Conservative Alternative to the UMC Exceeds over 4,200 Congregations
The Global Methodist Church, a theologically conservative denomination launched last year as an alternative to the United Methodist Church, has already exceeded more than 4,200 congregations.
According to GMC Transitional Connectional Officer Keith Boyette, the GMC ended 2023 with 4,281 member churches since its launch on May 1, 2022.
“The current member congregations are predominately former UMC congregations, but we do have member congregations that have come from other denominations, or who were previously nondenominational or independent, or that are new church plants that have already been recognized as member congregations,” he told The Christian Post.
Boyette also pointed out that there are still UMC churches “both within and outside the U.S.” that are attempting to affiliate with the GMC and that more are expected to join after the UMC General Conference (April 23-May 3) at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.
In the past several decades, there has been a schism in the UMC over whether to change its Book of Discipline to permit same-sex marriage and the blessing of same-sex unions. However, past efforts to change the Book of Discipline were largely unsuccessful due to the voting power of mostly theologically conservative delegates from Africa.
Nevertheless, many theological liberals within the UMC refused to abide by the Book of Discipline by officiating same-sex unions or ordaining openly gay clergy. In November 2022, the UMC Western Jurisdiction voted to make the Rev. Cedrick D. Bridgeforth of the California-Pacific Conference a bishop despite him being in a same-sex marriage.
During a special session of the 2019 UMC General Conference, delegates voted to add Paragraph 2553 to the Book of Discipline, which granted a temporary process for congregations to disaffiliate from the UMC in light of the debate over homosexuality. However, provisions of Paragraph 2553 expired at the end of 2023.
Between 2019 and 2023, 7,660 congregations left the UMC, according to numbers compiled by UM News. Additionally, over 5,600 voted to disaffiliate from the mainline denomination.
In addition to the GMC, another congregation recently launched as an alternative to the UMC is the Methodist Collegiate Church, which White’s Chapel created. This Texas megachurch disaffiliated from the UMC in 2022 and was identified as theologically centrist.
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