Above photo: The Rev. Will Green (center) leads the singing of "Jesus Remember Me When You Come Into Your Kingdom" at the "Queer Prayer Station" during the Feb. 23 morning of prayer at the 2019 Special Session of the United Methodist General Conference in St. Louis. Photo by Kathleen Barry, UMNS.
United Methodist representatives at the faith's international conference on Monday rejected an effort in committee to allow LGBTQ clergy and same-sex marriages.
Committee members rejected two separate plans following an extensive workshop Monday, according to the USA Today Network. The lack of resolution threatens to split the international denomination into two groups, one LGBTQ-affirming, the other not.
Church leaders have been meeting over the past week in St. Louis to discuss potential changes. But more than half of delegates supported a ban on clergy in a close vote. The church boasts 7 million U.S. members and 12.6 million members worldwide, according to the Associated Press.
J.J. Warren, an out Methodist student in New York, testified to delegates that he wants to become a pastor but cannot under the current ban.
"I want to be a pastor in the Methodist church because I love our tradition," he said.
Warren also told delegates the ban threatens a future where fewer young people want an association with the faith.
"They didn't know God could love them, because their churches said God didn't. So if we can be a church which brings Jesus to people who are told they can't be loved, that's what I want our church to be."