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More Than 4,000 Churches Have Left the UMC This Year, New Data Finds

Michael Foust | Crosswalk Headlines Contributor | Updated: Jul 07, 2023
More Than 4,000 Churches Have Left the UMC This Year, New Data Finds

More Than 4,000 Churches Have Left the UMC This Year, New Data Finds

More than 4,000 congregations have left the United Methodist Church this year over disagreements about the body's stance on LGBT issues, according to new data that also shows one-fifth of churches have left the denomination since the controversy started.

The new data, compiled by the United Methodist News Service and recently highlighted by USA Today, shows that 4172 have left this year – more than double the number that left in 2022 (1518).

All total, 6182 United Methodist congregations have voted to leave the denomination, a number that represents one-fifth of all churches in the UMC.

Many of them are joining the Global Methodist Church, which was launched in 2022 by conservative Methodists. A June article on the official Global Methodist Church website said nearly 3,000 churches had joined.

The Global Methodist Church's Book of Doctrines and Discipline defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

"We believe that human sexuality is a gift of God that is to be affirmed as it is exercised within the legal and spiritual covenant of a loving and monogamous marriage between one man and one woman," the book says.

On sexuality and gender, the book says, "While affirming a scriptural view of sexuality and gender, we welcome all to experience the redemptive grace of Jesus and are committed to being a safe place of refuge, hospitality, and healing for any who may have experienced brokenness in their sexual lives (Genesis 1:27, Genesis 2:24, 1 Corinthians 6:9-20)."

Although the Global Methodist Church has yet to hold its first General Conference, its website says it is in the early planning stages.

"During a transitional period of 12 to 18 months, local churches and annual conferences everywhere, and central conferences in Africa, Europe, Eurasia, and the Philippines will have the opportunity to join the Global Methodist Church," the website says. "Once local churches and conferences make their decisions, the Transitional Leadership Council will apportion delegates accordingly and invite them to the Global Methodist Church's convening General Conference."

The new denomination says it is "grounded in Scripture and the life-giving confessions of the Christian faith found in the Apostles' and the Nicene Creeds."

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Ehrlif

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

More Than 4,000 Churches Have Left the UMC This Year, New Data Finds