Metro church may separate from United Methodist Church after dispute over new pastor

MARIETTA, Ga. — One of the largest church congregations in the Southeast may break away from the United Methodist Church.

Mt. Bethel Church in Cobb County is considering disaffiliating after its congregation disagreed on the appointment of a new pastor.

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The Marietta church is one of the largest congregations associated with the UMC in the Southeast with more than 10,000 members.

The church is now looking to become independent.

“I think we need a divorce from the big methodist church,” church member Marynette Bollinger told Channel 2′s Elizabeth Rawlins. “I think we are too far gone to have reconciliation. I think we need a divorce so that we can start our church that’s in line with what we believe.”

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Historically, the UMC filters pastors in and out every few years. When the time came time to change pastors, the pastor and congregation both said no. The feud has been going on since April.

“We were a church that was minding our own business and we feel that was disrupted,” church member John Lively said.

A congregation of this size breaking from the church would be an unprecedented move.

The church has already started the disaffiliation process, but it must be approved at the next UMC conference, which is scheduled for 2022.

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It is unclear why this congregation feels so strongly about pushing back against the UMC.

In the last year, however, many methodist churches around the country have decided to break away, citing disagreement with the church’s stance on the LGBTQ+ community.