Grandview United Methodist Church announced Wednesday that it finalized its decision to re-form as a new congregation and will no longer be part of the United Methodist denomination.
The congregation will be known as Grandview Church, which goes into effect March 31.
April 4, Easter Sunday, will be the first Sunday it is “resurrected” as Grandview Church, according to a news release.
The announcement follows a worldwide reckoning of the United Methodist church as it grapples with the issue of human sexuality. Its Book of Discipline, which lays out the rules of the faith, declares that homosexuality directly conflicts with church beliefs.
In 2014, Grandview decided to be “active in its efforts to change UMC policies that are discriminatory toward LGBTQIA+ people,” according to the release.
“A 2019 vote by General Conference, the legislative body of the 12-million-member multinational denomination, hardened its anti-gay stances,” the release reads. “Grandview found this to be in conflict with Jesus’ teachings of love and in conflict with its Christ-centered calling to minister to all people, especially the marginalized.”
The 2019 the Disaffiliation Act allowed churches to separate for “reasons of conscience.” Grandview declared itself “open and affirming.” In October, churches of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference voted to allow Grandview to disaffiliate due to its stance on homosexuality.
The Eastern PA Conference laid out terms for Grandview’s disaffiliation. The Lancaster church will retain its property, including its 888 Pleasure Road home, but is required to pay a $607,000 fee. The church is borrowing the funds so it can continue to accomplish its ministries, according to the release.
Worship services are livestreamed at 9 a.m. Sundays. The congregation hopes to hold outdoor, masked, in-person worship on Easter Sunday, subject to change based on local COVID-19 case numbers at that time.