The General Conference of The United Methodist Church has shut down the plenary hall to everyone except delegates. A petition that would acknowledge the honesty that faithful United Methodists disagree on the place of LGBT people in the church was defeated.
In response, LGBT people and their supporters sang and served communion to all. The presiding bishop, Michael Coyner of the Indiana Conference, cited the LGBT advocates as a “security concern” and source of confusion. He broke the plenary session for lunch and announced that only delegates would be allowed back into the hall at the end of the lunch break.
Bishop Coyner was challenged by Steven Drachler, a lay delegate of Susquehanna Conference and former staff person for United Methodist Communications. “By what authority do you have to close the session of the general conference to visitors and spectators?”
Bishop Coyner stated that the decision came from the Conference Secretary and that authority came from those who are housing the general conference. Advocates for full inclusion remained in the room, singing, while the lights were shut off around them.