ARKANSAS. (KTVE/KARD) –Thirty-five churches, including six in Southwest Arkansas, voted to disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church due to their opposition to LGBTQ inclusion.

The Arkansas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church has voted to agree to the disaffiliation of 35 member congregations leaving the United Methodist Church.

These churches from around the state that decided to break away cited their reasons for “the practice of homosexuality or the ordination or marriage of self-avowed practicing homosexuals.” Many congregations are opposed to the United Methodist Church’s stance on accepting same-sex marriage.

A special session was called on November 19, 2022, to decide whether or not the congregations would be allowed to disaffiliate themselves. All current Arkansas Annual Conference clergy members, including appointed local pastors, were authorized to participate.

These congregations voted unanimously on disaffiliation: Amity, Asbury (Magnolia), Bellefonte, Bethesda Campground, Bland Chapel, Bruce Memorial, Dalark, Delight, Hebron (Carlisle), Hinton, Holly Springs (Sparkman), Holly Springs (Texarkana), Kibler, Mount Zion (Lonoke), Parker’s Chapel, Saint John (Hope), Saint Mark (El Dorado), Saint Paul (El Dorado), Sparkman, the Journey (Cabot), Washington and Westside.

The remaining congregations that voted for disaffiliation were: Heritage (Van Buren) (98%), Mountainside (94%), Alma (91%), Grace (Conway) (87%), Smyrna (87%), Mount Tabor (Cabot) (86%), Saint Paul (Searcy) (86%), Heber Springs First (85%), Stuttgart First (82%), Piney Grove (81%), Cabot (79%), Siloam Springs (78%), Christ (Texarkana) (72%), Fordyce First (715), Searcy First (71%) and Jonesboro First (69%).

Conference members rejected the disaffiliation agreements from three churches: Jonesboro First United Methodist Church, Cabot United Methodist Church, and Searcy First United Methodist Church.