Disaffiliating Texas UMC Megachurch Launches New Denomination

Disaffiliating Texas UMC Megachurch Launches New Denomination

A Texas church that disaffiliated from the United Methodist Church last year says it is now part of the Methodist Collegiate Church, a denomination of one.

The Southlake, Texas, church, White’s Chapel, has a weekly worship attendance of about 2,000.

Rev. John McKeller told Religion News Service last year that the church would not be joining the Global Methodist Church, the growing network of conservative Methodist churches.

Many Methodist churches that have split from the official UMC have moved to the GMC. Since 2019, nearly 3,000 churches have formally disaffiliated from the UMC. About 2,000 of those have joined the GMC.

Meanwhile, the new denomination for White’s Chapel will reject “extreme positions,” the Rev. Larry Duggins, chancellor of the Methodist Collegiate Church, said.

“We are very deliberately building congregations that have different points of view, and are willing to talk to each other about it,” Duggins said.

Duggins said about 50 churches from six different states have reached out to the church about possibly joining the Methodist Collegiate Church.

White’s Chapel is waiting on official approval for disaffiliation before it can begin inviting other churches to its newly created denomination.

The Central Texas Conference is scheduled to meet June 4-6 in Waco and will likely approve the pending disaffiliation requests, including White’s Chapel.

Duggins said the new denomination will be made up of geographical colleges, similar to UMC conferences.

White’s Chapel will be the “Cathedral Church” of the first college, named Trinity College.

Each college will elect a dean, similar to a role of a bishop in the official UMC.

“Our dean of a college is much more of a coach and adviser and is not acting in the capacity of employer or boss,” Duggins said.

Duggins noted that the new denomination is focused on “connection and accountability.”

“We don’t want to build a huge hierarchy of people whose job it is to tell everybody else what to do,” he said.

“We have got to be able, if we’re to survive in the long run, and if our societies are going to survive in the long run, to find compromises that allow us to achieve the larger goal without having to disaffiliate with each other and go be part of a congregation who only thinks the way that we think,” he said.

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Christin Lola

Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.