261 Georgia Congregations to split from Methodist church after LGBTQ+ divide
The North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church voted to allow 261 congregations to break from the denomination over theological differences and the role of LGBTQ+ people in the church.
On Nov. 18, the conference ratified the disaffiliation requests from the congregations during a special session. The exit marked a “solemn day,” the North Georgia Conference of the UMC said in a news release. More than 100 congregations sued the North Georgia Conference for the right to have their disaffiliation requests heard. A Cobb County judge agreed “a church-level” vote must occur before the deadline.
“I realize how sad this time is for many, including myself,” said Bishop Robin Dease, the leader of the conference. “I just hate that those who are leaving us, I will not have the opportunity to meet or to be with.”
The churches are breaking from the UMC after a 2019 decision made by the National United Methodist Church. The decision allows congregations to leave by the end of 2023, “for reasons of conscience regarding a change in the requirements and provisions of the Book of Discipline related to the practice of homosexuality or the ordination or marriage of self-avowed practicing homosexuals.”
7,286 congregations, mostly from the South and the Midwest, have received approval to disaffiliate since 2019, according to the unofficial tally by the United Methodist News Service. More than 5,000 disaffiliations occurred this year.
The conservative churches launched the Global Methodist Church in May 2022.