HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Christ United Methodist Church in Horry County is hoping to leave the Methodist denomination to avoid a debate over the United Methodist Church’s views on homosexuality.
United Methodist Church leaders will gather Feb. 23 through Feb. 26 in St. Louis to clarify the church’s position on homosexuality by examining parts of The Book of Discipline.
Pastor Jeff Dunn of Christ United Methodist Church submitted a letter to United Methodist Church leaders, asking permission to leave the denomination so as to avoid the debate.
Dunn said the United Methodist Church is putting him in a position he would rather not be in.
“It’s put the people within the church, pastors and churches in a place of appearing to either be condemning of homosexual people or condoning of homosexual practice, and neither one of those ... we believe are God’s will,” Dunn said.
He added the decision did not come lightly. It took several months of discussion, prayer and thought among fellow church leaders and his congregation to make the decision to ask to leave the denomination.
Dunn said about 98 percent of his congregation that was polled ended up agreeing with the decision to ask to leave. He noted there are many homosexual members of his congregation, and he doesn’t want to make them feel alienated.
If the request is approved, Christ United Methodist Church would become Christ United Church and they would be non-denominational.
Dunn is expecting to hear from United Methodist Church leaders regarding the request some time after the conference in February.