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'Be patient and remain focused on ministry': SC United Methodist Conference responds to breakaway denomination

The Global Methodist Church will launch on May 1 after leaders expressed frustration over same-sex marriage and openly gay clergy within the United Methodist Church.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Changes are coming to the United Methodist Church (UMC).

On Sunday, a breakaway denomination called the Global Methodist Church (GMC) will launch after denomination leaders expressed frustration over same-sex marriage and openly gay clergy within the UMC.

Global Methodist leadership is encouraging the more than 12 million members of the UMC to make plans to join them.

RELATED: United Methodist Church breaking up in schism over LGBT acceptance

However, according to the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, the UMC is still together and no official action to split can take place before the 2024 UMC General Conference.

In a statement to News19, Bishop L. Jonathan Holston, resident bishop of the South Carolina Conference, said: 

"A cacophony of voices have been offering details and conversations about the future of The United Methodist Church – what will happen and when. What we do know is that the General Conference – which won’t meet again until 2024 due to the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our international membership – is the only body that speaks for the denomination."

He went on to say that "as we seek clarity in the days and months to come, I am asking all South Carolina United Methodists to do two things: Be patient, and remain focused on ministry and our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world."

"The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church spells out a process through which a local church whose members disagree with the current language in The Book of Discipline can disaffiliate from the denomination. Local church leaders with questions about this are encouraged to contact their district superintendent, who has the most recent information available," he added.

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So far, the South Carolina Conference says no South Carolina churches have taken any official action to disaffiliate from the UMC.

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