SOUTHLAKE, Texas (RNS) — Last year, White’s Chapel, a large congregation in a wealthy suburb outside of Dallas, overwhelmingly voted to disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church.Today, the church, which draws more than 2,000 people on a Sunday, belongs to a denomination of one, a network it is calling the Methodist Collegiate Church.
Since 2019, 2,996 churches have formally broken from the United Methodist Church over theological disagreements about ordaining or marrying LGBTQ members of the church, according to the United Methodist News Service. Of those, about 2,000 have joined the Global Methodist Church, a budding denomination created by conservative former United Methodists as a new home for dissenting congregations.
When White’s Chapel’s members voted to disaffiliate in November, the Rev. John McKellar, the church’s co-pastor, told Religion News Service they decided not to join the Global Methodist Church, in part because congregants, who hold a diversity of views, want to be a healing agent among Methodists.
The new denomination will reject “extreme positions,” according to the Rev. Larry Duggins, chancellor of the Methodist Collegiate Church.
The Rev. Larry Duggins. Photo via Methodist Collegiate Church
“We are very deliberately building congregations that have different points of view, and are willing to talk to each other about it,” Duggins said.
At least 50 churches from six different states already have reached out to White’s Chapel about joining the Methodist Collegiate Church, he said, but the church must wait until its annual conference approves its disaffiliation before the church can invite other churches to officially join the collegium. The Central Texas Conference is expected to vote to approve pending disaffiliations at its meeting slated for June 4-6 in Waco.
The Methodist Collegiate Church will be composed of colleges, based on geography, not unlike conferences within the United Metho …
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