ATHENS, Ga. — The North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church voted to allow 261 congregations to secede from the denomination. in the middle of a schism about theological differences and the role of LGBTQ+ people in the church.
The conference ratified congregations’ requests for disaffiliation during a special session Saturday, allowing churches to leave the denomination, media reports. The departure marked a “solemn day,” the North Georgia UMC Conference said in a Press release.
The United Methodist Church has long debated its bans on same-sex marriages and the ordination of openly LGBTQ+ clergy. The denomination prohibits the marriage or ordination of “practicing and open homosexuals,” but some American churches and clergy have challenged the bans. Many conservatives have chosen to leave amid growing challenge to those bans.
So far, 7,286 congregations, many in the South and Midwest, have received approval to disaffiliate from the denomination since 2019, according to an unofficial report. United Methodist News Service account. The majority of disaffiliations, more than 5,000, occurred this year.
The conservatives launched a new World Methodist Church.