Delegates to the Baltimore- Washington Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church will vote on resolutions ranging from Israel divestment to how the church addresses homosexuality, starting on Thursday. The 198,000- member conference, the oldest in United Methodism, covers nearly 700 churches in Washington, D.C., Central and Western Maryland and the West Virginia Panhandle.
The Middle-East resolution calls for "phased, selective divestment as a means of ending [Israel's] military occupation" of Palestinian territory and asks the United Methodist pensions board to divest from any multinational corporations "profiting from the occupation." One endorser is ethicist J. Philip Wogaman, former pastor to Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Another resolution would urge striking the language from the United Methodist Book of Discipline that says, "The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching." If passed, the proposal will go before the 2008 General Conference of the United Methodist Church, which meets next May in Fort Worth, Texas.
Additionally, a closed session of the clergy will discuss the situation of the former Rev. Ann Gordon, a United Methodist minister in Baltimore who now reportedly professes a male identity as Rev. Drew Phoenix.