Exiting congregations face hefty price tag

Neil Sedaka summed it up best: Breaking up is hard to do.

For congregations that want to leave The United Methodist Church, a breakup also could get very expensive.

Delegates to the special General Conference in February approved two measures that enable churches to exit based on disagreements related to the status of LGBTQ people in the church.

The disaffiliation plan in effect suspends the denomination’s centuries-old U.S. trust clause under limited conditions. That means for the first time in its history, the denomination has set procedures for U.S. congregations to withdraw from the denomination and take their buildings with them.

Before a departure, those congregations could be on the hook for anywhere from tens of thousands to more than a million dollars.

Annual conferences — church regional bodies — have the final word on what their churches owe. As U.S. annual conferences meet this year, some already are reckoning with how to calculate those costs. 

Continue reading at umnews.org.