'A Way Forward' Commission Faces Impossible Options



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Plan of Separation

Delegates to the 1844 General Conference could not agree on a solution to the problem of slave ownership by a Geoegia Bishop. Rahter than settle a matter that had festered for at least 40 years, the GC developed a Plan of Separation that might be used if the Methodist Episcopal Church could not resolve this issue. Almost immediately the Southern churches met in Louisville, KY, and used the Plan of Separation to create the MEC South in 1845. The division lasted over 90 years during which time the divided church fought continuously over the Plan of Separation, most of the fights involving property. Is this where we are? I hope and pray not. Adam Hamilton's plan made a lot of sense, but was opposed on the basis of congregationalism, even though the real opposition was from those who will never recognize LGBTQ inclusion. Their recalcitrance will destroy the UMC. Let it be on their heads.

Lloyd Fleming more than 4 years ago

People can plot and plan

People can try to "fix the mess". But in the end my guess is it will be frustrated and highly dissatisfied grassroots United Methodists like me who will ultimately determine the future of the denomination. We are, after all, approaching 50 years of uninterrupted numerical decline. My problem with the UMC is that stating that I am a United Methodist does not define me as a Christian; rather, the UMC has become a menu of various beliefs and understandings from which to pick and choose. Furthermore, there is absolutely no need to go church hopping. because where I am located, all I have to do is sit in the pew long enough and a different type of church will appear before my very eyes. I have had enough of the merry-go-round that became a dead end street that ended in a brick wall.

Betsy more than 4 years ago

Way Forward

Looks like Mr. Brooks has a clear understanding of the problem. Since GC has to approve of the proposal he could have added a probability for each of his options to pass GC. I would give his option 1 the highest probability and his option 4 the next highest. Options 2 and 3 look like no sale to me.
If we go with option 4 which leads to a break down of our connection and pushes doctrine and policy to a lower level the obvious question will be "Why do we need bishops?"

Kevin more than 4 years ago

A Way Forward Commission

There are very profound differences among Methodists at this point and perhaps the time has come to adopt a system similar to the Baptists where the local church is the final arbiter of matters. It is not simply gay matters that are a source of debate, but also the authority of scripture, etc. The centralized church has been unsuccessful in imposing its views on these matters with local conferences openly being defiant. The question is why continue this war?

David more than 4 years ago

Congregational polity best

I agree that perhaps the best solution is for each church to adapt the Baptist polity and call the pastors they prefer. That may mean some will not agree with others but majority should rule. There could still be a connection to other like-minded churches similar to the General Assn of Regular Baptists. They get together for mission work and other group projects yet are free to choose their local projects and pastors. The only negative is that in this system, there is sometimes a time gap while new pastors are being sought and interim pulpit suppliers are needed. Maybe the Wesleyan Covenant Assn could be the general group from which pastors could be chosen and the mission Society the one to whom mission funds could be sent to. I see no way that our church can prosper and grow until the progressives are sent packing to their own church and I believe that the General Conference should draft a plan of separation whereby each church can leave the UMC with its property to join whichever of those two groups it is in agreement with. And this should not wait until 2019 for this to happen. We were told that a special Gen Conf. would be called in 2018 with a plan and we do not need further delay and expense for The Commission to debate. There is no chance of agreement with these two factions, so lets get on with the separation so each group can pursue their mission is reaching those who do not know Christ.

Orlan Lehmann, St. Paul's UMC, Grand Rapids, MI

Orlan Lehmann more than 4 years ago

Notable Quotes

“The present proposed divorce in the UMC is not about sexual morality or justice and inclusion. It is about who is in charge. The 2019 Special Called General Conference gave the ‘traditionalists’ everything they wanted regarding gay weddings and ordinations. But they are still leaving. ... Splitting the church is never about anything but who holds authority.”

– C. Don Jones, “Forgiveness and The Future Schism (Part 1)” from his blog "Glorious Life" on Patheos.com

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