Global membership in the United Methodist Church passed the 12.5 million mark in 2012, reaching a record number for the denomination, according to recently released statistics.
Despite continuing its decline in the United States, the UMC maintained a trend of growth in developing countries, which greatly contributed to reaching the record number.
A UMC spokesperson provided The Christian Post with a statement from Scott Brewer, associate general secretary of the UMC General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA). "In 2012, The United Methodist Church continued to see its greatest growth centered in Africa and the Philippines," said Brewer. "Although there are also conferences in the United States and Europe that also reported increases…the greatest growth is found in what's often referred to as the Global South." more >>
A United Methodist Church bishop in Texas has ruled that a lesbian's clergy candidacy in the denomination can proceed, reversing a preemptive rejection from officials.
Bishop James Dorff of the Southwest Texas Conference stated Thursday that Mary Ann Kaiser's candidacy could not be removed by the Board of Ordained Ministry without going through the proper process.
"Since the action of the Clergy Session was to uphold the action of the Board of Ordained Ministry, and the action of the Board of Ordained Ministry was not in keeping with the Discipline, I rule that Ms. Kaiser remains a Candidate for Ministry and is due full examination, including an interview, by the Board of Ordained Ministry," stated Dorff. more >>
A congregation that was once the largest Presbyterian Church (USA) church in Texas has been encouraged by its new affiliation with a more conservative body.
Highland Park Presbyterian Church of Dallas, which terminated its voluntary affiliation with PC (USA) earlier this year over theological differences, decided to join the Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians, (ECO), a recently created and more theologically conservative Reform body.
The Rev. Joe Rightmyer, Highland Park's interim senior pastor, told The Christian Post that the relationship between his congregation and ECO has been going strong. more >>
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints posted an official statement on Friday denouncing its previous theories that black skin color is a sign of a divine curse, or that black people are descended from the biblical figure Cain, and said that its past ban on black priests stemmed from an announcement from former church president Brigham Young in 1852.
"The Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else," the 2,000 word statement on the official church website read. "Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form."
While the ban on black priests was lifted in 1978, The Associated Press and other sources have pointed out that there had never been much in the way of explanation from the church for its past stance. more >>
A Texas diocese that opted to break away from The Episcopal Church over theological differences has filed a legal response before the state supreme court.
The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth filed Friday in response to TEC's motion for a rehearing regarding the legal dispute over the name and property of the diocese. In the 17-page document, the breakaway diocesan leadership argued that TEC's lawsuit over the property should be dismissed.
"TEC has no more control over Appellants' property or affairs than Royal Dutch Shell has over the property or affairs of ExxonMobil," reads the response in part. "The Court noted probable jurisdiction of this direct appeal two years ago. By May 2014, it will have been on this Court's docket for three years. It is time to dispose of it." more >>
Church leaders around the world have paid tribute to the late Nelson Mandela, with Pope Francis praying that people will follow the example of justice and common good set forth by South Africa's first-ever black president.
"In commending the soul of the deceased to the infinite mercy of Almighty God, I ask the Lord to console and strengthen all who mourn his loss," Francis wrote in a telegram on Friday, sending his condolences to Mandela's family and all the people in South Africa.
"Paying tribute to the steadfast commitment shown by Nelson Mandela in promoting the human dignity of all the nation's citizens and in forging a new South Africa built on the firm foundations of non-violence, reconciliation and truth, I pray that the late President's example will inspire generations of South Africans to put justice and the common good at the forefront of their political aspirations." more >>