84% of the 1,120 First United Methodist Church members present on Sunday, April 16 voted to disaffiliate from the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. (Official vote: Remain:166, Abstain: 14, Disaffiliate: 940). Methodist churches across the U.S. are leaving ‘United’ behind, and are striking out as independent churches, or are joining new factions such as the Global Methodist Church, the Free Methodist Church or the Congregational Methodist Church. Though a decision of where to go next looms for FUMC, the connection to the Louisiana UMC Conference is not yet completely severed.

On Saturday, May 27, the Louisiana Conference will hold a special session so that conferees can vote on whether to allow FUMC, along with two dozen other Louisiana churches, to disaffiliate. If it passes, FUMC will be an independent Methodist church beginning May 31.

First United Methodist Church Senior Pastor Steven Bell told KTBS News, “We will remain a Methodist church. We will be First Methodist Church of Shreveport.”

FUMC answers why they voted to disaffiliate

Statement from FUMC pastor Steven Bell about the decision

Information about different Methodist options

United Methodist Insight into disaffiliation

There are still United Methodist churches in Shreveport. According to KTBS,  Noel Memorial United Methodist ChurchBroadmoor United Methodist Church, and St. Luke United Methodist Church decided not to enter into what is called the ‘discernment process.’

Why is disaffiliation happening? Those who follow religion and churches say it is a combination of theology, local church control and official church doctrine. It is a story worth following.

Dallas Morning News Perspective

KTBS TV News Stories

A Deeper Look into the Split- New York Times