The North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church voted Saturday to accept the decision of 261 congregations to leave the denomination over a divide on LGBTQ issues. “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 by the national United Methodist Church to allow 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.”
Des Moines’ NBC affiliate reports:
Nearly 60 Iowa churches are parting ways with the United Methodist Church. In a special session, the Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church approved disaffiliation agreements with 59 churches who asked to leave The United Methodist Church.
The churches follow 83 others who left the United Methodist Church for similar reasons earlier this year.
The disaffiliation process is outlined in Paragraph 2553 of the Book of Discipline, which is the rule book for the United Methodist Church. The exit agreement for all the churches cites homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
The departing churches will no longer be allowed to use “United Methodist” in their names.
Hundreds of churches leave the United Methodist Denomination over LBGTQ policies https://t.co/TnM178HQg4
— The Messenger (@TheMessenger) November 19, 2023
#BREAKING: The North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church voted Saturday to allow hundreds of its churches to split from the denomination due to an ideological divide over LGBTQ issues. https://t.co/9MFUjd1rMj
— Atlanta Journal-Constitution (@ajc) November 18, 2023
A large gay pride banner was ripped off the side of a church in Bethesda.
“It was like a punch in the stomach,” said children’s minister Dennis Williams of Bethesda United Methodist Church on Old Georgetown Road. https://t.co/FhSBLnpdI0
— WTOP (@WTOP) November 14, 2023
The United Methodist Church conference in north Georgia has allowed 261 congregations to cut ties after years of disagreement over the ban on gay clergy and same-sex marriage.https://t.co/M0Ekjt0Hma
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) November 19, 2023