The Eagle Lake United Methodist is one of the members of the United Methodist Church who chose to disaffiliate from their denomination. However, the United Methodist Church in Eagle Lake reportedly needs to pay $25,000 in order to retain its church title.
$25,000 Cost Of Disaffiliation
A report from The Vicksburg Post stated that the Eagle Lake United Methodist Church has already decided to withdraw its membership from the United Methodist Church. Peggy Calloway, who has been a member of Eagle Lake United Methodist Church for a very long time, believes that one of the reasons is because of the discussions that are now being held about human sexuality and how they relate to members of the LGBT community becoming ordained as United Methodist ministers.
As mentioned, there is no easy way for churches to separate themselves from the organization that they were born under. Obtaining the title to the facility is now held in trust by the General Conference and Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, which is now one of the processes involved in disaffiliation from the church.
Since 1797, the United Methodist Discipline has required the United Methodist Church to hold the title to church properties. According to the President of Asbury Theological Seminary, Timothy C. Tennent, this was done to ensure that the property would be utilized strictly for purposes consistent with the mission of the whole denomination, as outlined in the Discipline.
However, to acquire their title, Eagle Lake United Methodist Church must make a monetary contribution to the conference of $25,000. According to Calloway, the title cost was determined by calculating what the "askings" of the Mississippi Conference would have been over two years.
The "askings" of the United Methodist Church, also known as apportionments, are reportedly used to provide financial support for the worldwide church ministry. They also help give the essential framework to respond to crises locally, nationally, and worldwide. Calloway added that the cost of apportionments being required was another factor in the decision of Eagle Lake United Methodist Church to disaffiliate.
As per The Historical Marker Database, the United Methodist Church of Eagle Lake is the community's most established and long-standing Protestant congregation. In 1864, Emma Tracy Rhine opened the first private school in the Eagle Lake area. When Orceneth Fisher, a circuit rider, established a Methodist church and Sunday school in 1872, he used the one-room schoolhouse already on the property as the first church meeting building. Emma Rhine established a tradition of women's groups within the church in the same year by forming the First Ladies Aid Society.
Also Read: North Carolina Churches File Lawsuit Against United Methodist Church Over Disaffiliation Process
Increasing Rate Of Disaffiliation In United Methodist Church
After the 2019 special disaffiliation legislation, 2,000 churches left the United Methodist Church in 2022. When the legislation allowing for disaffiliation expires at the end of the year 2023, more people are expected to take advantage of this option. Following financial meeting responsibilities, 2019 legislation allowed churches to disaffiliate and keep their property. This analysis determines how the departing United Methodist congregations resemble or diverge from the overall United Methodist church profile.
As most disaffiliations occurred after 2019, Lewis Center for Church Leadership's strategy is to utilize 2019 as the base year for comparison. They successfully determined the names of 1,967 congregations that disaffiliated themselves from their parent church. As of the year 2019, there were a total of 30,541 United Methodist congregations spread across the United States. Moreover, a total of 6.6% of churches severed their ties with their previous denomination.
Related Article: Cornerstone Church Believes Leaving United Methodist Church Is a "Healthy Step"