Dozens of Georgia churches split from United Methodist Church over LGBTQ issues

 

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Seventy churches in Georgia split from the United Methodist Church (UMC) final week largely over LGBTQ issues, marking the latest in a rising divide throughout the third-largest Protestant denomination within the United States.

The North Georgia Conference voted final Thursday to permit the churches, most of which had been in rural areas, to disaffiliate from the UMC. The course of for disaffiliation was laid out by the 2019 General Conference of The United Methodist Church by means of 2023, in keeping with the North Georgia United Methodist Church Conference web site.

In 2021, the Board of Trustees adopted a course of and, together with District Superintendents, walked alongside the churches that requested to disaffiliate. The convention established ratification by the Annual Conference as the ultimate step in that course of.

During a particular session in 2019, the UMC adopted a disaffiliation settlement permitting churches to go away the denomination by means of the top of 2023 “for causes of conscience concerning a change within the necessities and provisions of the Book of Discipline associated to the observe of homosexuality or the ordination or marriage of self-avowed working towards homosexuals as resolved and adopted by the 2019 General Conference, or the actions or inactions of its annual convention associated to those issues which comply with.”

UNITED METHODIST CHURCH ANNOUNCES PROPOSAL TO SPLIT OVER LGBTQ RIGHTS

In this April 19, 2019 file picture, a homosexual satisfaction rainbow flag flies together with the U.S. flag in entrance of the Asbury United Methodist Church in Prairie Village, Kansas.
(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

The 70 churches that selected to disaffiliate characterize 9% of the congregations within the Conference and three% of the membership, in keeping with the denomination. The date of disaffiliation will likely be efficient June 30, 2022.

After the vote, Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson and the members of the Annual Conference supplied prayer for the departing churches, some of which can stay impartial and others of which can dissolve.

UNITED METHODISTS EDGE TOWARD BREAKUP OVER LGBT POLICIES

The First United Methodist Church in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA, displays a rainbow decoration to signify that all, including LGBTQ, are welcome.

The First United Methodist Church in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA, shows a rainbow ornament to indicate that every one, together with LGBTQ, are welcome.
(dlewis33 through Getty Images)

“Bless these congregations as they depart,” Haupert-Johnson prayed. “I pray that we’ll be companions in ministry and you’ll do your mighty work of therapeutic division and overcoming rifts.”

“Our denomination has a transparent course of for disaffiliation, and we’re strolling alongside the churches that wish to take this path,” Conference communications director Sybil Davidson stated, in keeping with native WSB-TV. “While we don’t want to see any church disaffiliate, we’re dedicated to a transparent and wholesome course of. Our hearts are with those that want for his or her congregation to stay an element of the denomination, and in addition with those that select to go away.”

An LGBTQ+ flag flies over Union United Methodist Church in the South End of Boston on Jan. 5, 2020.

An LGBTQ+ flag flies over Union United Methodist Church within the South End of Boston on Jan. 5, 2020.
(Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe through Getty Images)

“It is painful when now we have division within the church. We pray that, above all, the ministry of all churches will likely be fruitful and serve God nicely. The United Methodist Church will proceed working to be brokers of reconciliation in a divided world,” Davidson added.

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The Methodists hint their roots to 18th-century English evangelist John Wesley, whose followers split from the Church of England following his demise.

 


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