The United Methodist Church is seeing the exodus of more than 100 conservative Kansas congregations over theological matters, including same-sex marriages and ordaining openly LGBTQ clergy.
The denomination’s Great Plains Annual Conference will hold an online session at 7 p.m. Wednesday in which it will consider ratifying the requested disaffiliations of 165 churches, including 103 in Kansas and 62 in Nebraska.
Congregations leaving the denomination include one from Topeka, New Hope United Methodist Church at 2915 S.W. 8th Ave., which says on its Facebook page that its vote to become independent took place last October.
Votes from 67% in favor of disaffiliation are required at the meeting where the vote takes place in order for disaffiliation to occur, according to information posted on the Great Plains Conference’s website.
The roughly 15 other United Methodist churches in Shawnee County will remain part of that denomination and the Great Plains Conference.
That conference’s website says it has 960 congregations, meaning about 17% are leaving.
Vote involves schism between liberals and conservatives
Wednesday’s vote comes at a time when liberals and conservatives in the United Methodist Church disagree over matters that include whether gay clergy should be allowed and if ministers should officiate same-sex weddings.
Conservatives on May 1 officially launched a new Global Methodist Church, where they plan to maintain and enforce bans on things that include gay ministers and same-sex weddings..
Remaining an independent entity or joining the Global Methodist denomination are among options for congregations leaving the United Methodist Church.
Wamego congregation became smaller after disaffiliation vote
Nationwide, 3,933 churches have parted ways with that denomination, according to United Methodist News.
The denomination has an estimated 30,000 congregations in the United States, with nearly 13,000 more abroad.
An article published last week on the Great Plains United Methodist website told of how members of the United Methodist Church at Wamego voted, 129-113, to not disaffiliate. The 47% who voted in favor of leaving the denomination was less than the 67% required for that to happen.
Some of those who voted to disaffiliate subsequently left that church, which now holds one worship service — with about 100 people attending — instead of the two it formerly held, which each attracted about 75 people, the article said.
What congregations are seeking to leave?
According to a resolution posted online, the Kansas-Nebraska Conference plans Wednesday to consider allowing the disaffiliation of these 103 Kansas congregations that have requested it, as well as 62 others in Nebraska:
• The United Methodist churches of Agra, Arnold, Bazine, Bellevue, Blue Mound, Brewster, Burdett, Burlington, Caney, Cawker City, Cherryvale, Copeland, Deerfield, Denton, Dwight, Elkhart, Ellsworth, Fulton, Glasco, Glen Elder, Grainfield, Green, Greensburg, Gypsum, Healy, Holcomb, Howard, Hugoton, Ionia, Iuka, Jetmore, Kanopolis, Kanorado, Kirwin, Kismet, Lancaster, Lenora, Leonardville, Liberty, Long Island, Lucas, Luray, Lydia, Madison, Marysville, Medicine Lodge, Miltonvale, Natoma, Ness City, Norwich, Offerle, Oketo, Oneida, Oxford, Peru, Plains, Quinter, Randolph, Ransom, Republic, Richfield, Rolla, Roeland Park, Satanta, Sawyer, Sharon Springs, Stockton, Utica, Virgil, Wakefield and Webber.
• The First United Methodist churches at Beloit, Burr Oak, Lakin, McCracken, Sabetha and Wellington.
• Alida United Methodist Church in Junction City, Amherst UMC at Waldo, Burchfiel UMC in Harper County, Camp Creek UMC at Cottonwood Falls, Central Korean UMC at Overland Park, Cottonwood Falls UMC at Cummings, Ebenezer UMC at Olpe; Effingham Union UMC at Effingham; Fairmount UMC at Leavenworth, Glendale UMC at Coats, Huscher UMC at Concordia, Mount Hope UMC in Sumner County, New Covenant UMC at Wichita, New Hope UMC at Topeka, Otterbein UMC at Russell; Pleasant Plains UMC at Natoma, Plum Creek UMC at Paola, Potawatomi UMC at Mayetta, Rose Valley UMC at Downs, Salem UMC at Bushton, Selma UMC at Kincaid, Swede Creek UMC at Randolph, Tisdale UMC at Winfield, Trinity UMC at Jewell, Vinland UMC at Baldwin City and Zion UMC at Robinson.
Contact Tim Hrenchir at firstname.lastname@example.org or 785-213-5934.