Many congregations of the United Methodist Church have lost about 20% of their members in recent years due to LGBTQ issues, as Jason DeRose, NPR’s religion correspondent, reports on the church’s stance on leaving. The United Methodist Church is now less united than it once was.
The Fount Church, located in Orange County, Califonia, is currently a congregation of about 50 members. One individual who wishes to leave the church stated that their departure is due to the church’s failure to uphold their “belief teaching” that homosexuality is incompatible with Christianity. Now, conservative congregations are departing because they no longer have to abide by the rules enforced by the Church Methodist United, as voted back in 2019, which prohibited same-sex weddings and LGBTQ clergy. On the other hand, progressive leaders in the church voted to keep these prohibitions in place.
GLEN HAWORTH: Well, the banner over here – come thou source of every blessing – that’s where we acquire our name.
DEROSE: Glen Haworth serves as the head pastor.
We, as individuals and not the Lord, are referring to ourselves when we say “we” in the context of the Church. Of course, Jesus is the fount, not us.
Haworth, a lifelong United Methodist but also a local geographic region conference organizer, says there has been a drifting away from traditional biblical teachings on morality over the years.
Haworth has probably determined that this yearly convention, which focuses on teaching the Bible, is not significant to many Christians. Additionally, it addresses the most recent and prominent differences of opinion regarding general sexual ethics and marriage, particularly in relation to homosexuality.
Haworth says that the congregation can afford to contribute nearly $60 million to the new fund for United Methodist Ministries. The property of Fount was just assessed at $6 million. The local annual conference in Southern California says that churches here also need to pay 50 cents on the dollar to keep their property. However, congregations are allowed to disaffiliate from the denomination if they pay their church dues and pension obligations for two years.
It is not possible to currently pay 3 million dollars for the annual conference with 50 members, and this property did not have a price tag of $6 million back in 1964, Haworth.
He thinks that clergy attending the annual civil court conference may ultimately be worth overdoing LGBTQ, and that they may only have the option of walking away from their building or taking the Fount’s options, which he’s hopeful means that he’ll try to negotiate a lower price, says Haworth.
GRANT HAGIYA: It hasn’t been beneficial for the denomination to be in conflict with one another regarding this matter.
The retired bishop states that justice could endorse even a medieval theologian, which he considers to be a crucial matter. According to DEROSE, Grant Hagiya, the president of the Claremont School of Theology, the Methodist seminary located in southern California, supports this viewpoint. He comprehends The Fount’s discontent.
This specific instance of exclusion applies to and we are convinced that they can be incorrect, unethical. Regulations are man-made, and if a regulation is unfair, it is not a regulation, according to Aquinas. HAGIYA.
KIMBERLY SCOTT: This is a Hammond keyboard and our percussion kit.
Kimberly Scott took on the position of the fresh pastor in early July at Grace United Methodist Church, a community of 250 individuals, situated in the southern part of Los Angeles.
SCOTT: We have four distinct choirs – four distinct groups that sing, one each Sunday, throughout the month.
Scott DEROSE says that she is grateful for the queer woman who is willing to break the rules that say she can’t live out her ministry, even though it is heartbreaking to exist in a world where fighting and staying true to oneself is necessary.
Can I stay through this to see the end, then? I was like I can’t leave over this if my grandparents stayed and never left my family. And were we OK with slavery when we were Methodist? So were my family, Methodist. We were Methodists in the South: SCOTT.
DEROSE says that Scott anticipates an official modification to the rules during the upcoming general conference of the United Methodist Church.