Update on Connectional Discernment at Lauderdale UMC

2/22/2017

Dear Mississippi United Methodists, 

Grace and peace to each of you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

It is with a wounded spirit that I inform you today that 79 persons who were members of Lauderdale United Methodist Church in the Meridian District resigned their membership in The United Methodist Church at a called church conference Sunday, February 19, 2017. 
 
Following several months of prayer, discernment and discussions, these sisters and brothers in Christ felt that they could no longer retain their membership in The United Methodist Church. These former members go with our love and continued prayers as they strive to live out God’s call upon their lives. The former Lauderdale UMC appointed pastors, Jody Pittman and Ben Jones-both local pastors- surrendered their credentials on this day as well.
 
Lauderdale United Methodist Church now moves forward as a fractured but determined United Methodist congregation. The Meridian District and the Mississippi Annual Conference leadership will resource them with intentional revitalization strategies. Lauderdale United Methodist Church continues to offer a United Methodist presence in their local community. They solicit our prayers and they welcome any and all to join them in worship on Sundays at 11:00 a.m. The appointive cabinet is now working to appoint an interim pastor to this local congregation and community.
 
In closing, I call upon all in the United Methodist connection to hold these dear friends very close in our daily prayers. May we continue striving to be faithful Christ-like witnesses in the world around us.

In Christ,

Bishop James E. Swanson, Sr.

Steven P. “Rusty” Keen
Meridian District Superintendent 

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