Stump The Pastor: Why Can’t I Hold Membership in Two United Methodist Churches
Occasionally I am approached by a person and/or a family asking to accept them into a membership of a church that I am pastoring. As long as these persons/families are not members of any other church (United Methodist or any other denomination) or are willing to transfer their membership, I meet with them four times for counseling sessions and then accept them into membership of a church that I am leading.
Problems arise when these persons do not wish to give up their membership in the other church. According to the Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church, a person can be a member of only one local UMC church. That person can enter into an Affiliate Membership with another United Methodist church (see paragraph # 227 of the Book of Discipline, “. . . that person shall be counted and reported as a professing member of the home church only.”)
The paragraph # 241 of the Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church further states that when a person joins a church of another denomination pastor can write ‘Removed” by their name. In that case documentation is not required; the only requirement is that pastor finds “confirmation” that the members transferred their membership.