AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)- 70 churches parted ways from the United Methodist Church after their announcement after years of division among the denomination.

Southeast District Superintendent and Senior Pastor Greg Porterfield at Wesley United Methodist says it’s important to remember why people join church in the first place.

“Affirming what they need, they are affirming that there is an unyet met that only God can fill and so when they decide to leave, it is not that primary nature that they’re appealing to.”

The process to disaffiliate began back in 2019 by the General Conference of the United Methodist Church, but the churches that have made their decisions have all been made on anticipated plans.

“This misconception in our polity of the church that there is a timeline and somebody has erroneously said that is December of ‘22. In fact, there is no language and there is no law that holds December ‘22 as a stop date,” Pastor Porterfield said.

Pastor Porterfield says the church is more successful together than they are apart.

“Division is a reflection of our internal self and our internal disunity and dissatisfaction. It’s an honest emotion, it’s just not our best nature,” Pastor Porterfield said.

We spoke to representatives at Quest Church who decided to move forward with disaffiliation as they released in a statement: 

“The intensifying division in our denomination has become a significant distraction from Quest Church’s primary mission and purpose in our community and world, thus the reason for our disaffiliation.” 

Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson of the North Georgia Conference prayed that the congregations be blessed upon departing.