Colton congregation ‘split right down the middle’ forms new church

Published: Jun. 9, 2023 at 4:16 PM EDT
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COLTON, New York (WWNY) - Congregations around the nation are severing ties with the United Methodist Church over LGBTQ disagreements. But one congregation in St. Lawrence County split from UMC for a different reason.

Bruce Winters is helping set up for Saturday’s inaugural celebration of the Colton Community Church.

The congregation separated from the United Methodist Church, as have thousands of congregations around the country. Some congregations feel the church isn’t traditional enough when it comes to the LGBTQ community.

In Colton, the congregation just wanted to stay together.

“We made a decision to not go traditionalist or progressive, so we became an independent church. We’re not affiliated with any denomination at this point because our congregation was split right down the middle,” said Winters, treasurer of Colton Community Church.

According to outreach coordinator Sandra Worden, Colton Community Church’s decision to disaffiliate with the United Methodist denomination has brought the church new members.

“It opens many doors. We’ve had various new members coming. We’ve had more people coming to our church than we’ve had in the past. We’re a very friendly, caring, loving church and we’re hoping to continue to grow,” she said.

Winters says that as the church grows, look for it to help with students and their schooling.

“We’re going to open up the church for children in the community who may not have high-speed internet access and maybe do some tutoring,” he said.

The Colton Community Church’s official opening is Saturday where the community can enjoy food, music and games.

In order to leave, Colton Community Church had to pay $20,000 to the United Methodist Church, and now owns the property.