Important News from Mt. Bethel UMC

For more than 175 years, Mt. Bethel UMC has been a staple in the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church. We are a thriving and growing congregation motivated by the love and grace, and the life and teachings of Jesus, to love and serve our neighbors here in Marietta, the greater Atlanta area, and around the world as Jesus would have us do.

Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson announced on April 5 the removal of Dr. Jody Ray, who has faithfully served as our senior pastor for nearly five years, for appointment to a still evolving assignment on the Conference staff related to racial reconciliation.

Despite Dr. Ray’s decline of the newly created position and multiple requests from church leadership to have him remain in the Senior Pastor role at our church, North Georgia leadership was insistent.

On April 26, Dr. Ray surrendered his credentials as an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. Our pastor’s actions were done with a heavy heart, but also with a clear conscience.

Dr. Ray is not ending his relationship with Mt. Bethel UMC and the people he dearly loves. The Staff Parish Relations Committee (SPRC) has hired Dr. Ray to be chief executive officer and lead preacher, and he looks forward to joyfully serving in this new role.

Further, under a provision outlined in our denomination’s governing by-laws, the Administrative Council of Mt. Bethel unanimously approved a resolution directing the leadership of the church to proceed with the disaffiliation process from the United Methodist Church as outlined in the Book of Discipline.

Given the recent actions of our Bishop and the direction of the United Methodist Church, it is time for us to part ways with the denomination. It is our hope that our disaffiliation will be amicable, orderly, and timely. We long to go our separate way in peace so we can give our full attention to being the church God has called us to be.