A church called Asbury Memorial Church in Savannah, Georgia officially split from the United Methodist Church over the division on the LGBTQ ideology.
The United Methodist denomination's vote last year to strengthen bans on same-sex marriages and ordination of LGBTQ pastors contributed to the members of Asbury Memorial Church to express their desire to leave the Methodist Church.
Asbury Memorial Church voted in September 2019 regarding the split from the denomination and the results yielded a 309 to 7 vote with the majority voting to support the split.
The United Methodists' South Georgia Conference approved the separation on August 15.
The divided theological stances over LGBTQ inclusion in the United Methodists Church fundamentally brought the anticipation of a more extensive split from the main Protestant denomination at the The United Methodists 2020 Conference. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, it might take another year until the Conference can take place to discuss the topic of the split.
The pastor of Asbury Memorial Church, Rev. Billy Hester, believes LGBTQ members helped the church grow so his congregation chose not to wait until the next United Methodists Conference to break apart from the Methodist denomination.
"Our LGBTQ members have helped us become a growing, vital congregation in the Savannah community. Asbury Memorial has always been a welcoming, all-inclusive congregation and we are excited about our future as an independent non-denominational church." Pastor Hester said.
Pastor Hester announced the official independence from the denomination after the Conference approved the separation.