One-Fifth of United Methodist U.S. Congregations Leaving Over LGBTQ+ Issues

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07/07/2023

The United Methodist Church stands to lose one-fifth of its U.S. congregations due to differences over LGBTQ+ issues and amid expectations that the church will become more supportive. The denomination currently considers “the practice of homosexuality” to be “incompatible with Christian teaching,” and its official policy does not allow out LGBTQ+ clergy or perform same-sex marriages. But many congregations are defying those policies, and pro-LGBTQ+ changes are likely to be proposed at next year’s general conference. Such changes — approval of out clergy and same-sex marriages — have been proposed but rejected for years, but the denomination, considering some differences irreconcilable, put forth a plan a few years ago to allow congregations to leave. Since 2019, 6,182 U.S. congregations, largely conservative ones in the South and Midwest, have received approval to leave the United Methodist Church, the Associated Press reports. Most of the departures — 4,172 — have come this year.

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