The west campus of the Asbury United Methodist Church in Wichita has split from the church’s central campus.
It also voted Thursday to separate from the United Methodist denomination.
“West campus Pastor Aaron Wallace acknowledged his frustration with some of the struggles occurring within the denomination,” the Rev. Rick Just, lead pastor at Asbury Church, said in a news release posted online. “He was emphatic that this was something he felt God called him to do, and him only. However, the west campus leadership responded by affirming that same calling.”
Wallace didn’t immediately answer a voice mail left at his office on Monday.
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A news release was posted Sunday on the Great Plains United Methodist Conference’s website.
According to that release, about 350 people attend the west campus, which was started by Asbury United Methodist Church about 10 years ago.
The release mentioned how the United Methodist Church is currently awaiting a ruling from the Judicial Council on the election of an openly gay bishop. It also mentioned how a group has been appointed to review language about human sexuality in the Book of Discipline, which currently affirms sexual relations only within monogamous, heterosexual marriage.
“Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. said clergy and laity throughout the United Methodist Church are in a season of waiting and discernment as members of the denomination experience varying levels of frustration with the impasse on human sexuality and the unity of the church,” the release said.
Saenz also issued a statement on Sunday asking members of the conference to “pray that the Holy Spirit would heal and comfort the congregation in these days and lead them with clear discernment for the next steps ahead.”