Texas Megachurch Leaves United Methodists as LGBT Rift Widens
Share This article
The members of a Texas megachurch have overwhelmingly voted to leave The United Methodist Church (UMC) after being part of the denomination for more than 36 years.
Members of St. Andrew Methodist Church of Plano voted 859-12 (98.6% of those present) to officially disaffiliate from the denomination on Feb. 21. The vote came after the church's executive committee announced last October their intent to dissolve ties with the UMC.
The news of the 6,000-member congregation's vote comes as liberal policies and LGBT issues continue to splinter the UMC, the second-largest denomination in the U.S.
Church leaders posted a statement to the St. Andrew's website in October that read, "Everyone involved has a deep love for the denomination that birthed us, but the fractures and flaws of the institution are too deep to ignore. What you may have read in the media or heard does not fully paint the picture of the complexities of the question and our resulting decision."
As CBN News reported in November, the UMC is accelerating its moves to become more accepting of LGBTQ lifestyles, despite biblical prohibitions, leading to more divisions within the denomination and more departures from the group.
Each of the church's five U.S. jurisdictions met separately at that time to approve measures where "LGBTQIA+ people will be protected, affirmed, and empowered." Also, the church's second openly gay bishop was elected.
As CBN News reported last October, the St. Andrews executive committee at first was going to leave the denomination without a congregational vote. However, the church's abrupt departure would have violated the UMC's mainline denomination's rules on dismissal.
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."
According to a statement posted to St. Andrew's website, the congregation's executive committee said since the announcement in October, the church and the UMC's North Texas Conference "has engaged in meaningful and productive conversations with St. Andrew's leadership to ensure that the congregation has the opportunity to vote on the matter of disaffiliation and that St. Andrew's covenantal commitments to the North Texas Conference and The United Methodist Church are upheld."
"Since October, St. Andrew's members have engaged in discernment work, including a Feb. 15 informational session with the church's pastors and a representative from the North Texas Conference," the statement continued.
Since the church had promised to pay the necessary apportionments and pension liabilities and to honor the North Texas Conference's terms for disaffiliation, conference officials affirmed that "St. Andrew UMC has met the requirements for disaffiliation," according to the statement.
***Please sign up for CBN Newsletters and download the CBN News app to ensure you keep receiving the latest news.*
Texas has long been a stronghold for the United Methodist Church, United Methodist News Service reports. St. Andrews stood as the largest congregation of the group.
So far, about 546 of the 1,260 UMC churches in Texas, or about 45 percent, are leaving the UMC, The Dallas Morning News reported in December.
Overall, 2,036 churches have left the UMC since 2019.
As CBN News reported, even though the number of churches leaving the denomination represents a small percentage of the more than 30,500 UMC churches in the U.S. alone, it has led to major financial repercussions.
The denomination's leaders have been working on what will be the group's lowest budget in almost 40 years – more than 38% less than its $604 million budget in 2016, according to UM News.
The 2023 UMC Annual Conference will be held on June 19-21, 2023 at the Renasant Convention Center in Memphis, Tennessee.
Share This article