About 107 congregations in Florida have announced that they are leaving the United Methodist Church denomination for the newly launched Global Methodist Church (GMC), a theologically conservative alternative to the UMC.
In a post on Facebook, The Florida chapter of the Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA-Florida) announced that “107 Florida Methodist churches have chosen to initiate the process to depart” the Florida Conference of the UMC. According to the WCA, the 107 congregations make up about 20 percent of the 560 United Methodist Churches in the Florida Conference.
“This broad group of churches include both large and small congregations along with Anglo, African American, Latino, Korean, and other ethnic communities of faith,” the group said, adding that these churches will join the Global Methodist Church, which officially launched on May 1.
“We are not leaving The United Methodist Church. The United Methodist Church has left us,” Jay Therrell, President of the WCA – Florida, said in a statement.
“After a decades-long rise of theological liberalism, the selective enforcement of our denominational laws, and a strong surge in the promotion of partisan politics, our churches long for the day of being able to unite with like-minded Christians who focus on sharing the Good News of Jesus and help people to be transformed by His salvation,” Therrell continued.
Keith Boyette, a WCA leader who served as a Transitional Connectional Coordinating Officer for the GMC, told The Christian Post that it is his understanding that the 107 churches “have taken votes to leave” the UMC.
Boyette also maintained that “there will be additional churches that will emerge as we move forward.”
“The Transitional Leadership Council of the GMC will organize local churches like the 107 from Florida into regional conferences,” he said. “The regional conferences are called annual conferences.”
The GMC was planning to launch after the UMC’s General Conference this fall, but after the UMC postponed the conference until 2024 because of COVID-19, the conservative denomination decided to launch on May 1.
The GMC, along with its theologically liberal counterpart Liberation Methodist Connexion, announced its departure from the UMC during the pandemic because of the denomination's decades-long debate over same-sex marriage and the ordination of LGBT clergy.
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.