On Saturday, August 5, the Florida United Methodist Conference gathered for a special session to approve the disaffiliation of 46 churches in the Florida Conference. There are roughly 500 churches, so this was about 9% of our conference. This was the second disaffiliation we have sat through this year, and it was a sad moment of reflection. If you are wondering if what we are going through now in the United Methodist Church is new and unprecedented, you would be wrong.
The United Methodist church has a history of splits and reconciliation through the years. In the 1700’s there were splits due to racist policies in the church. In the 1800’s there another split which formed the Free Methodist church who longed for freedom of enslaved people, pews, and perceived abuse of episcopal power. While the disaffiliation can feel disheartening, it is important to note that from change also comes new growth, new moments of the Spirit, and new expressions of God’s grace. While there is a lot of misinformation out there that can scare us to death about the future of the Methodist Church, I thought I would share a look at the overall picture of what is happening in the United States. Yes, we are sad for any loss of churches from the United Methodist Church, but we also know God is always faithful. His Church will always stand. We put our trust in Him to help us maneuver though the changes before us.
For St. Andrews, we are waiting for the General Conference of 2024 to see what happens and make any decisions that need to me make with all the facts from that event. Continue to pray wisdom and guidance for us as a church and as a beacon of God’s ever-present grace.