More than 1M Methodists leave church over same-sex rule change



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  • Delegates of the United Methodist Church voted to repeal their church’s longstanding ban on LGBTQ clergy last month.

  • Following that decision, the United Methodist Church in the Ivory Coast in West Africa has now announced its decision to leave the denomination.

  • The Ivory Coast division had been the denomination’s largest jurisdiction overseas with more than 1.2 million members.

(NewsNation) — The United Methodist Church has lost more than 1 million members over new rules on premarital sex and homosexuality.

The United Methodist Church in the Ivory Coast in West Africa announced its decision to leave the denomination after delegates repealed their church’s longstanding ban on LGBTQ clergy, removing a rule forbidding “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” from being ordained or appointed as ministers.

Delegates voted 692-51 during the General Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina, last month. Past General Conferences of the United Methodist Church reinforced the ban and related penalties amid debate and protests. However, many conservatives who had previously upheld the ban have left the denomination in recent years, and the General Conference has moved in a solidly progressive direction.

The change doesn’t mandate or even explicitly affirm LGBTQ clergy, but it means the church no longer forbids them. 

In response, the Ivory Coast division stated on May 28 that they voted to disaffiliate “for reasons of conscience before God and His word, the supreme authority in matters of faith in life.”

Additionally, the division accused the United Methodist Church of distancing “itself from Holy Scriptures” and “sacrificing its honorability and integrity to honor the LGBT.” They added that the General Conference was “not based on any biblical and disciplinary values.”

The Ivory Coast division had been the denomination’s largest jurisdiction overseas with more than 1.2 million members, according to reports. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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