193 Alabama and Florida Churches leave United Methodist Church over the long-lasting homosexuality debate.
193 congregations in Alabama and Florida on Saturday gained approval to disaffiliate from United Methodist Church. North Carolina Conference voted the same day to approve the disaffiliation of 192 congregations from their regional body.
The approval for disaffiliation of the 193 churches, however, was following a Saturday special called session by United Methodist Church Alabama-West Florida resident bishop, Bishop David Graves.
UMC Alabama-West Florida Conference voted at the special session to ratify the disaffiliation votes of the parting congregations. The disaffiliating churches represent 39% of their membership and 38% of the total regional body’s congregations.
In a Saturday statement by Bishop David Graves, who said it was “a somber day in the life of the Alabama-West Florida Conference,” He expressed sadness over the parting of the 193 congregations.
Nevertheless, while wishing the departing congregations well, he also thanked the congregations who still choose to remain with UMC.
“We grieve in saying farewell to the 193 churches disaffiliating from the United Methodist Church and wish them the best in ministry. Many of these churches have dedicated clergy and laity who truly desire to serve God and their communities. We pray for these churches as they navigate ministry in a new season.” He wrote.
“I especially want to thank those churches who have decided to remain United Methodist. And those who heard my call to refrain from holding discussions about leaving the denomination until we have more information. I appreciate your faithfulness to your call and covenant all while leading your churches in a most difficult season,” he added.
A total number of 233 churches have disaffiliated from UMC since June 2022. 2,996 congregations have disaffiliated from UMC since 2019, according to the figures compiled by United Publication UM News on Tuesday.