Conservatives Quietly Split From United Methodist Church After Years of Loud Debate

Conservatives Quietly Split From United Methodist Church After Years of Loud Debate by EMILY MCFARLAN MILLER/RELIGION NEWS SERVICE via Charisma News

It was a “very special Sunday,” the Rev. J.J. Mannschreck explained to his congregation during the traditional service streamed online from Flushing United Methodist Church in Flushing, Michigan.

The congregation shared prayer requests and celebrated what the pastor called “God’s victories”—namely the church’s community garden, which its youth were planning to ready for spring later that day.

Flushing’s United Women of Faith threw a baby shower between services for Mannschreck’s fourth and youngest son, Asher.

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And—what made it special—a member of the church’s preaching team delivered her first sermon, about Moses and forgiveness, as part of the current sermon series titled “There and Back Again,” a reference to J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic novel The Hobbit.

What no one mentioned was that Sunday (May 1) was also the launch of the Global Methodist Church, a new theologically conservative denomination splintering from the United Methodist Church that Mannschreck plans to join.

After decades of rancorous debate over the ordination and marriage of LGBTQ United Methodists, a special session of the United Methodist Church’s General Conference and three postponements of a vote to formally split the denomination, the schism finally came “without fanfare, but full of hope, faith, and perseverance.”

That’s how the Rev. Keith Boyette, chairman of the Transitional Leadership Council of the Global Methodist Church, described the launch of the new denomination in a statement published days earlier on its website.

Sunday’s launch, Boyette told Religion News Service last week, “was very definitely driven by practicality and the fact that the postponement of General Conference moved many people to say they were tired of waiting and tired of the conflict not being addressed and resolved by the United Methodist Church.”

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