If Your Church Is Leaving You . . .
By Rev. Keith Turman | 2023-09-21 | 3 min read
First United Methodist Church Waynesville has become a Lighthouse Congregation. Lighthouse Congregations are local United Methodist Churches in the Western North Carolina Conference that are trained and equipped to welcome individuals or groups whose churches are disaffiliating. If you find yourself in this situation—if your church is leaving you, but you want to remain United Methodist, we first want you to know that we see you. We love you. And we will help guide you. As a Lighthouse Congregation, we will provide you a resting place. We will care for you and provide you a haven of peace and grace. We will be here for you during this difficult time.
Our commitment to you is genuine—and it is official. The Leadership Team at FUMC Waynesville voted unanimously to join the growing number of congregations in our United Methodist connection that want to be a healing presence during this very painful time.
We are committed to you in the following ways:
FUMC Waynesville will remain a United Methodist Church. We are not leaving. We will remain committed to be in ministry with and for everyone in our community. We believe each person is created in the image of God and is of infinite worth. Our commitment is to welcome and affirm persons of every race, socioeconomic status, family make-up, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, mental and physical ability, and faith history. We invite all people to join us on our journey as we strive to practice loving acceptance of each person and respectful discussion of our differences.
We will provide a welcoming place to belong during this time of grief and transition, which might be for just a season, or for a lifetime. This includes a safe space with caring relationships, listening hearts, and unconditional love within a congregation that is confident it is remaining in the UMC.
We will offer opportunities for worship, discipleship, and mission, with no pressure to ever join this church.
We will help you find and connect with other individuals and groups who are displaced by disaffiliating churches, and connect you with Conference and District resources to help you discern your next steps as you consider a new church home and new possibilities.
So, if you find yourself in this situation—if your church is leaving you, but you want to remain United Methodist, please call me. I want to know your story. I want to pray with you during this time of pain and grief. I want to dream with you, and hope with you for a brighter future.