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The inside view of a church with pews on either side

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In 2019, the United Methodist Church (UMC) approved an exit plan for churches who disapproved of the denomination’s beliefs about sexuality. The mass exit has resulted in about six percent of its members, mostly in the south, leaving, according to a recent report in Christianity Today. The General Council on Finance and Administration of the UMC says the percentage equals about eighteen hundred thirty-one congregations out of thirty thousand congregations in the U.S.  Churches that disaffiliate are allowed to take their property after they pay apportionments and pension liabilities. Some of the churches are choosing to involve civil courts about the separation plan. United Methodist Bishops are reporting that misinformation from conservative groups is influencing the decision of churches to disaffiliate. Conservatives in the denomination have created the Global Methodist Church and their leaders say that they will never ordain or marry LGBTQ people.

The breakup of the UMC has resulted in less churches leaving than anticipated.  Hope Morgan Ward, a retired bishop of the North Carolina UMC conference says, “some are leaving but the number of churches and members moving forward is far larger.”

Permission for churches to disaffiliate was granted four years ago and ministries have until December 31st of this year to decide.