Mt. Vernon's First United Methodist, Methodist no more.

Ethan Gray

The sign in front of the former First United Methodist Church at 621 W. Sloan Street, Mt. Vernon no longer includes the United Methodist insignia, but the logo of the newly formed Family of Christ Church. (Photo by Ryan Squibb)

Local church separates from denomination over LGBTQ+ rights

The First United Methodist Church in Mt. Vernon has decided to leave the United Methodist denomination. The change of heart comes after a harsh schism in the Methodist community caused by LGBTQ+ rights. The church has since rebranded, now calling itself the Family of Christ Church. They are not the first to withdraw from the denomination, many churches in Missouri and across the nation are choosing to do the same because of the recent discussion toward support of same-sex marriage and the ordaining of homosexual individuals. According to recent numbers, more than 4,000 total churches have disaffiliated.

Pastor Donnie Hudson discussed why the Family of Christ Church felt so moved to carry out this change.

"They are going toward ordaining homosexuals, and full inclusion of LGBTQ+ and we don't agree with that," Hudson said.

Many Methodists' move towards acceptance is what has caused this infighting, but that deviciveness is another main factor in the Family of Christ's split.

"It got to the point where there was such a conflict between those who didn't and those who did." said Hudson, referring to those who wanted LGBTQ+ acceptance in the denomination.

The denomination allowed them and others to withdraw their church, which many others in the area are also doing. According to Hudson, more than 75 churches in Missouri alone have left the Methodist denomination. But not every church that disagrees with these practices have left the church.

"There is still some pushback, some pastors and groups have decided to stay with the Methodist Church and still resist," Hudson added.

The new church held an event Sunday, June 11, to celebrate the change. The event was supposed to be outdoors and feature some party inflatables for kids, as well as a dunk tank but festivities had to be moved inside due to a downpour of rain. The congregation stayed in high spirits, however, choosing to see this conflict as a new beginning for their church.

"This is not really a celebration of leaving," said Hudson. "This is a celebration of a new chapter."


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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