Grace Fellowship UMC of Katy, Texas has voted to leave the United Methodist Church denomination over its debate on homosexuality.
According to the Christian Post, the Texas church voted earlier in December to make the split as the United Methodist Church denomination debates making an amendment to the Book of Discipline. The change would remove language calling homosexuality “incompatible with Christian teaching.”
Jim Leggett, the founding pastor of Grace Fellowship, said Monday that the congregation wanted to “remove ourselves from the dysfunctional fighting going on in the United Methodist Church so that we can fully devote our energies to fulfilling the mission and vision that God has given to us.”
“At one point, we looked up and noticed that we were spending easily 30 percent of our leadership meeting time discussing the issues of the UMC, and we realized that this was not good stewardship of our time and resources for the Kingdom of God,” said Leggett.
“In the last year, it has become clear to us that despite having biblical standards of morality on paper in the denomination’s Book of Discipline, the leadership of the United Methodist Church is unable or unwilling to live by those standards.”
He said the congregation may affiliate with the Free Methodist Church.
“We have a distinct culture with deeply-held values that have been shaped over our 160-year history,” the FMC-USA Board of Bishops said in a statement. “We want to ensure that those who consider joining us are truly in agreement not only with our doctrine, but also our values and culture.”
The affiliation process takes between one to three years. The two parties create a Memorandum of Understanding.
“Once the affiliation process is completed, the church is recognized as a society, or full member of the denomination, at the next annual gathering of the conference in which it is affiliated,” the FMC Board said.
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Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.