The denomination is going the way of the Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and others that are leaving the authority of the Bible, specifically its rules regarding sexuality and marriage.
Conservative Methodist congregations have been given the opportunity to leave the denomination and keep their physical property, but John Lomperis of The Institute on Religion & Democracy (The IRD) says that deal ends soon.
"Congregations that do not want to be on board with a very woke new liberal agenda in the church have a very limited opportunity, if they act soon, to disaffiliate from the denomination and keep their properties," he warns.
United Methodist church buildings are not owned by the individual congregations; they are held in a trust. Disaffiliation allows the congregations to keep their buildings once fees have been paid and legal proceedings have been completed.
The current process allows congregations to leave for "reasons of conscience regarding a change in the requirements and provisions of the Book of Discipline relating 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."
Disaffiliating and keeping their building is allowed under certain stipulations, and such a request must be completed and processed by December 31, 2023. Before the deadline, a local conference must discuss the issue and approve the request. There must be a two-thirds majority vote of members present at the church conference.
Lomperis says some in the UMC leadership have been less than forthcoming about the problems in the church, hoping to delay some congregations from leaving so they can take the property when the heresy becomes too strong to ignore.
"Sometimes bishops or other regional leaders are really openly bullying and intimidating congregations and pastors, especially, to be afraid of even discussing what is going on in our denomination," Lomperis laments.
Other liberal leaders, he says, hope to put a couple of notches in their belts.
"There is a zeal in the woke liberal mindset of seeing conservative Christians as their mission field," The IRD spokesman notices. "We just need to be educated out of our backwards biblical theology."
More than 2,300 congregations have left the denomination since the 2019 General Conference, and resources are available for any Methodist pastor or church that wants to leave the denomination.