The United Methodist Church General Conference convenes once every four years to make policy decisions and set the direction for the denomination. Beginning Tuesday (May 10), 864 delegates, half of them clergy, will converge on the Oregon Convention Center in Portland for 10 days for the General Conference. More than 40 percent of those delegates will come from outside the U.S. They’ll consider 1,043 proposals listed in the conference’s legislation tracking system.

The United Methodist News Service tallied up more than 100 petitions alone on sexuality. Several plans have been proposed to streamline all that legislation, including “The Simple Plan” supported by the Reconciling Ministries Network. That plan would change six paragraphs in the denomination’s Book of Discipline that forbid clergy from marrying same-sex couples or and regional conferences from ordaining LGBT clergy. The denomination’s Book of Discipline calls the practice of homosexuality “incompatible with Christian teaching.” READ MORE