A Tennessee congregation voted to leave the United Methodist Church on Sunday due to the denomination’s longstanding schism on homosexuality.
On Sunday, Christ Church Memphis voted to disaffiliate from the UMC after a final tally of 941 voted in favor of leaving, while 101 opposed and one abstained.
Miles Stevens, director of communications for Christ Church Memphis, told The Christian Post that the vote was prompted by “decades of failed efforts to reconcile firmly held foundational but oppositional beliefs among member churches within the UMC.”
“We believe that disaffiliation from the United Methodist Church is the best path forward for Christ Church as we seek to proliferate the Gospel and make disciples,” Stevens said.
He also noted that the church’s next steps are “yet to be determined” and that the congregation still has to receive the final approval of the vote at its regional annual conference gathering in May 2023.
“Until then, we will assemble a team of church leaders to evaluate paths forward, ultimately with the goal of providing a denominational or nondenominational recommendation for Christ Church,” he explained.
Christ Church is part of the UMC Tennessee-Western Kentucky Annual Conference, a UMC regional body that launched earlier this year through a merger of the Tennessee and Memphis conferences.
A conference spokesperson on behalf of Bishop Bill McAlilly emailed a statement to The Christian Post about the Christ Church’s disaffiliation from the UMC.
“We are saddened by their decision to depart as we are anytime a congregation willfully chooses to leave the United Methodist Church family,” McAlilly, who called Christ Church a flagship congregation in Memphis,” said.
McAlilly also contended that there are “many misrepresentations of United Methodist Church theology presented to this and other United Methodist congregations by persons who wish to paint a false narrative of who we are.”
“The UMC is a biblical, diverse, inclusive and Spirit-filled denomination grounded in Scripture and of teachings of Jesus Christ. We are a global and connectional church committed to making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world,” the bishop continued.
“During a church’s discernment process, we always are available and appreciate the opportunity to share the United Methodist perspective about our current challenge. Sadly, we were never given that chance with Christ United Methodist Church before the congregation made their decision.”
Like Christ Church, multiple churches have announced their departure from the UMC this year over the denomination’s debate on performing same-sex marriage and the ordination of gay clergy.
In June, the Tennessee-Western Kentucky Conference approved the disaffiliation votes of 60 congregations from the UMC.
Multiple churches leaving the UMC have joined the newly launched Global Methodist Church, a conservative theological denomination.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/EJ Rodriquez
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.