Two Iberia Parish Churches Among Dozens Leaving United Methodist Church Over LGBT Issues
IBERIA PARISH, La. (KPEL News) - As issues on same-sex marriage and LGBT clergy cause a rift in the United Methodist Church, two Iberia Parish Methodist churches joined more than 50 others in disaffiliating with the national denomination.
First UMC of New Iberia and Lydia UMC of Lydia are just two of the 58 Louisiana churches no longer affiliated with the national UMC after a conference vote on Saturday.
The Louisiana disaffiliations will take effect at the end of December, according to church officials. The Louisiana conference is expected to have a new bishop in 2023, according to The Advocate. Delores Williamston will be the conference's first Black female bishop.
Nationally, the UMC has more than 6 million members, but there has been a growing rift within the church over LGBT issues.
Why the Split?
Several non-Catholic denominations in the U.S. have been grappling with the growing acceptance of same-sex marriage in the country and how it might be at odds with traditional doctrine.
There are currently two main issues at play. The first issue is whether or not to recognize same-sex marriage. While they were legalized after a Supreme Court ruling, there are still questions within churches as to whether or not to recognize those marriages and whether or not to allow same-sex ceremonies in their churches.
The other issue stems from that whether or not to allow LGBT clergy in these churches. Episcopal, Lutheran, and Presbyterian churches have also been grappling with these issues, with the Episcopal church seen as one of the most progressive of the denominations.