The White's Chapel United Methodist Church from Southlake voted to leave the United Methodist Church. The Dallas Morning News reported that the church held an election that saw about 94% of the 2,500 church members voting to disaffiliate with the denomination. For the proceedings, the church even hired an election company Honest Ballot Association with voting machines and voting tellers.
With the vote, Rev. Dr. Larry Duggins of the megachurch said that it confirms the church is going through the process of disaffiliation. Disaffiliation is a current issue when it comes to the denomination questions over the stand and actions of the church when it comes to human sexuality.
White's Chapel UMC Decision
The pastor said that the church has LGBTQ families and that the current issues are harmful when it comes to them. He added 'We want them to be part of our community." Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr., Resident Bishop of the Central Texas Conference UMC expressed his disappointment with the disaffiliation, saying that the churches could do more for the mission of Jesus Christ together.
With the decision of the church, it will go under the process of disaffiliation that is set to be finalized on June 2023. Apart from the majority vote of the church, it also requires a vote from the Central Texas Conference.
White's Chapel UMC
According to the White's Chapel UMC, it is the 'biggest small church' in the area. It says that it is a place where people can worship, study, grow, heal, and serve.
As for the beliefs of the church, it says that it is a church that believes in the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It believes that God is the 'Ruler of the universe' and that He is the one who created the world and everything that is within it.
As for Jesus Christ, the church believes that He lived as a man and is the Son of God who was raised from the dead after His crucifixion. As such, He has become the savior and salvation may only be received through Him. The church says that it is the only reason that a person can receive salvation as there is no behavior, regardless of how holy or righteous, that can provide it.
The church also puts its faith in the Bible as the decisive source of Christian witness and the authoritative measure of truth. As for the identity of the church, it believes that it is 'the communion of saints' which is called upon to worship God and support the people as they grow in faith.
United Methodist Church Disaffiliation Situation
According to the Newman Times-Herald, the denomination is allowing churches to disaffiliate if they have concerns over the requirements and provisions of the Book of Discipline when it comes to homosexuality. This includes its practice, ordination, and marriage.
The rift within the denomination also gave rise to the Global Methodist Church, a new denomination that consists of former UMC member churches that have 'traditionalist' views on LGBTQ+ issues. However, it is ultimately up to each individual church whether or not they would join.