The Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church has approved the conditional disaffiliation of 55 churches over human sexuality issues, including same-sex marriages and potential ordination of pastors who identify as LGBTQ+.
The vote took place at a virtual special session April 22 with 93% of delegates voting in favor of the action and 7% against. The 55 churches were considered as a single slate.
The churches will take with them nearly 30,000 members, or 15% of total the membership of the Florida Annual Conference. The Conference placed the value of the assets in the departing churches at $35.8 million, plus real estate valued at $306.4 million.
The organization said the churches will be able to keep those assets, which would normally revert to the conference, if they meet certain financial obligations, including the payment of apportionments for 2023 plus an additional year.
The departures are effective June 1 if all the requirements are met.
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Voters at the 2019 General Conference of The United Methodist Church established the disaffiliation process in the wake of controversy over the potential change in the “Book of Discipline” to allow for the ordination of pastors who identify as LGBTQ+ and to permit same-sex marriages at United Methodist churches.
Under the process, churches that want to separate from the denomination must meet a series of requirements, including meeting with their district superintendent to understand the ramifications of disaffiliation, prayerful consideration for discernment and open meetings with professing members of their congregations.
The Florida Conference said additional special sessions to address disaffiliation are scheduled for Aug. 5 and Dec. 2.
This article originally appeared at MinistryWatch and is reprinted with permission.
Anne Stych is a freelance writer, copy editor, proofreader and content manager covering science, technology, retail, and nonprofits. She writes for American City Business Journals’ BizWomen and MinistryWatch.
2 thoughts on “55 Churches Leave Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church”
I emailed Julie but received zero response about a specific church in a low income area of North Carolina that is having a difficult time having their clergy follow the system presented in this article . Instead, the clergy is openly removing memberships, moving back voting dates indefinitely, and lying to the congregation about the entire process. I really hope this site is not just about fighting church leadership from just the conservative right. I definitely understand the massive abuse of power many on the right have perpetrated. But, I believe that abuse of power is everywhere and that It would be a really sad indictment that perhaps we aren’t trying to help all Christians in an unjust situation but rather just one brand of unjustice or abuse which is not truly loving or kind- it would be just convenient for personal aims.
I’m sorry I haven’t responded. I simply can’t keep up with the demand to report on misconduct within the church. As for whether or not I’m reporting only on churches from the religious right… I started The Roys Report because so few Christian media (mostly evangelical) were willing to report on their own tribe. So, that’s been my focus–the evangelical church, though we’ve ventured outside those confines a bit. If we have the bandwidth, we’ll do our best to cover the story you mention. But right now, we’re pretty swamped.
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