LABELLE -- On April 17, the members of LaBelle’s Carlson Memorial United Methodist Church took the first step toward disaffiliation with the United Methodist Conference. At a meeting presided over by the Southwest Florida District Superintendent, 95% of the members cast secret ballots in favor of leaving the United Methodist denomination.
Citing disagreement over changes in application of United Methodist theology, Carlson joins a long list of churches opting to leave the conference. The Carlson congregation will continue worship in the Methodist doctrine, but more in-line with traditional Biblical doctrines. Once the disaffiliation petition completes its way through the Florida United Methodist conference, Carlson’s leadership team will review available options for the congregation to consider.
More than a year ago Carlson’s congregation formed a Transitional Advisory Committee. Since that time the church has engaged in prayerful examination and study for the best future direction for Carlson, the congregation and the LaBelle community. The first Methodist Church was established here more than 130 years ago. In 1937 it was renamed to honor Reverend Carlson and his wife who were killed in a hurricane. In 1968 Carlson became part of the United Methodist denomination when several different Methodist groups merged with the United Brethren Church.
Carlson’s Leadership team stressed that the present pastor and staff will continue and the church will diligently continue its efforts to serve God, share the gospel, and win hearts and souls for Christ.