The First United Methodist Church of Marietta is withholding $58,427 from national coffers to protest the church's stand on homosexuality and other social issues.

First United's board of stewards voted to redirect the funds to three North Georgia ministries."This is not an action we wanted to take," said the Rev. Charles Sineath, pastor of the 5,000-member church. "There was no victory won at First Methodist. We can only hope that this step will be redemptive and help to heal our divisions."

The catalyst, Sineath said, was a decision by Emory University, a Methodist-affiliated school, to allow same-sex commitment ceremonies on campus.