This month all five of the United Methodist Church’s U.S. jurisdictions individually met to pass measures where “LGBTQIA+ people will be protected, affirmed, and empowered.”
The latest vote from the UMC churches is another way the UMC is moving to become more accepting of LGBTQ people, but it’s a move that is also causing further division in the church, CBN News reports.
According to the United Methodist News Service, so far this year, at least 300 U.S. congregations have chosen to leave the UMC. It’s estimated that hundreds more are in the process of disaffiliating from the denomination.
Many are joining the newly formed Global Methodist Church, a new conservative Methodist denomination. It was started by former conservative leaders from the UMC and follows a stricter doctrine that does not recognize same-sex marriage.
Earlier this month, a Texas megachurch voted to leave the UMC. The Southlake church voted 2,338 in favor of disaffiliation from the UMC, while just 160 voted against it.
“We know that there are those who are disappointed and others who are grieving … and wondering if they can stay connected to White’s Chapel,” the church’s co-pastors, John McKellar and Todd Renner, said in a statement. “If you find yourself in that place this evening, we want to speak to you: Please know that you are welcome here and that you are loved here. And as a church, let us covenant to pray for them and for our entire congregation– that God would lead us to continue sharing the gospel of Jesus with the world.”
Previously, in August, two other Methodist megachurches also voted to disassociate from the UMC because of ongoing division about how the church handles same-sex marriage.
Another 58 churches in Louisiana have also been officially approved to leave the UMC.
There are some 30,000 UMC congregations in the U.S. and another 13,000 abroad, according to recent UMC statistics.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Booky Buggy
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.