Friday, December 19, 2014

Methodist Church that Forced Out Gay Choir Director to Close Following 80% Membership Decline

Nearly one year ago, I wrote about First United Methodist Church in Alexandria, IN. It seems that the church's interim minister had a problem with the church's openly gay choir director. He set up a situation so that the choir director quit his job. He then fired one of the long-time lay leaders over this personnel matter and refused to hire back the choir director. As a result of this situation, 80% of the membership left this church. A commenter in this post noted that average worship attendance had been around 75 people prior to the firing.

That membership decline apparently never turned around. First United Methodist Church will close on December 31, 2014. It's final worship service will be held on December 28th.

Rev. David Mantor denies that the closing has anything to do with Adam Fraley's employment termination:
David Mantor, pastor of the church, said the decision to close the church resulted from falling attendance, membership and financing problems. Mantor said statistics he's seen from United Methodist Church headquarters show a "downward spiral" of membership and donations across the whole UM church for the past 30 years.

"This is a problem that's going on everywhere," Mantor said. "And that's why we're closing."
It's true that the church suffered a "downward spiral" of membership and donations, but this was a fairly significant drop within the past year. I think he's spinning the statistics a bit to make himself feel less responsible about this church closing. IMHO, as always

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