ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — The North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church has voted to allow 261 congregations to leave the denomination in the midst of a division about theological differences and the role of LGBTQ+ people in the church.
As news agencies report, the conference confirmed the congregations’ requests to leave in a special session on Saturday and allowed the churches to leave the denomination. The withdrawal was a “celebratory day,” the UMC’s North Georgia Conference said in a statement Press release.
The United Methodist Church has long debated banning same-sex marriage and ordaining openly LGBTQ+ clergy. The denomination bans the marriage or ordination of “professed, practicing homosexuals,” but some U.S. churches and clergy have defied the bans. Many conservatives have decided to leave in the face of growing defiance of these bans.
According to an unofficial report, 7,286 congregations, many in the South and Midwest, have received approval to leave the denomination so far since 2019 United Methodist News Service Balance Sheet. Most of the resignations, more than 5,000, occurred this year.
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