Mass Exodus from United Methodist Church Over LGBTQ Policy Changes


The United Methodist Church (UMC) has recently experienced a significant upheaval following its decision to lift longstanding bans on LGBTQ clergy and same-sex marriages. The decision, made during the 2024 General Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina, has led to a mass exodus of congregations and members (one million) who oppose the changes.

The General Conference saw delegates voting overwhelmingly to repeal the prohibitions, with 692 in favor and only 51 against. This monumental shift included the removal of language from the Book of Discipline that previously labeled homosexuality as "incompatible with Christian teaching" and the allowance for LGBTQ individuals to serve as clergy and for same-sex marriages to be conducted within the church.

The decision to lift these bans was not without controversy. Many conservative members and churches, particularly those from Africa and the southern United States, expressed strong opposition. Rev. Jerry Kulah of Liberia led a rally outside the conference center, stating that the new definition of marriage contradicts biblical teachings and asserting that many African churches might leave the denomination over this issue.

In response to the liberalizing measures, a significant number of conservative congregations have already disaffiliated from the UMC. These departing groups have either joined the newly formed Global Methodist Church, which upholds traditional views on marriage, or chosen to become independent. The exodus is part of a broader trend that has seen the UMC lose over 7,000 congregations since 2019 due to disputes over LGBTQ inclusion.

The changes were part of a broader set of reforms aimed at creating a more inclusive church. Delegates also voted to allow regional conferences to make their own decisions regarding LGBTQ issues, accommodating the diverse views within the global church.

This regionalization plan was designed to enable United Methodists in more conservative areas to maintain their traditional stances while allowing others to adopt more progressive policies.

Despite the contention, the mood at the conference was largely celebratory among supporters of the changes. Spontaneous celebrations broke out on the conference floor following the vote, with many delegates and observers cheering and singing hymns. This contrasted sharply with the atmosphere of previous conferences, which had been marked by heated debates and deep divisions.

The UMC's decision marks a significant moment in the ongoing struggle within many religious denominations over LGBTQ inclusion. While it aims to foster a more inclusive environment, the resulting schism underscores the deep and enduring divisions on this issue within the Christian community.

As the UMC moves forward, it faces the challenge of reconciling these differences and finding a path that honors its commitment to inclusivity while respecting the diverse beliefs of its global membership. The 2024 General Conference's decisions are likely to shape the future of the denomination for years to come.

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  1. I don’t have a particular problem with homosexuality – the best man at my wedding was a gay guy who was married to another gay guy – he’d been my best friend since long before the “Stonewall Riots”. I even believe that there is such a thing as “gender dysphoria” (tho’ it is far less prevalent than the current faddism would suggest – that has everything to do with trendy, “look-at-me” narcissism and nothing to do with any mental/emotional hardwiring). I’m not even a Christian (I probably qualify as “hard agnostic” – I can’t disprove God but I can sure doubt the concept). What I cannot do is reconcile the Bible (incl. the Septaguint/Old Testament Jewish “Bible”) with approval of homosexuality. The acts are clearly condemned in multiple passages which do not really allow of some alternate interpretation. And the Koran is even more adamantly anti-gay/anti-trans (explicitly so, most particularly in the Haditha). To therefore proclaim that one is Christian while ignoring Christian teaching, as the UMC is now doing, is simply wrong. One can tolerate homosexuals and pray for them and even believe that they can be forgiven for it with proper contrition, but one cannot say that’s it okay, that God approves. These “dissenters” represent the real Church and the governing body of the UMC should be ashamed of itself and the Methodist Church deserves to fail for abandoning its own articles of faith.


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