methodist committee (UMAction) of the Institute on Religion & Democracy. John is the editor of UMAction Briefing and an elected delegate from the Indiana Annual Conference to General Conference. Lomperis earned his bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies from the University of Chicago, and has an M.Div from Harvard University.
Mark Tooley—President, The Institute on Religion & Democracy. Mark is a lifelong member of the United Methodist Church and author of Taking Back the United Methodist Church. Among the publications that have published his articles are The Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Religion News Service, The American Spectator, The Stream, National Review, and The Washington Times.