More than 6,000 churches in the US are expected to leave the United Methodist Church (UMC) over moves away from biblical sexual ethics.
In 2019, the UMC gave congregations a four-year window to depart as pressure grew to allow homosexual clergy and same-sex weddings.
Although church law still officially forbids the weddings or ordinations of “self-avowed, practicing homosexuals”, the denomination appointed its first bishop in a same-sex marriage in 2016 and recently appointed Bishop Cedrick Bridgeforth, who is also in a same-sex marriage.
Some remaining members of the denomination are expected to propose abandoning biblical sexual ethics at the next General Conference in 2024.
According to United Methodist News, 4,172 congregations have already been granted permission to leave this year – over 170 per cent higher than 2022.
The majority are joining the Global Methodist Church, while others are remaining independent or becoming part of other denominations.
Earlier this year, Church of England Evangelicals urged its bishops to heed the “sense of grief, dismay and betrayal” expressed by Anglicans across the world at the leadership’s vote to bless individuals in same-sex partnerships.
The Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC) made the remarks following GAFCON IV, where over 1,300 Anglicans from 52 countries met to discuss their response to the CofE’s leadership’s rejection of biblical sexual ethics.
The CEEC urged bishops to “step back from the brink” to explore a “structural re-organisation without theological compromise”.