FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Dozens of Arkansas congregations are disaffiliating from the United Methodist Church.
The 67 total congregations disaffiliated after a special meeting in Hot Springs on May 13. Greenwood and Midland Heights Church in Fort Smith are two of the churches that disaffiliated.
Pastor Dan Williams said Midland Height’s beliefs no longer aligned with the United Methodist Church. Williams said it’s been hard seeing the divide within the United Methodist Church.
“To me, it’s a family and so it’s like, it’s pretty much like a divorce, and no one wins,” Williams said.
The division has stemmed from differing beliefs on homosexuality.
“We’re going to teach the Bible, we believe in the authenticity of the Scriptures and so, we’d love everybody, but we also believe there’s that high form of love that is spiritual, and that it requires a certain discipline within that,” Williams said.
Midland Heights will now be an independent church.
Bishop of the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church Laura Merrill released the following statement after the weekend’s meeting.
“Today was a difficult day for the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church, but I am grateful for the grace that Conference members extended to each other and to me as we accomplished our work. I look forward to healing and continued ministry with United Methodists who lost their church home today, and I trust that God will open a new and fruitful path before us. We will move forward in faith, sharing the love and hope of Jesus Christ with our neighbors.”Bishop Laura Merrill, Arkansas Conference of United Methodist Church
The 67 churches that disaffiliated are:
Adona, Almyra, Alpena, Altheimer, Bayou Meto, Bearden, Bismarck, Bradley, Brasfield, Briggsville, Buena Vista, Caraway, Cecil, Cedar Grove (Yellville), Chickalah, Christ United, Congo, Dardanelle First, Dumas Memorial, Everton, Gillett, Good Hope, Griffin Memorial, Harmony (Emmet), Harmony Grove, Hartman, Hebron (New Edinburgh), Hickory Ridge, Holiday Hills, Horatio First, Hunter, Junction City, Leachville, Liberty Hall, Little Missouri, Mabelvale, Manila, McNeil, Midland Heights, Morning Star, Mount Olivet, Mountain View (Mena), Naylor, New Salem, Norman, Piggott First, Plainview, Pleasant Hill (Texarkana), Pleasant Ridge, Plummerville, Red Hill, Rondo, Salem Palestine, Shiloh (Dry Fork), Shiloh (Jonesboro), Tilton, Trinity (Gurdon), Vesta, Wesley Cotter, and Wye Mountain
Previously, more than 30 Arkansas congregations also disaffiliated from the United Methodist Church.