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1,831 United Methodist Churches Have Left Denomination over LGBT Issue: Report

More than 1,800 United Methodist churches in the United States have left the denomination since 2019 over disagreements about the body’s stance on LGBT issues, according to new data.

The report from the denomination’s General Council on Finance and Administration revealed that 1,831 churches representing 400,000 members have left the United Methodist Church. The majority of the churches that have left – 1,583 – are from the Southeastern and South Central regions. Religion News Service (RNS) first reported on the data.

All total, the 1,831 churches comprise 6.1 percent of the United Methodist Churches’ 30,000 congregations, RNS said.

Under an exit plan, UMC churches have until Dec. 31 to leave. Many of the churches are joining the Global Methodist Church, a new denomination launched last in May of last year by conservative Methodists.

The Global Methodist Church said this month it had welcomed 1,100 churches and 1,200 clergy members since its launch.

“The GM Church’s primary focus is on its mission – to make disciples of Jesus Christ who worship passionately, love extravagantly, and witness boldly,” the new denomination said this month. “It is a Church that intentionally empowers local congregations to have maximum discretion in the way they organize and deploy resources for ministry.”

The Global Methodist Church’s Book of Doctrines and Discipline defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

“We believe that human sexuality is a gift of God that is to be affirmed as it is exercised within the legal and spiritual covenant of a loving and monogamous marriage between one man and one woman,” the book says.

On sexuality and gender, the book says, “While affirming a scriptural view of sexuality and gender, we welcome all to experience the redemptive grace of Jesus and are committed to being a safe place of refuge, hospitality, and healing for any who may have experienced brokenness in their sexual lives (Genesis 1:27, Genesis 2:24, 1 Corinthians 6:9-20).”

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Drew Buzz  

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.


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