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A Virginia church affiliated with the United Methodist Church announced its plans to leave the denomination in light of its long-standing debate on LGBT issues.
Holston View UMC of Weber City, which has more than 300 members, is seeking to join the Global Methodist Church, a theologically conservative alternative to the UMC.
On Tuesday, Holston View Pastor Chuck Griffin told The Christian Post that the decision to leave the UMC was not yet finalized but that his church would seek a separation "once a clear path develops."
"Our church's top administrative board, the Church Leadership Council, voted 10-0 on March 24 to announce our intent, with one person abstaining and one absent," Griffin explained.
"We delayed the public announcement until we felt we had fully communicated the decision to church members," he added. Griffin also spoke positively of the GMC, describing the denomination as "the obvious continuation of traditional Methodism, which goes back to the 18th century."
"The Methodist movement traditionally has treated Scripture as the inspired Word of God, emphasizing specific biblical concepts like growing spiritually through regular engagement with God's abundant grace," the pastor said.
"We expect the GMC will be a place where some lost or poorly practiced traditions of Methodism will be recovered."
Meanwhile, The Rev. Tim Jones, director of communications for the Holston Conference, told the Christian Post that he was "saddened to learn" about the congregation's separation plans. He explained that the regional body has "a team working to create a fair and thoughtful process for churches to consider disaffiliation in a way that honors our relationships and complies with church law."
Jones also shared a statement from Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett, who acknowledged that "some of our congregations and clergy are considering withdrawing from The United Methodist Church to become a part of another expression of Methodism such as the Global Methodist Church."
"It will sadden us if these churches and clergy discern to withdraw. However, we will send them forth with our blessing to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world," she continued.
The GMC, along with its progressive counterpart, the Liberation Methodist Connexion, had recently announced their separation from the UMC amid the mainline's denomination debate on same-sex marriage and the ordination of clergy.
While the GMC was awaiting approval from UMC leadership to finalize the separation at the UMC General Conference, the event was pushed back several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The conference is currently scheduled to take place in 2024.
In response, the GMC announced that they would officially launch this Sunday, May 1.
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.