United Methodist Church

Adama Brown-Hathasway, left, The Rev. Dr. Jay Williams, both from Boston, and Ric Holladay of Kentucky join in prayer during the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church in St. Louis, Mo., Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019. America's second-largest Protestant denomination faces a likely fracture as delegates at the crucial meeting move to strengthen bans on same-sex marriage and ordination of LGBT clergy. (AP Photo/Sid Hastings)

With the United Methodist Church's decision to maintain bans on same-sex weddings and the ordination of LGBT clergy, state and local church leaders say they will move forward relying on God and practicing Christian love.

Gerry Giles, executive pastor at Tyler's Marvin United Methodist Church, said he does not anticipate any significant changes to the church's rules and position on ordination and marriage after the specially called General Conference's vote. 

"We acknowledge that there are undoubtedly people who are happy while others are disappointed by the vote," a news release from Marvin United Methodist Church reads. "As we lean into God at this time, may we remember that all people are of sacred worth, created in the image of God. May we continue to be guided by Jesus’ command to love one another.”

The three-day international General Conference in St. Louis ended Tuesday with a vote to approve the Traditional Plan, which calls for keeping the LGBT bans and enforcing them more strictly.

The Rev. Buddy Powell of St. Paul's United Methodist Church said he is not stressed about the decision.  

He said the United Methodist Church is connected under one body and the conference speaks for all the churches.  

"Every conference is there from all around the world," he said. "Delegates are selected and they go and decide. They vote and they pray." 

Bishop Scott Jones, the resident bishop of the Texas Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church also released a statement Tuesday regarding the decision to pass the Traditional Plan. 

“Today, more than 800 worldwide General Conference delegates affirmed the Traditional Plan as The Way Forward for The United Methodist Church," the statement reads. "This decision resolves a long-standing debate about how we can best accomplish our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world."

The statement said Tuesday's decision is consistent with the denomination’s historic stance on human sexuality outlined in The Book of Discipline since 1972.

"As we move forward, we are still the same United Methodist Church," the statement reads. "Our views on same-sex marriage have not changed. We will continue to welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer persons to our churches and affirm their sacred worth."

Jones' went on to say that he prays the denomination can now move forward, working with each other in the spirit of Christian love and joining together as one.

"We are stronger together in serving God’s mission as a diverse body of Christ," the statement reads. 

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I started working at the Tyler Morning Telegraph in June 2016. I am a retired U.S. Air Force Sr. Master Sergeant. After a 21-year military career, in Security Forces, the military police of the Air Force, I went back to college and studied journalism.