We want to briefly address some of the questions and concerns about Live Oak Church’s decision to disaffiliate from the United Methodist denomination.
As a United Methodist Church, Live Oak has unfortunately faced the struggle of being part of a denomination that has lost its way. The UMC has swiftly drifted from Biblical truth by supporting and affirming those that no longer teach the infallibility of the Word of God, supporting and affirming bishops, pastors, and seminary professors that deny the Deity of Jesus Christ, celebrating sexual expressions that the denomination officially states is incompatible with Christian teaching, certifying drag queen pastors as candidates for United Methodist ministry focused on giving children’s sermons, promoting social justice instead of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, and many other activities and teachings antithetical to our historical Christian faith.
In spite of the deep love many have for the Methodist tradition, the fractures and flaws of the institution are too deep to ignore. Several of the largest UMC churches in the Louisiana Annual conference will leave the denomination in 2022. Over 1,500 churches across the United States have already disaffiliated, and that number is expected to reach as many as 5,000 churches by the end of 2023. Many congregations across the nation, and the world, stand in solidarity with Live Oak Church.
Many have asked “why disaffiliate now?” Simply put, the window that only recently opened is already closing fast, and the risk of staying in the UMC is great. Live Oak Church has not and does not receive financial support from the LA Annual Conference, however, the conference owns all of Live Oak Church’s property, equipment, bank accounts, and other assets. As such, members of our local community of faith ultimately do not have control of the direction, staff, or destiny of our own church. When we disaffiliate, the members of Live Oak Church will.
Live Oak Church is strong - filled with trusted and proven community leaders and representatives from area schools, businesses, non-profits and many other organizations that serve on the committees and boards that govern the Church. The church staff and lay leadership, over 75 different people serving on the Trustees (property), Finance, and PPR (personnel) committees, and the Administrative Board, have concluded after an extensive 24 month process to move forward with disaffiliation from the United Methodist Church, and not to affiliate with any other denomination at this time. Live Oak will remain true to our current statement of faith, structural polity of governance, and mission and ministries that have sustained the church for over 150 years as we step into the future.
The structure already in place is time-tested and will continue to serve as the governing structure of Live Oak Church, with staff and lay leaders working together to accomplish our mission of leading people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ through the teaching and preaching of God’s Word.
Live Oak Church is not disaffiliating from the UMC in order to change, but rather to continue to be who we are.
The members of Live Oak Church will vote to formally disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church Sunday October 30, 2022 at 2:00pm. Doors for sign-in will open at 1:00pm, and only those members signed in prior to the meeting beginning at 2:00pm will be eligible to vote.
We are grateful for the support and cooperation of our District Superintendent Rev. Jan Curwick and Bishop Rev. Cynthia Fierro Harvey as they have been very helpful through the disaffiliation process. The leadership of Live Oak Church cannot say enough to express how much we respect and appreciate the character of these two church leaders.
Live Oak Church has been a beacon of hope and healing in the Watson community for over 150 years, and the 2020’s have been no different! Over the past year, Live Oak Church has welcomed 74 new members, dedicated 18 children to the Lord, celebrated 31 baptisms, and our people have given more to date this year in tithes and offerings than ever before. We are eager to see God’s continued blessing upon Live Oak Church as we move forward in His Will and remain focused on our accomplishing our mission.