The United Methodist Church announced that its top legislative body will hold a special session in order to determine what stance the mainline denomination will hold on homosexuality.
For the past several years, UMC has seen much internal debate over its official position against homosexuality, gay marriage, and ordination for those involved in same-sex relationships.
In a letter to its annual conferences written on Monday, UMC's Council of Bishops announced that the special session of General Conference will take place Feb. 23-26, 2019, in St. Louis, Missouri.
"The purpose of this special session of the General Conference shall be limited to receiving and acting upon a report from the Council of Bishops based on the recommendations of the Commission on a Way Forward," the council explained in the letter.
"The Council of Bishops encourages the entire church to continue in deep, unceasing prayer for Holy Spirit breakthroughs for the Commission on a Way Forward and the special session of General Conference."
John Lomperis, delegate at the 2016 General Conference and member of the theologically conservative Institute on Religion & Democracy, told CP that he was "glad we will finally have time to address the issues we put off in 2016."
"Time and again, we have shown that the votes are simply not there to liberalize the Discipline's biblical standards on sexual self-control — no matter how much political organizing, money, and dishonest rhetoric about 'compromise' gets thrown into liberal efforts," said Lomperis.