249 congregations within the United Methodist Church in North Carolina are leaving the church over disagreements regarding LGBT marriage.

The North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church gathered for a special called annual conference at Methodist University in Fayetteville.

The North Carolina Conference is made up of churches from 56 counties in Eastern Carolina.

Some of the area churches that choose to leave are:

Beech Grove (New Bern), Belgrade (Belgrade), Bethlehem (Bogue), Broad Creek (Morehead City), Campbell's Creek (Aurora), Cedar Island (Cedar Island), Core Creek (Newport), Cypress Creek (Trenton), Epworth (Vanceboro), Faith (New Bern), Farmville (Farmville), First (Havelock), First (Morehead City), Franklin Memorial (Morehead City), Garber (New Bern), Harkers Island (Harkers Island), Haw Branch (Richlands), Hookerton (Hookerton), Lane's Chapel (Dover), Lee's Chapel (Pollocksville), Maysville (Maysville), Merrimon (Merrimon), Midway (Stella), Mt. Herman (Lizzie), North River (Beaufort), Pamlico (Oriental), Reelsboro (New Bern), Rhems (New Bern), Richlands (Richlands), Salter Path (Salter Path), Sea Level (Cedar Island), Shady Grove (Kinston), Stacy (Stacy), Stonewall (Stonewall), Straits (Beaufort), Tabernacle (Maysville), Tabernacle (Walstonburg),Trenton (Trenton), Trinity (Jacksonville), Tuttle's Grove (Beaufort), Vanceboro (Vanceboro), Verona (Jacksonville), Warren Chapel, Williston (Williston), Woodington (Kinston).

“The complete process requires a two-thirds approval vote of eligible church members in each church wishing to disaffiliate and then ratification by a majority of the members of Annual Conference,” the North Carolina conference said in a press release.

The result of the conference vote was 957 yes to approve disaffiliation and 165 no.

According to the church, the 249 disaffiliating churches represent 32% of the congregations in the conference and around 22 percent of the membership.

“Rev. Dr. Smith called for a ruling by Bishop Fairley as to whether the Conference could approve disaffiliation agreements for churches that were not based on Discipline Paragraph 2553, which specifically is about disagreement on matters of human sexuality. Bishop Fairley has 30 days after the special session to make a ruling, which will then go to the denomination’s Judicial Council. The Judicial Council is the church’s highest judicial body,” the conference said.

The conference in its press release said that most of the local church votes were not unanimous.

Ratified disaffiliations are effective Dec. 31, 2022, if the church completes all parts of the agreement by that date.

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