ENTERPRISE, Ala. (WDHN) — In a weekend vote, another Wiregrass church has chosen to disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church and its Alabama West Florida Conference.
According to officials from the United Methodist Church, on Sunday, March 12, 207 members of the First United Methodist Church in downtown Enterprise voted to disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church and its Alabama West Florida Conference. 68 members voted to stay with the conference.
No specific reasons were given as to why the First United Methodist Church was leaving the denomination, but they would not be the first in the area.
In January, Harvest Church in Dothan chose to disaffiliate from the UMC with an astounding 99% vote.
Earlier this month another Dothan church, Covenant United Methodist, also voted to disaffiliate from the UMC. That vote ended with 87.5% choosing to leave.
UMC officials say a church needs a total vote of 68% to leave the denomination.
While many churches have chosen to leave, those departing are still a fraction of the estimated 30,000 congregations in the United States alone, according to recent UMC statistics.
Many believe the mass exodus is due in part to the denomination’s bans on same-sex marriages and ordaining openly LGBTQ clergy, though no churches in the Wiregrass area have claimed that as their reason for leaving.
On May 7, 2023, the United Methodist Church and its Alabama West Florida Conference will hold an annual zoom meeting with each of the churches in the denomination, and voting members of the conference will choose to ratify or not ratify the churches leaving.
The Associated Press contributed to this article