Disaffiliation vote fails at First United Methodist Church of LaGrange

Published 9:00 am Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

LaGrange First United Methodist Church will remain affiliated with the United Methodist Church despite a majority of voters choosing to disaffiliate.

On Sunday afternoon, the church held a vote on whether to leave the church over UMC’s reluctance to enforce its own bans on the ordination of openly homosexual ministers and gay marriages.

While the church forbids the marriage or ordination of “self-avowed, practicing homosexuals,” many churches and conferences defy those bans, which has prompted some congregations to leave the denomination.

Many have left for the new Global Methodist Church that was created in 2022, which plans to maintain and enforce bans on ordinations of openly homosexuals and same-same sex weddings.

While some joined the Global Methodist denomination, others have chosen to remain independent.

During a special meeting on Sunday afternoon, First LaGrange UMC held a vote on whether to disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church for reasons of conscience regarding a change in the requirements and provisions of the Book of Discipline related to the practice of homosexuality or the ordination or marriage of self-avowed practicing homosexuals.

First Methodist’s vote to disaffiliate narrowly failed with 64.3% voting to leave the United Methodist Church. Although a majority of voters chose to disaffiliate, the decision needed to be approved by two-thirds of professing members present at the church conference for the vote.

A total of 535 votes were cast on the decision.

Three other UMC churches in Troup County are believed to have taken votes to disaffiliate on Sunday. Votes at Trinity on the Hill United Methodist Church, Mountville United Methodist Church and Big Springs United Methodist Church were not immediately confirmed. 

Page Estes, Director of Operations and Stewardship for LFUMC, said First Methodist will have a service at 6 p.m. on Wednesday to reflect on the decision and how to move forward.

“We hope it will be an opportunity for members to come together and to pray for a path forward whether that includes staying here at First United Methodist Church or if they choose to worship somewhere else,” Estes said.