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(WHNT) — Several Methodist churches across Alabama and the country are choosing to leave the denomination – with one even putting a restraining order on itself – which may have you scratching your head.

According to the people of The United Methodist Church, the disaffiliation is over a paragraph added to the church’s “Book of Discipline” in 2019, addendum 2553, because of conflict over “issues of human sexuality.”

1. Because of the current deep conflict within The United Methodist Church around issues of human sexuality, a local church shall have a limited right, under the provisions of this paragraph, to disaffiliate from the denomination for reasons of conscience regarding a change in the requirements and provisions of the Book of Discipline related to the practice of homosexuality or the ordination or marriage of self-avowed practicing homosexuals as resolved and adopted by the 2019 General Conference, or the actions or inactions of its annual conference related to these issues which follow.

Paragraph 2553, UMC Book of Discipline

The Methodist Church is the third-largest religious body in the United States, behind Catholics and Southern Baptists.

Differences over same-sex marriages and ordinations of LGBTQ clergy have been an ongoing issue for years in the UMC, and it all seemed to come to a head in 2019 at a conference in St. Louis. Delegates then voted 438-384 to strengthen bans on LGBTQ-inclusive practices, with a majority of U.S.-based delegates opposing the plan and favoring LGBTQ-friendly options.

However, those delegates were outvoted by U.S. conservatives, teamed with most of the delegates from Methodist strongholds in Africa and the Philippines.

Following that meeting, there were several moderate and liberal clergy who made it abundantly clear that they wouldn’t abide by the bans, as several groups began to draw up proposals to let the UMC split along “theological lines.”

Even though the denomination has voted time and again to keep its traditional stance on marriage as being between one man and one woman, conservatives have complained that progressives continue to ignore the rules, adding that the denomination doesn’t enforce its own ban on the blessing of same-sex marriages.

With a majority of churches expected to disaffiliate, there is a certain lingering expectation that those remaining in the United Methodist Church would be expected to reverse its longstanding bans on the ordination of openly gay clergy and same-sex marriage.

The General Conference is the only legislative body that could approve a tentative agreement to allow churches and regional groups to leave the denomination and keep their properties.

Under current rules, churches that choose to leave will have to negotiate to take their property with them, along with the possibility that they may have to pay for clergy pension liabilities and apportionments to the annual UMC General Conference.

On May 1, 2022, a group of “theologically conservative” United Methodist churches launched a brand new worldwide breakaway group, the Global Methodist Church (GMC), after a pandemic-related delay to a formalized divorce agreement with their own denomination.

According to, the church was “organized by conservatives who were fed up with liberal churches’ continued defiance of the United Methodist Church’s bans on same-sex marriage and the ordination of openly gay clergy.”

Organizers of GMC decided to launch the denomination after the UMC General Conference was delayed until 2024 after it had already been pushed off twice due to the pandemic.

The General Conference is the only legislative body that could approve a tentative agreement to allow churches and regional groups to leave the denomination and keep their properties.

Despite many conservative congregations disaffiliating from the UMC and joining the GMC, many are still opting to stay put until the 2024 meeting, when a plan can be adopted to make leaving the UMC easier.

A pro-LGBTQ advocacy group within the UMC, “Reconciling Ministries,” according to the Associated Press, says they will “continue to work for the fullness of life for God’s LGBTQ+ children, no matter when the next General Conference is held.”