In February 2019, the United Methodist Church held a special session of the General Conference to address the matter of same-sex marriage and the ordination of homosexual persons. At that General Conference, a motion was passed that allowed individual congregations who felt that they could no longer abide by the policy of the United Methodist Church on these particular issues to leave the United Methodist Church. Several conditions had to be met for this to take place. This process of leaving the denomination is called “disaffiliation.” It represents the first time in the history of Methodism in American that a congregation could sever their ties to the denomination and take their church buildings with them.
According to the action taken in 2019, the process for disaffiliation must be completed by December 31, 2023. There are approximately 30,000 United Methodist Congregations in the U.S. and around the world. A bit more than 2,000 have disaffiliated as of the end of 2022, which is about 6.6% of the global denomination, according to official estimates from the United Methodist Church. More congregations are expected to complete the process by the end of the year. The Lewis Center for Church Leadership has done a study to show what sort of churches has disaffiliated and by what region. You can find this study here:
Bishop LaTrelle Easterling, the resident bishop of the Baltimore Washington Conference, hosted a town meeting that addressed this issue in great detail last September. This was recorded and is available here. https://youtu.be/VayeZQl3RGY
She also provided an update recently of what is happening in our annual conference with this matter as we look to the conference session later this month. A message from Bishop Easterling on Disaffiliation
More information about the disaffiliation process and those churches within the Baltimore-Washington Conference who wish to disaffiliate can be found here.
I am honored to serve a congregation that has been faithful in welcoming people into discipleship and stepping forward in faith together. I see us continuing to be part of the larger United Methodist Church and carrying out the mission of making disciples for the transformation of the world.
Grace and peace,
Pastor Steve Larsen