Remember the other night when I mentioned my upbringing in the First United Methodist Church in Mt Holly? Well, my cousin (BPs drummer Mark) called me up Sunday with some welcome news: FUMC-Mt Holly had voted overwhelmingly that day to disaffiliate with the FUMC convocation, either to join the Global Methodist Church or go fully independent. This coming Sunday, Mt Holly Methodists will be holding a vote to decide on which way to jump.
Given events over the last several years, I had been waiting to see whether they’d make the leap or not, and hoping that they would. The FUMC has always been a fairly liberal-oriented denomination—even as far back as about 1978 or so, my dad went to our pastor to demand that his tithing money stay strictly with our local church, that he didn’t want one thin dime of it going to the national organization because of its ever-farther and faster Leftward drift—but things have gotten bad enough over the last ten years or so that a breakaway movement has begun to find its feet.
The initial departures, mostly concentrated in the South, represent around 6 percent of the denomination—not as dramatic as the “schism” some feared.
Nearly four years ago, the United Methodist Church approved an exit plan for churches wishing to break away from the global denomination over differing beliefs about sexuality, setting in motion what many believed would be a modern-day schism.
Since then, a new analysis has found, it’s fallen well short of that.
That analysis of data collected by the church’s General Council on Finance and Administration shows 6.1 percent of United Methodist churches in the US—1,831 congregations out of 30,000 nationwide—have been granted permission to disaffiliate since 2019. There are no good figures for international departures among the estimated 12,000 United Methodist churches abroad.
The denomination’s disaffiliation plan gives churches until December 31 to cut ties, and many have already made known their desire to leave. Those churches can take their properties with them after paying apportionments and pension liabilities. Others are forcing the issue through civil courts.
The 1,831 church departures come as United Methodist bishops say they’re battling misinformation from conservative groups that encourage churches to leave the denomination for the newly formed Global Methodist Church, which has declared it will never ordain or marry LGBTQ people—the crux of the conflict.
In turn, the Global Methodist Church and groups like the Wesleyan Covenant Association, a network of theologically conservative churches, argue that the denomination’s regional conferences are making it prohibitively hard for churches to leave.
The FUMC’ers in Mt Holly, being of a more conservative bent, had long been dismayed over the parent organization’s dismal shift towards godless-Left libertinism, which has resulted in this sort of abomination:
Drag queen pastor delivers a sermon at a Methodist church. What in the world? pic.twitter.com/NXJJl9cq3T
— Catch Up (@CatchUpNetwork)
Yeah, small-town Christian folk in the South are really gonna go for that. Heartfelt kudos for the Methodists who have shown the gumption to finally tell TPTB, “Enough, no more, we’re out.” It’s about damned time, and I hope to see a lot more of it.