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1M ditch United Methodist Church, after changes to marriage definition and LGBT clergy ban

by Heather Preston
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The United Methodist Church’s (UMC) largest oversees division has voted to leave the denomination, following the Church’s landmark decision to allow same sex marriage and the ordination of practicing homosexuals as priests.

The UMC voted to change its definition of marriage and remove decades-long restrictions on LGBT clergy at its General Conference last month.

Following the move, the United Methodist Church of Ivory Coast voted to exit the denomination on 28 May – taking with it an estimated 1.2 million members.

The Côte d’Ivoire Conference (EMUCI), which has been a member of the denomination for over two decades said “reasons of conscience before God and His word” ultimately led to the decision.

The EMUCI, which represents around twelve per cent of the denominations membership, argues the UMC’s doctrinal changes “deviate from Holy Scripture” and “sacrifice its honor and integrity to honor the LGBTQ community,” according to reports from La Croix International.

Delegates at the UMC’S 2024 General Conference voted 692-51 in favour of removing language from its Book of Discipline and Social Principles that bans "self-avowed practicing homosexuals" from becoming ministers. Attendees also eased restrictions on same sex marriages. The new rules apply to the Church in the US – where around 50 per cent of its 10 million members are based.


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