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62 Michigan Churches Leave United Methodist Church in Ongoing Exodus: 'We Move On'

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The Michigan Conference of the United Methodist Church (UMC) approved the disaffiliations of 62 local churches that voted to leave the denomination during a virtual special session on Nov. 30.

The exodus is just the latest in several regional churches leaving the denomination amid a schism over theological differences and the role of LGBTQ+ people in the church. 

The Michigan conference has seen 120 congregations disaffiliate this year. Now only 630 congregations are still affiliated with the regional body.

According to The UMC Book of Discipline paragraph 2553, any "decision to disaffiliate" from the mainline denomination "must be approved by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the professing members of the local church present at the church conference."

The 62 churches that wanted to leave the UMC  obtained the necessary two-thirds majority to disaffiliate from the Protestant denomination and have until Dec. 15 to meet all its requirements to be fully disaffiliated. 

UMC Michigan Conference's delegates accepted the departures in a vote of 739 in favor to 21 opposed.

"This remains a difficult and tender time in the life of the Michigan Conference and The United Methodist Church. There is significant grief and a strong resolve on the part of all to move forward in ministry for Jesus Christ," Bishop David Bard said in a statement.

In remarks made after the vote, Bard compared the congregational split to the separation of Isaac and Ishmael, Abraham's son. 

"The dim glimmer of new horizons is perhaps growing less dim. Perhaps even a little brighter," said Bard. "Isaac and Ishmael standing at the grave of their father Abraham. They cannot stand there forever."

"They must move on, each in his own way, each with his own people. Move toward a new horizon. Move forward on a rather mapless shore. We've never been here before. We move on."

He added the churches will move on with profound faith in Jesus Christ our risen Lord, trusting in the deep love of God, and trusting in the wisdom of the Holy Spirit."

As CBN News has reported, the splintering of the UMC, the second-largest denomination in the U.S. with 6.5 million members, is ongoing as thousands of local churches have left their regional conferences.

Many conservative congregations wanted to leave the denomination because despite the UMC forbidding the marriage or ordination of practicing homosexuals, some churches and clergy have defied those bans. 

More than 7,400 churches have left the UMC this year. 

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About The Author


Talia Wise has served as a multi-media producer for, CBN Newswatch, The Prayer Link, and CBN News social media outlets. Prior to joining CBN News she worked for Fox Sports Florida producing and reporting. Talia earned a master’s degree in journalism from Regent University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia.