Texas Megachurch Votes to Leave UMC Amid Schism Over LGBT: “We Are Changing to Stay the Same”

Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As the years-long debate within the United Methodist Church over the sanctioning of LGBT lifestyles continues, one massive Texas church has vote to disaffiliate.

The Woodlands Methodist Church in Woodlands, Texas, is comprised of roughly 14,000 members and of those who voted to leave the UMC on Sunday, an overwhelming majority supported the departure as The Christian Post reported.

“We are ready to move on past the division and the differences that have been an ongoing distraction in our denomination for far too long,” Pastor Mark Sorensen explained in a video. “Remember, we are changing to stay the same. With this vote, we are preserving the ministry that we know and love.”

He had kind words for those who are choosing to remain in the denomination, adding that it is “time to bless one another, even as we go our separate ways.”

“In this there is no victory, in this there is no winner or loser,” he said. “We are called to pray for and lift up others in whatever ministry God has calling us to now and in the future.”

According to the UMC Texas Annual Conference, there are over 200 congregations in Texas which are eyeing disaffiliation from the denomination.

Also on Sunday, the significantly smaller Faithbridge in Spring, Texas also voted to disaffiliate.

“I’m … realistic about where the denomination is heading, and so I have no second thoughts,” said Faithbridge Senior Pastor Ken Werlein. “We’ve done the right thing, the smart thing, the wise thing to keep Faithbridge Faithbridge.”

The UMC has long faced internal schism over a significant push to change its Book of Discipline as regards the blessing of same-sex unions and noncelibate homosexual clergy.

While many individual churches have embraced LGBT weddings and noncelibate members of ministry, the denomination still officially condones only biblical sexual lifestyles, although conservative factions have increasingly eyed an official split rather than remain within the UMC as resistance to changing the official rules continues to weaken.

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