LAS VEGAS — (07-07-23) — We can now report that over 6,000 United Methodist congregations — a fifth of the U.S. total, have received permission to leave the denomination over the church’ long standing theology against LGBTQ people in the nation’s second-largest Protestant church.

Those figures were released following the closure of regular meetings in June for the denomination’s regional bodies, known as annual conferences.

The departures from the church began with a trickle in 2019, when the church created a four-year window of opportunity for U.S. congregations to depart over LGBTQ-related issues. Since then it has cascaded to its highest level in 2023, and the year is not yet over.

Church law forbids the marriage or ordination of “self-avowed, practicing homosexuals,” but many conservatives have chosen to leave amid a growing defiance of those bans in many U.S. churches and conferences.

We will continue to follow this story and bring you new updates as they become available.

Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer

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