The exodus of 155 conservative churches in Kansas and Nebraska over theological matters, including the role of LGBTQ people, was approved late Wednesday by the Great Plains Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Delegates to an online special session of that conference voted 655-29 to ratify the requested disaffiliations of 96 of its churches in Kansas and 59 in Nebraska.
All requests were addressed in one vote. Seventy-seven congregations in the conference had disaffiliated previously, delegates were told.
What percentage of the conference’s churches are disaffiliating?
The conference has 960 congregations, its website says, meaning about 16% are disaffiliating.
Voting results were announced 63 minutes into the video of Wednesday’s session, which is posted on the conference’s Facebook page.
After that, delegates voted 676-5 to separately ratify the requested closings of 14 other United Methodist churches in Kansas and Nebraska.
How was Topeka affected?
Congregations disaffiliating include one from Topeka, New Hope United Methodist Church at 2915 S.W. 8th Ave.
That church says on its Facebook page that its vote to become independent took place last October.
The roughly 15 other United Methodist churches in Shawnee County will remain part of that denomination and the Great Plains Conference.
What brought about Wednesday’s vote?
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.
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.
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.
How does disaffiliation work?
In churches considering leaving, votes from 67% in favor of disaffiliation are required at the meeting where the vote takes place for disaffiliation to occur, said information posted on the Great Plains Conference’s website.
Remaining an independent entity or joining the Global Methodist denomination are among options for congregations leaving the United Methodist Church.
What Kansas congregations are disaffiliating?
The resolutions approved Wednesday evening show that the Great Plains Conference granted disaffiliation to these 96 Kansas congregations that requested it, as well as 59 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, Howard, Hugoton, Ionia, Iuka, Jetmore, Kanopolis, Kanorado, Kirwin, Kismet, Lancaster, Leonardville, Liberty, Long Island, Lucas, Luray, Lydia, Madison, Marysville, Medicine Lodge, Miltonvale, Natoma, Ness City, Norwich, Offerle, Oketo, Oneida, Oxford, Plains, Quinter, Randolph, Ransom, Republic, Richfield, Rolla, Satanta, Sawyer, Sharon Springs, Stockton, Utica, 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, 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, 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.