People react to the defeat of a proposal that would allow LGBT clergy and same-sex marriage within the United Methodist Church at the denomination’s Special Session of the General Conference in St. Louis on Feb. 26. (Sid Hastings/AP)

Regarding the Feb. 28 news article “After contentious LGBT vote, Methodists mull next steps”:

As members of a United Methodist congregation, I and many of my fellow congregants are distressed by the decision of the General Conference to forbid same-sex marriage and exclude LGBT clergy. We believe God loves and treasures us all. The diversity of humankind is God’s holy creation, and we believe God sees that creation as good. We reject the idea that because of the nature of their love for others, some people are outside the love and acceptance of God or should be excluded from the full grace of God offered through blessing of marriage and ordination into leadership of God’s church.

We believe this act of exclusion against part of God’s people, recalling earlier exclusions of women and minorities, is contrary to the spirit of the Christian scriptures and to the principle of love that underlies all of Christianity.

William D. Phillips, Gaithersburg

As a lifelong Methodist who recently left the church after 75 years because of the church’s stance on LGBTQ issues, I read with interest the coverage of the Methodist Church’s stunning actions taken late last month in St. Louis [“Methodists stay opposed to LGBT nuptials, clergy,” news, Feb. 27].

My wife and I are summer residents of the Chautauqua Institution in upstate New York. Chautauqua was founded by Methodists in 1874 as a place to train Sunday school teachers. Today it is one of the most spiritually vibrant and welcoming places in the United States. It welcomes members of all major Protestant denominations, plus members of the Catholic, Jewish and Muslim faiths; people of all sexual orientations and gender identification are welcomed, as well.

How ironic that such a sacred place, started and nurtured for decades by Methodists, has become so open and diverse, while the church itself is one of the few institutions in the United States moving rapidly backward in its willingness to embrace all people equally.

Don E. Blom, Midlothian, Va.

Hannah Adair Bonner, a self-described “queer pastor,” wrote about her disappointment in the Methodist General Conference’s recent reaffirmation of a ban on gay marriage and clergy in her March 3 Outlook essay, “LGBTQ clergy begged Methodist leaders to love us. They said no.” The Bible says that homosexuality is wrong. Why do you expect the church to say anything different?

Katalin H. Korossy, Kensington