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United Methodist churches face deadline for disaffiliation

The Rev. Keith McIlwain, pastor of Slippery Rock United Methodist Church, 130 Franklin St., Slippery Rock, said his 300-member congregation is talking about issues facing the denomination. Shane Potter/Butler Eagle

The clock is ticking for Butler County United Methodists still grappling with the splintering of the 12-million-member worldwide church over the question of LGBTQ inclusion and affirmation.

The United Methodist Church’s Book of Discipline states: “The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching,” which outlaws the ordination of outwardly gay clergy and the performance of same-sex marriages.

However, many churches, ministers and bishops have been openly ignoring the official United Methodist Church rules. When the meeting of the General Conference of the church, which determines the Book of Discipline, was postponed until 2024 earlier this year, many traditionalist churches announced they were launching the Global Methodist Church.

By a disaffiliation process the General Conference enacted in 2019, traditionalist congregations are leaving the United Methodist Church by requesting and receiving the approval from their annual conferences to depart while retaining their property and their financial assets.

The Rev. Keith McIlwain, pastor of Slippery Rock United Methodist Church, 130 Franklin St., Slippery Rock, said his 300-member congregation is talking about what the church should do.

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Related Article: United Methodist churches face deadline for disaffiliation

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