For the past several years, the UMC has been dealing with increasingly divisive debate over whether to change its official stance on homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
According to the UMC Book of Discipline, homosexuality is “incompatible with Christian teaching,” with the denomination's rule book banning clergy from blessing same-sex unions, as well as barring the ordination of people in same-sex romantic relationships.
The UMC had originally intended to consider a measure to allow theologically conservative churches to amicably leave the denomination to end the debate at its 2020 General Conference;. However, the COVID-19 pandemic postponed the gathering to the fall of 2022.
In March, the UMC declared that it would again delay the General Conference to 2024, citing ongoing travel matters related to pandemic lockdown.
Organizers of the Global Methodist Church denounced the decision, with the latest postponement leading them to decide to launch their conservative denomination in May instead of their previous plan to launch after the General Conference.