AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — On Sunday, members of the Amarillo United Methodist Community group began sharing facility space with St. Luke Presbyterian Church to host their services.
The change comes after some Amarillo churches disaffiliated from the United Methodist Church amid disagreements surrounding gay marriage and other issues.
Members who wanted to remain United Methodist formed a new United Methodist community.
“We are forming a new United Methodist community group that we hope that will lead to a United Methodist Church, said Gary Pinter, Chairman of the Leadership Group of Amarillo United Methodist Church. “Quite frankly, we needed a place to worship. And again, St. Luke was more than gracious to allow us to use their beautiful facility here.”
Methodist churches joined more than 400 Texas churches leaving the United Methodist Church.
“There has been disagreements on several theological issues, authority issues, the tipping point came with issues related to human sexuality, and the authority of scripture and the authority of, the church, dealing with those kinds of issues, said Darren Skinner, Presiding Elder for West Plains Conference of the Global Methodist Church.
Skinner continued, “Some of that was related to the acceptance of gay clergy, doing same sex weddings in churches and those kinds of things. So, it’s a global issue and a lot of the churches in this area, of course, are fairly conservative, fairly orthodox in their beliefs and that’s what I’m calling the tipping point.”
In March, Amarillo UMC began hosting services at different locations to have a place for displaced congregation members to worship. Representatives from St. Luke Presbyterian Church offered the group the chance to share facility space.
“Worshipping in a common facility is not historically unheard of,” said Pitner. “In fact, in the beginning of the Christian faith here in Amarillo, the Methodist, Baptist, the Christian church, and Presbyterians all worshiped at the same union church, in downtown Amarillo at the corner of seventh in Jackson Street.”
Both services are held at St. Luke Presbyterian church located at 3001 Bell Street. Amarillo UMC has its service at 9 a.m. St. Luke’s service follows at 11 a.m.