More than 200 churches in North Carolina have opted to exit the United Methodist Church over the Protestant denomination’s debates concerning homosexuality. A total of 249 congregations, which represents around 22 percent of the regional body’s membership and around 32 percent of its churches, voted to exit during a special meeting of the United Methodist Church North Carolina Conference.
Christian Headlines reports:
Over 200 congregations in North Carolina have announced their departure from the United Methodist Church over the denomination’s ongoing debate over homosexuality.
On Saturday, during a special session of the UMC North Carolina Conference, delegates voted 957-165 in favor of the disaffiliation of 249 churches from the mainline denomination.
The number of departing congregations represents about 32 percent of the regional body’s churches and about 22 percent of its membership, The North Carolina Conference reports.
41 of 990 churches in the Western North Carolina Conference voted in favor of leaving the UMC earlier this year. Moreover, seven more churches are also leaning towards disaffiliating from UMC. The schism within the denomination is because of the debate concerning homosexuality such as ordaining gay clergy and approving same-sex marriages.
Earlier this year, 41 of 990 congregations in the Western North Carolina Conference voted to leave the UMC. Seven other churches are also in the process of discernment for disaffiliation.
The UMC has been divided in recent years due to an ongoing debate on homosexuality, such as blessing same-sex marriages and ordaining gay clergy.
The denomination’s manual, the Book of Discipline, prohibits any ordination of bishops or clergy living a homosexual lifestyle.
As Christian Headlines previously reported, one UMC pastor filed a complaint against a regional body for electing openly gay bishops.
In May of this year, theologically conservative Methodists launched the new denomination, The Global Methodist Church, in response to the schism in the UMC.
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