More than 250 churches in North Georgia are due to leave the United Methodist Church (UMC), adding to thousands disaffiliating across the US 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 officially forbids the weddings or ordinations of “self-avowed, practicing homosexuals”, the denomination appointed its first bishop in a same-sex marriage in 2016.
This year, an estimated 5,281 congregations across the US have already been granted permission to leave the denomination – nearly 250 per cent higher than 2022.
According to United Methodist News, almost 25 per cent of the United Methodist’s 30,000 congregations have been permitted to disaffiliate since 2019.
Many are joining the Global Methodist Church, which states 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 2023 North Georgia Annual Conference has now voted to allow another 261 congregations (37 per cent) to disaffiliate from the denomination. Approximately 440 churches remain.
In 2021, the governing body of the Methodist Church in Great Britain voted to redefine marriage, conduct same-sex weddings and affirm cohabitation.
Representatives at the church’s annual Conference consented “in principle to the marriage of same-sex couples” by 254 votes to 46. The Conference also endorsed “informal cohabitation”, equating it to marriage.
But Sam McBratney, Chairman of the pro-LGBT lobby group Dignity and Worth, confirmed that ministers in the denomination would still be able to preach faithfully on biblical sexual ethics.