United Methodists, at their General Conference in Fort Worth, Texas, are being urged to reverse the denomination's decades-long decline in membership.
Lyn Powell, a church lay leader from Georgia, told delegates the United Methodist Church has been bleeding membership for years. "The United Methodist Church in the U.S. lost 55,000 members last year, 70,000 the year before that, [and] 60,000 the year before that. In fact, we have lost membership every year since the 1970s," Powell contends.
Meanwhile, transgender Methodists at the conference held a news conference seeking broader acceptance. Among them was Drew Phoenix, who pastors St. John's United Methodist Church in Baltimore. Phoenix was a woman named Ann Gordon before she had a sex-change operation.
Some analysts believe the reason for the declining membership is the abandonment of scriptural teaching on sin within the United Methodist Church.