TYLER, Texas (KETK) — This spring, some congregations started questioning if they should disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church after the Global Methodist Church denomination was created.
Lanes Chapel United Methodist Church made its decision in August.
“We will be disaffiliating from the United Methodist Church at the end of the year,” said Senior Pastor at Lanes Chapel United Methodist Church, Jeff Gage.
He explained the reason for their vote.
“It’s not the denominational structure that troubles us. It’s what’s happening across the denomination that is contrary to what we see as solid biblical teaching,” added Gage.
One of those beliefs has to do with homosexuality.
“Part of this discussion is homosexual marriage. And there are many who want to celebrate homosexual marriage within our churches and that pastors will officiate in those services, but for those of us for whom we see that that is not a marriage blessed by God, we know we’re not going to do that,” explained Gage.
Discussions will continue for years before any changes are made within the UMC, but many are already leaving before that.
“There’s always going to be misinformation out there. Currently, the UMC is not changing any of its doctrine or policies until a vote is taken at the next general conference which will not be held until 2024,” said Senior Pastor of Fairwood United Methodist Church, Reverend Kimberly Carney.
Fairwood United Methodist Church in Tyler says they are drawn to stay in the UMC, at least for the time being.
“Now I think we as Fairwood United Methodist are living into the call of being in a United Methodist Church because we love what it stands for,” added Carney.
Whether choosing to stay or leave the UMC, both churches said their hearts break over this division.
“I wept, openly before my church because I knew we had to do it but I hated to see it happen,” said Gage.
“My heart breaks for those colleagues that have chosen to leave and for those other congregations to leave,” said Carney.
Lanes Chapel will vote on Nov. 13 to either remain independent or join the Global Methodist Church; a denomination based on conservative Methodist teachings.
It was launched this year, and it’s where some congregations are choosing to go next.