More than 5,000 congregations have left the United Methodist Church (UMC) over its pro-LGBT stance.
The second-largest Protestant denomination in the U.S. has had a massive “disaffiliation” movement, with churches leaving in droves in recent weeks.
According to UM News, the official news service of the UMC, 5,458 churches have disaffiliated this year alone while 25,500 churches have remained.
The controversy comes after liberal leaders in the UMC disregarded a 2019 vote upholding the church’s ban on ordaining LGBT clergy and officiating at or hosting same-sex weddings.
That same year the General Conference also approved a church law allowing UMC churches to leave with their church property if two-thirds of their congregation and regional governor body approved.
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The majority of churches leaving have joined the newly formed Global Methodist Church or remained non-denominational.
The Christian Post reports that some churches leaving have been the target of legal troubles as the UMC is demanding large sums for the property.