Dozens of churches this week chose to disaffiliate themselves from the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church.
During an annual conference held this week in Athens, 70 churches’ wishes to abandon its affiliations with the North Georgia Conference were granted, noted the conference’s website.
The decision to disaffiliate with the United Methodist Church comes as some of the congregations expressed concern with changes to the church’s doctrine regarding sexuality.
“Bless these congregations as they depart. I pray that we will be partners in ministry, and you will do your mighty work of healing division and overcoming rifts,” prayed Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson as noted on the website.
The departing churches represent 9 percent of the congregations in the North Georgia Conference, according to the website.
“Our denomination has a clear process for disaffiliation and Conference leaders are walking alongside the churches that want to take this path,” Conference Communications Director Sybil Davidson said in a statement. “While we do not wish to see any church disaffiliate, we are committed to a clear and healthy process.”
Davidson noted that the 2019 Special Session of the (global) General Conference of The United Methodist Church adopted a disaffiliation agreement allowing churches to leave the denomination through the end of 2023 “for reasons of conscience regarding a change in the requirements and provisions of the Book of Discipline related to the practice of homosexuality or the ordination or marriage of self-avowed practicing homosexuals as resolved and adopted by the 2019 General Conference, or the actions or inactions of its annual conference related to these issues which follow.”
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SOURCE: Savannah Morning News; Athens Banner-Herald, DJ Simmons