Glide Memorial Church has left the building as Elvis would say. After a long two year battle with the UMC denomination, the two have agreed to split. The California-Nevada Annual Conference and the former Glide Memorial UMC have reached a 6 million dollar settlement. With some 13,000 members in its congregation, Glide was one of the largest churches in the denomination.
Glide is located in San Francisco and at the urging of its pastor Cecil Williams has moved towards a very progressive position on sexuality, gay clergy and same sex marriage. This split is indicative of my previous posts on this subject, I have predicted that liberal pro-LGBTQIA+ congregations would leave the denomination regardless of the split.
The liberal and progressive arm of the UMC that pushed for the split of the denomination banked everything they had on retaining around 50% of the denomination and that especially included the gay contingent. Well, as we see with the departure of Glide, that’s not the case.
If you’re asking yourself why the pro-gay element of the denomination isn’t sticking with the UMC the answer is simple. The progressive arm of the UMC has already proven they will set aside church doctrine and law if they don’t agree with it. That’s unsettling to everyone including the gay contingent.
I have two predictions for you. First is that the post split progressive side of the denomination cannot survive financially after the split, and second that if your church already has gays in leadership, then the decision has already been made on which way your church will go.
Now, why do I say the post split UMC can’t survive financially. The General Council on Finance, the denominations accountants have already predicted such. Second, the UMC has inflated its membership numbers for decades. They count the dead and long departed members that don’t support the church financially. The UMC uses an archaic system to remove members from the rolls that takes about 3 years per member. Most churches have never executed this process and opted instead to continue carry numbers that don’t exist.
The bottom line is that if your church has not had a conversation about the split, it’s possible your leadership team or council has already made a decision for you.
The founders of Moyock Christian Fellowship split from the UMC in August 2019. We follow the trends and news affecting what is left of the once thriving denomination.