Two large local United Methodist congregations in the Mississippi Annual Conference recently voted to leave the United Methodist denomination. According to Walter Fenton, “Ninety six percent of the parishioners at Getwell Road UM Church in Southaven and 99 percent at The Orchard UM Church in Tupelo supported separation on Sunday, February 5.” Getwell church averages over 800 people in worship. The Orchard church on average sees an attendance of over 2,700 people to its weekend services.

The churches and their staff have been considering taking the step for some time. Church members were invited to consider the possibility of departure. Most notable is what Fenton says about how those congregations arrived in this place where thousands of members are now leaving the United Methodist church. According to Fenton,

Both pastors cited their congregations’ frustration with the denomination’s long and acrimonious debate over the church’s sexual ethics and teachings on marriage. Going forward, they said their congregations want to focus on kingdom matters so they are removing themselves from unproductive battles that distract them from their larger missions. Collier cited the Judicial Council’s (essentially the denomination’s “Supreme Court”) impending decision regarding the validity of the Western Jurisdiction’s July election of the Rev. Karen Oliveto as the denomination’s first openly gay bishop. “Either way, the Council’s decision is just going to prolong a bitter and divisive debate,” Collier said. “We don’t want to be part of the argument anymore. We have more important things we need to do in the Tupelo community and well beyond it.”

Other churches in the Mississippi Annual Conference are contemplating similar action.

The decisions at Getwell and Orchard came before the judicial Council decision regarding Western Jurisdiction-appointed lesbian bishop Karen Oliveto. In the April 28 decision, the United Methodist Church’s high court ruled 6-3 that while her lesbian status was in violation of the Church’s policies governed by the Book of Discipline, she could still retain her position as Bishop and the Church’s Western Jurisdiction would handle the matter. The Western Jurisdiction includes virtually every United Methodist church in the Western half of the United States. It issued the short video response above reacting to the April 28 decision. For more information, see Fenton’s original article at Largest Congregation in Mississippi Parts Ways with UM Church.

The UMC recently commissioned a “non-binary” person who uses “they” pronouns as deacon: Transgender person commissioned as deacon.

4 thoughts on “UMC Churches Departing—Cite Indecisive Leadership

  1. God is leading. The false and the true must separate to deliver a pure gospel. There is even more to learn, but this shows that many in the Methodist church are following Jesus and His Word. Far better to step away and keep busy in the gospel work rather than be tangled in arguments, “throwing pearls to swine.” The pearls of salvation are saved for those who know they need it.

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  2. Well here it is, in real time reality; they have decided to go their own way! It may not be to much longer for Adventist!
    Especially after the Adventist Review Executive Committee voted to welcome this Mysterious Spirit of the LGBT-Q into the church, and the “Transgender” that’s serving as an Elder, and Sabbath Shcool Teacher at one of its Adventist church’s Out in California! Maybe this is the signal that there’s a “Hugh” Split coming in the Seventh-Day Adventist church!

    This is very, very troublesome; how do you allow Sodom and Gomorrah to come into the church, un-checked, in the name of “LOVE”???

    Know Ye not “Brethren” what is written: For The sacrifices of “GOD” are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O “GOD”, thou wilt not despise. Psalm 51: 17.
    “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

    In all of “GOD’S” Unconditional Love” it can in no way Legitimize “SIN”!

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  3. There are many of God’s people who have the mind to “come out of her” for their love of Jesus. These are prepared to face up to the creeping compromise that seeks to supplant the express Word of God with human reason and tradition masquerading as Christ-like love. The murky waters of Babylon are, in some poodles, clearing up, under the work of the Holy Spirit, to reveal a people long deceived but still yearning for the Living Water that alone saves lost souls.

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