A more theologically conservative branch of the Methodist Church known as the Global Methodist Church is set to launch this spring following a split from the United Methodist Church denomination over LGBTQ-related issues.
The Transitional Leadership Council, a 17-member body of theologically conservative clergy and laity, announced last week that the new denomination will launch on May 1, 2022.
"The Global Methodist Church will warmly welcome people eager to join others in fulfilling its mission," the Rev. Keith Boyette, Chairman of the Transitional Leadership Council and President of the Wesleyan Covenant Association, said in a statement.
"We have heard the truth of Jesus Christ, experienced the forgiveness of his grace and love, and so bear witness to his transforming power," he continued. "We long to take our place alongside brothers and sisters in the church universal who seek to live out their faith every day so that others might come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior."
According to Relevant Magazine, calls for a split in the UMC began in 2019, after the United Methodist Conference approved the "Traditional Plan" to reinforce the church's ban on same-sex marriage and the ordination of LGBTQ clergy.
The announcement of the GMC launch date came on the same day that the UMC postponed its General Conference for a third time after international delegates could not obtain access to COVID-19 vaccinations and secure their visas for entry into the U.S.
A proposal, known as the Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace through Separation, was supposed to be approved at this year's UMC General Conference until it was pushed back to 2024.
"Many United Methodists have grown impatient with a denomination clearly struggling to function effectively at the general church level," Boyette said. "Theologically conservative local churches and annual conferences want to be free of divisive and destructive debates and to have the freedom to move forward together," he added.
Boyette expressed confidence that the GMC will grow in the next few years as more existing congregations join the denomination and new church plants are formed by members departing from the UMC.
According to the GMC's website, during its transitional phase, the church will be governed by the Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline, a document that highlights the church's core beliefs. The denomination will continue to use the Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline until the next General Conference, where it will be replaced by the Book of Doctrines and Disciplines.
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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.