United Methodist Church loses one million members after allowing gay clergy

The largest overseas group of United Methodists has left the church after its international body voted to allow practising homosexual men and women to become ministers.

The United Methodist Church of Ivory Coast (EMUCI), which reportedly has over one million members, voted to separate from the wider denomination at the West African country’s annual conference.

Since 2019, over 7,600 US congregations have left the United Methodist Church (UMC) over biblical sexual ethics. Despite church law at the time, the denomination appointed its first bishop in a same-sex marriage in 2016 followed by another in 2022.


The EMUCI accused the denomination of “deviating from the Holy Scriptures” and “sacrificing its honor and integrity to honor the LGBTQ community”.

The group said it was compelled to leave for “reasons of conscience before God and His word, the supreme authority in matters of faith and life”.

Bishop Benjamin Boni, who is President of EMUCI, added: “The United Methodist Church now rests on socio-cultural values that have consumed its doctrinal and disciplinary integrity.”

Same-sex weddings

Last month, the UMC’s General Conference voted by 692 to 51 to remove the prohibition against “self-avowed practicing” homosexual clergy as part of wider proposals approved without debate.

In a separate vote of 523 to 161, the denomination ditched its declaration that the “practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching”.

The General Conference has now redefined marriage as a covenant between an “adult man and adult woman of consenting age or two adult persons of consenting age”, and district church leaders can no longer forbid a church in their area from hosting same-sex weddings.

Where previously UMC churches were prohibited from using funds to “promote the acceptance of homosexuality”, they will now be banned from funding initiatives deemed to “reject any LGBTQIA+ person or openly discriminate against LGBTQIA+ people”.


Also see:

Methodist Church brands terms ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ offensive

CofE allows same-sex partners to be blessed in Sunday services

Jayne Ozanne: ‘Repentance unnecessary for salvation’