Local church disaffiliates with United Methodist Church
The change is obvious when you drive by the church on McFarland Boulevard. Saint Mark United Methodist Church is now Saint Mark Church. The church has served Northport and the Tuscaloosa area for more than six decades.
When senior pastor Bo Lloyd was ordained into the United Methodist Church he never dreamed he and his congregation would leave the UMC.
“I have been Methodist all my life,” Lloyd said. “I was brought up in a Methodist church in Cullman, Alabama. Baptized there and spent my whole life being Methodist. I never thought we would leave. I understand and have heard from both sides. The grief we feel is almost like there has been a death in the family as we have separated and gone in two different directions.”
Earlier this month, the congregation voted nearly unanimously to withdraw their affiliation with UMC. And they weren’t alone; 197 other Alabama churches left with them. It was widely reported that one of the main points of contention was United Methodist Churches ordaining homosexuals as pastors.
Pastor Bo Lloyd said it wasn’t just that.
“For us that was on that list, but it was down the list,” Lloyd said. “Our questions were the authority of scripture, the integrity of scripture, every Sunday we say the Apostles Creed. We go through the Tenets of faith that have been there 2,000 years. It is the question of wrestling with those Tenets of faith: the virgin birth of Jesus, the resurrection of Jesus, things that are so valuable to who we are as Christians that were being questioned.”
Pastor Lloyd said his congregation is now focused on its future. The word “united” may no longer be in its name, but it’s still clearly who they are.
“My true thought is – it is more important to all of us that we are united together in faith and we can live with our differences,” Lloyd said. “I think that it’s perfect that this year New Year’s day is a Sunday. On that Sunday morning my sermon title is going to be A New Beginning. We are going to begin to took forward, remembering the past, but looking forward to what God has in store for the future because St. Mark is a place for everyone to belong. It is a place where we challenge and equip everyone to grow in faith so we can make a difference in Northport and in the world for Jesus. ”