Alabama United Methodists to Close 9 Churches

United Methodist Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett, center, head of the North Alabama Conference, presidents at the annual conference Monday, June 1, 2015, with Cheaha District Superintendent and parliamentarian Sherill Clontz, left, and Conference Secretary Clauzell Williams, right. (Greg Garrison/AL.com)
United Methodist Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett, center, head of the North Alabama Conference, presidents at the annual conference Monday, June 1, 2015, with Cheaha District Superintendent and parliamentarian Sherill Clontz, left, and Conference Secretary Clauzell Williams, right. (Greg Garrison/AL.com)

The United Methodist Church in North Alabama today announced the closing of nine churches, but one of them has already begun to transform into a Hispanic church.

Lakeview Highland United Methodist Church in Muscle Shoals has closed, but a Hispanic congregation moved in last fall.

Iglesia de la Puebla, led by Pastor Ruben DeLeon, is leasing the church and hopes to become affiliated with the United Methodist Church, said the Rev. Kelly Clem, superintendent of the Northwest District.

“It was an answer to prayer for them and it was an answer to prayer for us,” Clem said. “They’ve renovated the building. They’re leasing it for $1. They just got to work on the roof and painted the building. It looks great.”

Clem said she got a call from Lakeview Highland last year saying that no one was attending anymore. “It was down to two members,” she said.

Although DeLeon was ordained as a Baptist minister, he hopes to become a United Methodist, Clem said. “They’re going to become a Methodist church. He’s studied Methodist doctrine.”

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SOURCE: AL.com
Greg Garrison