Frazer UMC votes to disaffiliate from the United Methodist denomination

Published: Feb. 10, 2022 at 4:32 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - A growing number of Methodist congregations, including one of Montgomery’s largest churches, is moving forward with their own plans to step away from the United Methodist Church denomination.

Among them is Frazer UMC on Atlanta Highway.

The church released a statement confirming its members voted on Jan. 30 “to seek disaffiliation from the United Methodist Church, and pursue affiliation with the Free Methodist Church, another long-standing branch of the worldwide Methodist movement.”

Frazer’s statement further said of the decision “[it] is not without sadness that we contemplate departing from our denominational ties with the UMC. The Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference of the UMC has been our home for many years, and we honor the connection we have shared and the work we have accomplished together. Nevertheless, we believe that the Free Methodist Church is a better fit for our present identity and future fruitfulness. We look forward to this new chapter in our history once this decision is ratified by the Annual Conference in June, in accordance with the guidelines of our UMC Book of Discipline.”

The Alabama-West Florida Conference plans to vote on whether to approve Frazer’s departure at its annual session on June 12-15.

“Frazer Church is a remarkable witness for Jesus Christ,” The Alabama-West Florida Conference said in a statement. “For many years they have been a leader in the United Methodist Church and in the Alabama-West Florida Conference. While we are saddened that they are exploring denominational options, it is our strong desire and prayer that each church and clergyperson honor what God is genuinely calling them to do.”

The conference said “[we] mourn their potential departure, yet we know that Kingdom work knows no denominational bounds, and we pray they continue to make positive changes in their corner of the world.”

“First United Methodist Church maintains affiliation with the United Methodist Church and a focus on making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation for world,” said Senior Minister Dr. Jay Cooper.

We checked on denominational status with Saint James United Methodist Church, located on Vaughn Road, but have yet to hear back from Lead Pastor Lester Spencer.

There have been fundamental differences among United Methodists when it comes to same-sex marriage and gay clergy for years and the United Methodist Church has plans to separate into at least two denominations as a result.

“Post Separation UMC” would have a progressive viewpoint on theology and human sexuality. The “Global Methodist Church” would have a traditional viewpoint and will continue with a ban on same sex-marriage and LGBTQ Clergy. However, the General Conference has to adopt the protocol for it to go into effect.

The COVID-19 pandemic has already twice postponed the United Methodist legislative assembly.

Last May, approximately 300 delegates from around the world came to Frazer for the fifth Global Gathering of the Wesleyan Covenant Association, an advocacy group that is forming a new, theologically conservative denomination called the Global Methodist Church.

The Global Methodist Church cannot officially come into existence until approval of the ‘Protocol for Reconciliation and Grace through Separation’ by the United Methodist Church. The proposed legislation will be voted on at a General Conference on Aug. 29-Sept. 6, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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