The split has been going on for years, but to this point nearly all of them have been upset over the United Methodist Church's embrace of unbiblical sexuality. But 29 churches in southeast Texas (listed below) say the UMC's disdain for life is the reason they're out.
Mark Tooley is president of The Institute on Religion & Democracy and founder of IRD's UMAction project. He tells American Family News those Texas churches are using the same temporary exit clause that pro-marriage churches have been using.
"To officially exit you have to cite disagreement with the church's teachings or practice on marriage and sexuality, but the United Methodist squishiness on abortion would be on that menu of complaints," he explains.
Under the agreement, the churches can leave before the end of 2023 and keep their buildings, which officially belong to the denomination. Tooley says the abortion issue came to the fore after the Supreme Court's Dobbs decision which overturned Roe v. Wade. When that happened, says the IRD president, several factions of the UMC condemned the ruling – including the United Methodist Council of Bishops, the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, and the United Methodist Commission on Women.
Most of the churches who are leaving the UMC are aligning with the new Global Methodist Church – and that includes thousands of UMC churches in Africa and other parts of the world.
"By the end of next year, probably 5,000 congregations will have left the United Methodist Church," Tooley predicts. "And then when the denomination officially liberalizes its sex teachings in 2024, maybe another thousand will try to fight their way out."
12NewsNow.com reports the 29 UMC churches in southeast Texas are:
First UMC in Anahuac, Forest Park UMC in Beaumont, Wesley UMC in Beaumont, Watson Chapel UMC in Bleakwood, St. Paul UMC in Bridge City, First UMC in Buna, Call UMC in Call, China UMC in China, Crystal Beach UMC Bay Vue, Daisetta UMC in Daisetta, Devers UMC in Devers, Hardin UMC in Hardin, St Matthew UMC in High Island, First UMC in Kountze, South Liberty UMC in Liberty, Woodcrest UMC in Lumberton, Magnolia Springs UMC in Magnolia Springs, First UMC in Nederland, Wesley UMC in Nederland, First UMC in Newton, Faith UMC in Orange, UM Temple in Port Arthur, Bolivar UMC in Port Bolivar, First UMC in Port Neches, First UMC in Silsbee, Spurger UMC in Spurger, First UMC in Vidor, Middleton Memorial UMC in Wallisville, and Village Mills UMC in Wildwood.