Christianity

Mass Exodus: Over 1 Million Leave United Methodist Church Amid LGBT Controversy

In an extraordinary event, the United Methodist Church (UMC) experienced a seismic shift as over one million members severed ties with the denomination. This unprecedented exodus, primarily attributed to the UMC’s increasingly affirming stance towards LGBT individuals, underscores deep-seated divisions within one of America’s largest Protestant denominations.

After holding UMC membership since 2008, EMUCI said the church “deviates from the Holy Scriptures” and prefers “to sacrifice its honor and integrity to honor the LGBTQ community.”

The Ivorian conference was one of the denomination’s largest groups, and last reported more than a million members.

according to Breitbart EMCUI’s decision comes in response to the U.S.-based UMC’s vote in May to repeal the decades-long ban on LGBT clergy and marriages, which sparked a mass exit of congregations around the world.

The UMC’s decision passed 692-51 at its general conference in Charlotte, North Carolina, NPR reported.

EMUCI’s president, Bishop Benjamin Boni, declared that UMC “now rests on socio-cultural values that have consumed its doctrinal and disciplinary integrity.”

A procession of United Methodist bishops leads the opening worship at the 2024 United Methodist General Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina

More than 4,000 congregations exited the UMC in just the first six months of 2023 over its embrace of LGBTQ+ ideology.

According to the Christian Post, as the organization continues to hemorrhage members, the Korean Methodist Church — which has about 1.5 million members — is also considering leaving.

“Homosexuality cannot be accepted until the Lord returns. This is not an emotional issue but a matter of unchangeable truth. Homosexuality is clearly a sin,” a coalition of Korean Methodists said in a statement. “This is an issue concerning the sanctity of life that the church must teach correctly, without compromise.”

An LGBTQ+ flag flies over Union United Methodist Church in the South End of Boston on January 5, 2020.

The United Methodist Church Council of Bishops has issued an official response to the news that a regional body with over 1 million members had voted to leave the denomination.

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The Côte d’Ivoire Conference, based in West Africa, voted last month to leave the UMC over the denomination removing rules that prohibited the blessing of same-sex unions and the ordination of people in same-sex relationships from its Book of Discipline.

UMC Council of Bishops President Tracy Malone said in a statement issued Wednesday that she acknowledged the vote and the bishops were working with the conference as it becomes an autonomous church body.

 

In this April 19, 2019, file photo, a gay pride rainbow flag flies along with the U.S. flag in front of the Asbury United Methodist Church in Prairie Village, Kansas.

“While we grieve Cote d’Ivoire Conference’s decision to separate from The United Methodist Church, we commit to work with them through the process of becoming an Autonomous Methodist Church,” stated Malone.

“While we are not all of one mind in all things, the strength of our connection is love, respect, compassion and a shared commitment to faith in Jesus Christ.”

In this moment of profound change, the United Methodist Church stands at a crossroads. The decisions made in the coming years will shape the future of Methodism in America.

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