LOUISA, KY. — Amid what has become a state and national uproar in the United Methodist denomination, at least two Lawrence County churches are listed as voting to withdraw from the state conference mostly over homosexuality in the pulpit.
Professor Sonny Branham, a Louisa native who is a professor a Oral Roberts University and a former member of the Louisa First United Methodist Church, confirmed Thursday that the church has voted to withdraw its membership from the state conference although it has not received confirmation of the action as of yet. It takes a 2/3 vote of the church to pass.
Branham said it will cost Louisa First Methodist $65,000 to withdraw. There are restrictions on leaving that you can see in the stories in this post and Branham said his church in the Tulsa, OK, area will have to pay $750,000 because the state convention holds the deed to the property.
Louisa First Methodist pastor Tammy Smith has not responded to attempts to reach her for comment.
But ‘Church on the Hill’ Louisa United Methodist Dan Smith said his church is also wrestling with the ‘same sex’ marriages in the church and other theological conflicts.
“I probably couldn’t add anything beyond what you’re able to find online. There are many good discussions on YouTube, from both perspectives,” Smith told The Lazer. “It is true that the presenting issue is homosexuality, but we have dealt with homosexuality for 40 years without splitting.”
“As I see it, the two issues that are dividing the church today are scriptural authority, and overt covenant breaking at the top.”
“…my personal opinion is our church will be divided on this, as will many other churches across America; but we will be voting in January or February,” Smith said. “I have no idea what their vote might be at this point.”
Another Lawrence County Methodist Church is the Buchanan Chapel with pastor Keith Workman who has not yet returned calls and messages. (We will add it to the post as well as Ms. Smith’s comment when and if we get them).
Here are two posts that explain the homosexuality issue statewide and nationally:
Wednesday, December 07, 2022
Methodists splitting amid sexual and theological debates
|A gay pride rainbow flag flies with the U.S. flag in front of the Asbury United
Methodist Church in Prairie Village, Kansas. (Photo by Charlie Riedel, AP)
Methodists are fracturing over sexuality and theology: “At the heart of the schism is a decision by the United Methodist Church to allow for the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy and for churches to host weddings and other celebrations of same-sex unions. It’s often described as a liberal-versus-conservative debate,” reports Martha Quillin of the Raleigh News & Observer.
The decision pushed some congregations to leave. Last month, the church’s North Carolina Conference “approved a split that clears the way for nearly a third of its churches to separate from the denomination over its more inclusive LGBTQ policies.” Quillan writes. “The move, decades in the making, allows congregations that voted earlier this year to leave the United Methodist fold to join the new Global Methodist Church.”
Much the same is happening elsewhere in the nation and abroad. “In annual regional gatherings across the U.S. earlier this year, United Methodists approved requests of about 300 congregations to quit the denomination, according to United Methodist News Service,” reports Peter Smith of The Associated Press. “Large United Methodist congregations are moving to the exits, including some of the largest in Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.”
Bishop Thomas Bickerton, president of the church’s Council of Bishops, told AP, “The United Methodist Church is not interested in continuing sexism, racism, homophobia, irrelevancy and decline . . . What we are interested in is a discovery of what God has in mind for us on the horizon as the next expression of who we are as United Methodists.”
The Global Methodist Church was formed as “Conservatives grew impatient with the lack of clarity over the issue and launched a splinter denomination for congregations that wanted to stick with the Book of Discipline’s language on homosexuality,” Quillin writes. Churches could also join another denomination “or become non-denominational.”
Kentucky Annual Conference approves disaffiliation of 57 churches
December 04, 2022
Kentucky Annual Conference members overwhelmingly approved a motion to allow 57 churches to disaffiliate during a special session held online Sunday, Dec. 4.
Clergy and lay members voted 332-29 to accept a report by the Conference Board of Trustees allowing the churches to leave under terms of the Book of Discipline’s Paragraph 2553, which allows churches to disaffiliate for reason of conscience or action/inaction by the Kentucky Conference related to The United Methodist Church’s decades-long debate over human sexuality.
“And so, it is adopted,” Bishop Leonard Fairley said of the motion as the results were displayed on the screen. He then offered a prayer for the departing churches.
Those leading the special session gathered at the conference Office in Crestwood, where a makeshift studio was set up in Holloway Hall, as it was for two Annual Conference sessions held when in-person gatherings were not possible because of COVID-19.
Clergy and lay voting members watched on a closed Zoom link; the session also was streamed on the Conference’s website and Facebook Live for the public. More than 300 people watched on the two platforms.
Bishop Fairley urges ‘good faith’ as churches chart new course
The session began with a time of worship, including Fairley’s sermon, which focused on Genesis 32: 49-50, the departure of Jacob and Laban.
“It was a prayer of departure knowing God would be watching between them to make sure their departing from each other was done in good faith, and God would always be watching between them to make sure that good faith was kept even in the midst of them parting,” Fairley said.
He said he thought that having one special called Annual Conference session to ratify the disaffiliating churches would ease the pain, “but there is nothing easy about separating from the people who have shared a significant part of your life.”
He mentioned the shared ministries and events, such as working side by side on mission teams for two major disasters in Kentucky, a journey to the Holy Land, camping ministries, the UM Children’s Homes, and the UM retirement communities, adding that “there is so much we have done together in the name of Jesus Christ.”
“It will always be my prayer, somehow that by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can still together be about joyfully worshipping Christ by offering salvation, by offering help, healing, and hospitality to all God’s children,” Fairley said.
He also said that despite the grief and sorrow, he believes that “God is up to something supernaturally amazing and mysteriously extraordinary,” and that The United Methodist Church’s best years still are ahead.
“I believe that even as we let each other go, God’s tomorrow rooted in the love, peace, and justice of Jesus Christ is full of promise and hope for all people,” Fairley said. He urged people to leave the divisiveness and acrimony behind and to be the witness that Christ has called us to be.
He concluded his 17-minute message with a prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, “Enlighten the Darkness of My Heart”: “O most high, glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart and give me a right faith, a certain hope, and a perfect love, understanding and knowledge, O Lord, that I may carry out your holy and true command.”
He said his heart is breaking today, as it did Nov. 19, when he conducted a similar session in his home North Carolina Annual Conference, where he has been serving as interim bishop.
“Kentucky has become my family,” he said.
The worship portion included a prerecorded prelude and postlude from Dr. Jim McFarland, the organist at St. Paul UMC in Louisville, and music by Madisonville First UMC.
The sole purpose of Sunday’s session was for the Annual Conference to vote on whether to allow the 57 churches to leave the UMC.
Gretchen Mahaffey, the Board of Trustees chair, shared her report on churches that have fulfilled the terms of disaffiliation, first enacted in 2019 under Paragraph 2553. A total of 23 churches had previously completed that process, with 57 more disaffiliating Sunday. The disaffiliation takes effect Dec. 4 – last Sunday’s date.
Mahaffey said the work has been done in a fair, simple, and gracious manner.
People who are members of churches that disaffiliated but want to remain United Methodists can go to www.kyumc.org and click on the news story “Stay UMC” for information. That link was displayed on a slide as the special session ended.
To leave under terms of Paragraph 2553, the churches needed to meet several terms and conditions:
- Payment of any unpaid apportionments for the 12 months before disaffiliation, as well as an additional 12 months of apportionments.
- Payment of the local church’s share of the pension liability for the pension covenant for active and retired clergy as determined by Wespath Benefits & Investments.
- Payment of the local church’s share of the Conference’s retiree and surviving spouse medical insurance covenant.
- Payment of any arrears on the church’s health insurance and benefits premiums.
- A church conference where at least two-thirds of members present voted to disaffiliate.
The 57 departing churches, by district – shown on slides during the session just before the vote – are:
- Bluegrass: Early’s Chapel, Mortonsville, Mt. Zion (Shakertown), Perryville
- Heartland: Cedar Grove, Overdale
- Kentucky East: Belfry, Buchanan Chapel, Cannonsburg Trinity, Catlettsburg, East Fork, Hardy, Olive Hill, Tollesboro
- Lexington: Bybee, Gunns Chapel, Herrington, Preachersville, Ruddles Mill, Shiloh
- Northern Kentucky: Fosters Chapel, Goddards Chapel, Melbourne, Milton, Morningview, Owenton, Piqua, Shiloh
- Owensboro: Big Springs Corners, Fairview
- Pennyrile: Bethel, Dixie, McMurray Chapel, Stuart Chapel
- South Central: Barnetts Creek, Boyds Creek, Campground, Center, Christies Chapel, Coffeys Chapel, Cosby, French Valley, McKendree Chapel, New Bethel, Old Zion, Park, Russell Springs, Shiloh, Walkers Chapel
- South East: Corbin Trinity, Fellowship, Macedonia, Pleasant View, Science Hill, Twin Branch, Whitesburg, Williamsburg First
Before the vote, Rev. Ken Berggren, an elder in the Owensboro District, moved to postpone it six months until the 2023 Annual Conference. But Fairley ruled the motion out of order, saying that under Robert’s Rules of Order, a question cannot be postponed beyond the end of the current session; therefore, the vote could not be delayed until next June.
After the vote, Fairley cited a few lines from “Be Still, My Soul,” the closing hymn played and sung by the Madisonville musicians.
“It is my prayer that we may leave this session … with prayers of healing and wholeness,” and “learn to live together as brothers and sisters” as we turn ourselves to the future, Fairley said, citing Micah 6:8: “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
He said he grieves the churches that are leaving but also rejoices over those that will stay United Methodist, despite our imperfections.
“Come Lord Jesus, particularly in this season and Advent, and stay with us,” Fairley said.
In a brief interview after the session, Fairley said that “days like this are not easy, because these are the people I have spent nearly seven years leading. I’ve learned their hearts, and there are wonderful people here.”
Rev. Darren Brandon, serving in his first session as the Annual Conference secretary, said it was a bittersweet experience, one of lament but also blessing and hopefulness.
“For me, the hopefulness was the grace that was offered throughout the planning and the session,” he said. “The final work of grace in the human heart is to make us gracious, and many of you surely have been, especially with the surprises that come in planning an online conference.”
We have 2 Presbyterian USA churches in town. Same scenario, but congregation doesn’t want to have to look for another. Methodists appoint to who goes where. From my readings published by the Presbytery, the push to spread the these odd kilter beliefs are encouraged. And, some retirements are stacking up to leave.
Now this is what your Democrat woke culture does. Biden is the most devisive president we’ve ever had. The Democrates glorify Homosexuality, crime and labels anyone who disagrees a racist. The problem is the Dems cant spin what the Bible reads. Liberals control Hollywood, movies,commercials,universities and the news (except Fox). They cant control religion, thank God. This country will be self destroyed in two more years.
Dammm don’t know where to start with this we have a Former President who breaks bread with a Nazi and Klan Leaders. Then wants to tear the Constitution up.
KAG, you are a mess.
Everyone it wasn’t me who had dinner with the heads of the Klan or the Nazi’s or wanted to tear the Constitution up it was the former President. You need to let that sink in for a while.
You are spot on with your comment. While I was reading this I was thinking if the church tolerates this immoral behavior the future of our children is doomed! The Bible speaks on these last days when they will call good evil and evil good.
Wonder what he thought of the founding fathers buying and selling other humans?
Would you call that good or evil?
“Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death.”
Your comment is irrelevant to try and prove your point. The point is it’s wrong! Shouldn’t be a vote in church about it! No question.
Biden isn’t a Methodist; he minds his own business about other people’s sexual identities. Your remark is not only ridiculous, it’s inaccurate.
If the churches are going to follow the teachings of the Bible then do not try to twist it to fit what you want!!
The women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.
If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.
Good comment Susan. We were on the same page.
The United Methodist Church……wow!. First of all, read 1 Cor. 14:34.
As for gay marriage, just read the Bible and be honest with yourself. It’s plain to see that it is ungodly and that God will not stand for it.
Be honest with yourselves people. Don’t find a congregation that fits the lifestyle you want to live. Find a congregation that fits God’s will and adapt your lifestyle to it. Be honest. Be honest with yourself. Be honest with God.
BLM and your hero George Floyd is so proud of you KEGS. You represent BLM well here in Lawrence County. Please dont start looting ,burning,and shoplifting when you dont get your way.
Keeping it Real your former President(Cult Leader) had dinner with the leaders of the Klan and the Nazis. Then he is not man enough to accept Defeat he wants to Burn the Constitution.
While he sat there and cheered for over 3 Hours and watch his Klan beating up on the police officers can’t believe ANYONE would still follow this guy. But Jim Jones Gang did drink the poison because he told them to.
Why do you have to make everything political? Someone could talk about the weather and it seems you’d somehow find a way to comment on how orange man bad? We get it, you don’t like Trump you are clearly a die hard Democrat no matter what. That is fine because we live in this beautiful country which is a REPUBLIC not a DEMOCRACY which the media always says. You can believe whatever you want and comment as many times as your keyboard self deems necessary. I’ve found myself consumed in most of your comments on here over the past which is a terrible thing. Platforms such as this have given “people” like you a way to express yourselves which is terrible! I will try to change my ways as should you and I’ll love you no matter what. This article is about the destruction of a local church basically because they wanna vote and allow gay marriages which is against Gods written words. That should concern everyone of us as a whole and beg for forgiveness. I hope you can find it in your heart to agree as well or side with our sickly administration which I’m sure you will given your previous highly educated opinions. Freedom of speech until someone disagrees with your left opinion then it’s time to suppress speech. Seems to be the cancel culture way! Take care
Well Tommy if you would take the time and read Keep it Real FIRST POST he is the one who made it political
Now Tommy the definition of democracy is a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.
Now Tommy the definition of a Republic is a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch.
Pretty much the same BUT sounds like you want a King or a Dictator if you still support what the former president tried to do.
Pretty much the same yes, but still different because we are a republic with “one elected leader” which is our president. But thank you for telling me the definition of both. I do take the time to read all posts. Especially yours which collectively are all the same. Orange man bad or you want roads fixed within the city limits. If you truly agree with President Biden, his administration, and think they’ve done a good job it’s useless to speak to people like you. He has done a horrible job! Terrible! Did Trump do great all the time? Heck no he didn’t but I’d stand behind his principles any day of the week than someone who appoints sick men trying to pretend to be women to warp the minds of children. Your view will not change clearly. Probably vote democrat only because your family did or it’s traditional. Tradition will take you straight to hell if you don’t change your ways and yes it is a real place although some churches preach to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. As far as January 6th goes no one cares about it. And it was definitely smoke and mirrors or the crooked department of Justice would’ve already prosecuted Donny as you say. As far as comparing him to Hitler who is in the same category as Stalin in taking the lives of millions of innocent Jewish people is absurd. Your a sick individual to compare anything to that! Keep watching CNN and listen to Biden. Remember orange man bad! Lol.
Tommy Orange man is bad as far as comparing the Dear Leader to Hitler didn’t say that all I said he had dinner with Nazi and Klan Leaders. Orange man tried a attempted coup and will be indicted for his crime convicted time will tell.
Tommy yes people care about democracy if they didn’t we would have seen the BIG RED WAVE.
Orange Man left office with some of the worst numbers of every president we have ever had. Left office with less jobs than when he took office never been done before.
Tommy yes I would like to see county help the city with some of there roads we do pay county taxes