The United Methodist Church has pushed back its General Conference to Aug. 29-Sept. 7, 2021, at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis.

And it’s looking into ways to use technology to ensure delegates can participate in the quadrennial meeting, according to the Commission on the General Conference.

The General Conference — during which delegates from across the globe are expected to discuss a proposal to split the denomination over the inclusion of LGBTQ members — had been set for earlier this month in Minneapolis. It was postponed in March when the convention center announced it was restricting events at the venue to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“We’re grateful that we were able to secure new dates while keeping the site of the General Conference in Minneapolis. Nearly seven years of preplanning and preparations by the host team have gone into this event,” commission leader Kim Simpson said in a written statement.

A group of young delegates had circulated a petition asking the commission to reconsider rescheduling the meeting at the start of the academic year.

The commission “expressed regret” in a statement that it was unable to accommodate that request without losing a substantial amount of money, finding a new meeting location or pushing the event to 2022. It also agreed to gather a group, including young delegates, to explore online voting and recommend other possibilities to the commission.

“Including young adults in the General Conference is always an important consideration,” Simpson said. “We affirm that their voices need to be heard.”