FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Central United Methodist Church in Fayetteville announced that it will split into three different churches following an “amicable reconciliation agreement.”

That agreement was also signed on March 5 by Christ Church of NWA, Inc.. It stated that the parties “have negotiated and agreed to an amicable resolution to fully and definitively end the Disaffiliation Process at Central.”

It also noted that Central wanted to “facilitate this departure in peace,” and said that the Methodist church agreed to make a $500,000 charitable contribution to Christ Church through a series of future payments until 2025. Central will pay an additional $250,000 if it sells its property within five years of the agreement.

The last Sunday under Central’s current pastoral leadership will be May 14, and the church’s four pastors will then be placed on paid leave through June 30. The two parties also agreed to a non-disparagement clause, in which they are prohibited from making “any oral or written statements about the other that are or could reasonably be interpreted to be of a negative or critical nature.”

Another term of the agreement stated that Central agrees to transfer ownership of a property at 205 M.L.K. Jr. Blvd. in Fayetteville to the newly-formed Genesis Church of Fayetteville. The agreement was signed by four pastors, two chairs of Central United Methodist Church, Inc., and two authorized representatives of the Central Wesleyan and United for Central advocacy groups.

In a letter from the executive team published on its website on February 23, Central said that “In broad terms, this agreement allows for Central to remain a United Methodist congregation on Dickson Street while blessing and financially assisting the launch of a new evangelical independent Wesleyan congregation elsewhere in Fayetteville.”

Brian Swain the Executive Director at Central says the people within Central have a lot of theological and biblical differences, one difference being their view of same-sex marriage and human sexuality.

“In 1972, the United Methodist Church created its current stance on same-sex marriage and human sexuality and it’s been a point of debate ever since and so and that’s what’s in the broad United Methodist Church and certainly, that manifests itself in local churches too,” Swain said.

Swain says the congregation at Central has also expressed different opinions regarding the church’s biblical foundations.

“You just see people wanting to live their lives out differently and how they interpret and understand the Bible and how it applies to them and sometimes those can result in conflicting viewpoints and it’s gotten to the point that that had become unhealthy,” Swain said.

Swain says the amicable reconciliation agreement has been in the works for a long time and he hopes in the end every party involved is satisfied with the decision.

“Hopefully what we’ve done is settle it in a way that’s very honorable, there are no winners and losers we hope that all three churches will be winners as a result of this, that they’ll all thrive and do well and be beneficial to the community and the kingdom,” Swain said.