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New congregations started in Alabama after UMC disaffiliation


Conflicting ideas and acceptance over sexual orientation continue to affect churches throughout Alabama.

The United Methodist Church has begun to split apart due to opposing opinions regarding sexuality. Nearly 200 churches disaffiliated from the North Alabama Conference of the UMC last year

Leaders of the UMC say the discussion of banning LGBTQ+ members to serve as clergy has been around for more than fifty years. And same-sex marriage has recently caused riffs within the denomination.

Danette Clifton is with the North Alabama Conference of the UMC. She said leaders of the church came together in 2019 and created a way for those who disagree with relaxing some of the rules on sexual orientation to leave their local church.

“For the first time in our denominations history, a local church could leave the denomination and fully take its building and other property and become complete owners of that without having to purchase it from the denomination,” said Clifton.

Clifton said individuals who have left the UMC still agree with its current policies. But she says they disaffiliated over some administrations’ refusal to ban the blessing of same-sex unions and the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy members.

She says the riff as given way for new churches to be established in Albertville and Oneonta.

“The people gathering are learning how to plant a new community and learning how to best reach their community," she explained. "But all of them are so excited about the possibility of how they can be a United Methodist Church and share the love of Jesus with their community and invite other people to be a part of their community.”

Clifton said the establishment of new ministries has resulted in high energy. Members of the North Alabama Conference say they’re hopeful they will be able to reach new people as developers are being placed withing in each district.

Gabriella Smith is a student intern with the Alabama Public Radio. She is a junior studying Creative Media at the University of Alabama. Gabbi has a passion for storytelling and editing content. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, cooking for herself and friends, and discovering new movies to watch.

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