Mapping the Future of the UMC



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Look at the example of the Worldwide Anglican Communion

Your article is very informative, although, as you say, entirely speculative at this point. It sounds like you predict some type of worldwide Methodist Communion emerging, much like the worldwide Anglican Communion but with an analog of the Archbishop of Canterbury and more than one "official" group within a given country or geographic area. I just ran across what I consider a very important article for Methodists. It is by retired Sydney Australia archbishop Peter Jensen and addresses the currently, very fashionable "Adam Hamilton" option, which some are terming the via media option. The article is called "The Mythical Middle" and can be found here -

My personal opinion is that while the hypothetical organizational structure laid out has many merits, in the end it will be very difficult to resolve the issues surrounding it due to personal ego of church "theocrats" and the all important issue of who gets what, also know as "follow the money."

Dan more than 4 years ago

My plan from the pew

Live out the reality that almost 100 years ago Bishops decided that "doing" was more important than "believing" because hashing out what we believe would be "too divisive". Let everybody do what they are already doing. and see who survives and who does not. Acknowledge that what is decided at General Conference has little or no impact on the local church so pare its function down to the bare minimum. I say this because I am extremely certain that any attempt to "loosen the connection" is going to decimate local churches and send annual conferences into chaos because at the local level things are not as cut and dried as the maps suggest and local churches are ill prepared if not totally clueless what is about to descend on them in the form of a "loosened connection".

Betsy more than 4 years ago

My prediction

Any attempt to 'loosen the connection' is going to turn into a glorified local option that pushes the decision onto local churches that are already in trouble and things will get very messy.

Betsy more than 4 years ago

That sounds good

Let's hope so. In practice, there's seldom dialogue of any substance. Local churches need to decide where they stand. Of course it's messy! So's life! There's no such thing as a conflict-free environment where humans are concerned. Some paint a picture of a hebbin in which things're thus, but that's impossible if there will be people there.

George Nixon Shuler more than 4 years ago

It's already messy

No matter what happens it will be messy and painful. I have 3 uncles who were UMC pastors. All retired a few years ago. They all saw what direction the church was taking and wanted no part in it.

Sarah more than 4 years ago

This makes sense

Thank you. The maps definitely helped.

Sarah more than 4 years ago

Notable Quotes 

Jim Winkler, general secretary, National Council of Churches USA (NCC Photo)"Public and sometimes violent acts of racism, white Christian nationalism, anti-immigrant attitudes and xenophobia, along with rising incidents of anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim and other forms of religious bigotry sometimes committed in the name of Christianity, have created an urgency for the churches and the broader culture to recognize the imperative of interreligious engagement for peace-making locally, nationally, and globally."

– United Methodist layman Jim Winkler, top executive of the National Council of Churches USA, in a speech to International Religious Freedom and Peace Conference sponsored by the Mother See of Holy Etchmidzian in Armenia.

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