Exiting Methodists take church property

More than 130 congregations have split from the United Methodist Church using a conscience clause to leave with church property ahead of an official division over LGBT issues. Methodist bylaws say that all property is held in trust of the denomination, using legal language put in place by John Wesley and Francis Asbury. In 2019, however, a special general conference created an exemption. Congregations can leave with property if they exit for reasons of conscience, approve departure with a two-thirds vote, and finish by late 2023. It is unclear whether the departing churches will form a new denomination or become nondenominational. The next general conference, where Methodist delegates will be asked to vote on “A Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation,” is scheduled for late August.

Support for church choirs disappears

The last of the major publishers of church choir music has closed its doors. Brentwood Benson, which published the Ready to Sing series that was a staple for many small-church choirs, announced its closure in December 2021. The Lorenz Corporation, which was founded in 1890 and absorbed Word Music in 2017, went bankrupt during the COVID-19 pandemic. And Lifeway Christian Resources stopped publishing physical choral music, though it will still produce some material in a digital format. The changing landscape is attributed to the rapid decline in church choirs, compounded by the disruption of COVID-19.

COVID-19 lawsuit dismissed

Bolivia’s Minister of Justice disqualified an Association of Evangelical Churches lawsuit over COVID-19 vaccine passports. The churches, joined by a labor leader and two doctors known for promoting unproven treatments ...

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