East Texas Methodist churches’ differing opinions leading some to split from UMC

Beliefs about LGBTQ issues one of the main divisive topics
East Texas Methodist churches’ differing opinions leading some to split from UMC
East Texas Methodist churches’ differing opinions leading some to split from UMC
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 10:59 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 19, 2022 at 11:29 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The United Methodist Church is at crossroads, with conversations and differing opinions around human sexuality leading some congregations to leave the UMC for the more traditional Global Methodist Church.

The topic of human sexuality has been around in the United Methodist Church since 1972 when the General Conference added a paragraph to the Book of Discipline stating that, “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.” In 2022 this caused conversation among churches on what to do.

“What Dayspring did is, we entered in to a time of prayerful discernment where we met at restaurants all around Tyler where we could engage in a private, yet open way,” said Kris Bagley, the senior pastor at Dayspring Methodist Church in Tyler. He said they talked among their congregation about the issue and voted to disaffiliate on July 24.

“For us the decision was, whether we wanted to stay in the United Methodist Church and follow what we believe is the future for that denomination, or to begin part of a new denomination and a new movement in the Global Methodist Church, and that’s where our community voted,” Bagley said.

Bagley said they will officially transition to being a Global Methodist Church on January 1.

Kimberly Carney is the senior pastor at Fairwood United Methodist Church in Tyler. She said with the postponement of a General Conference that was supposed to happen in 2020, it has led people to follow what they feel God is calling them to do.

“To either leave the United Methodist Church, and join other denominations, or to stay with the United Methodist Church and work from the inside to change the belief and doctrine that is occurring,” Carney said.

At Fairwood they had people come to the administrative board and ask for an informational meeting to be held, which was done a few weeks ago in their worship hall.

“Here at Fairwood, because we see a need in the community for a United Methodist Congregation, we have decided to put off any talk of discernment or disaffiliation for the time being, and for the near future,” Carney said.

She said they take to heart the saying, ‘Open minds, open hearts, open doors.’

“We want this to be a place where people can come, where people are loved and where people know that they are welcome for who God created them to be,” she said of her UMC-affiliated church.

For Bagley, he said he’s excited for what his church’s decision means for them.

“I think Dayspring will get to step into a really great opportunity to bring the love of people and the value of the gospel into people’s lives. I think what’s coming up is going to be really great for us,” he said.

There are still congregations around East Texas holding meetings and voting this week on what they plan to do.

On Monday evening, by a margin of 85 percent, Marvin Methodist Church in Tyler voted to separate from the United Methodist Denomination and affiliate with the new Global Methodist Church.