Leaders Gather to Discuss What's Next for The United Methodist Church



Comments (14)

Comment Feed

Here we go again

Why is it when the left doesn't get their way, they want to hold the rest hostage? We are not united, we do not see scripture the same way and never will. Why do you think we need to reform the church? I am sorry, but this is a cancer on our ministry. Please, stop the madness before all the good we have accomplished will be for naught. We can only move forward if we part ways and the leaders need to step up finally and actually lead, not pick and chose which parts of our discipline they want to enforce and ignore others. Before I became a Methodist, I studied the history and discipline of the church, if I had disagreed and didn't believe in it, I would have chosen another faith that I did fully believe. All knew what was in the Methodist discipline when you joined or you should have. Why do you believe we should change and go against our conscience because you think you have become "enlightened" with the secular views of the world? If it was a sin, 100 or 1000 years ago, it is still a sin. Stop trying to change scripture to placate the offended.

Tracy more than 2 years ago

Left and Center US Church

What Traditionalists don't get or ignore is this fight is a US-based conflict. You have two sides in the US Church who view the battleground very differently. (sorry I am a politician so I see things this way) Traditionalists find safety in the Global Church where they have many countries and cultures that match their belief system. They have the votes there and the feeling was this powerbase would force the bulk of the US to heel.
The issue is many Moderates and Liberals don't see the battleground that way. They feel this is a local conflict being fought here in the US. Many no longer feel GC reflects the values of the US majority and have chosen to embrace a more local mission reflective of current urban values.
Traditionalists need the majority of the US to capitulate. They can't keep the infrastructure and existing global programs alive without the cooperation of the center and left and the center and left know this.
What we are seeing is the beginning of the end of the UMC in the US. Oh, the Traditionalists will try like crazy to convince their foils to leave but.. keep the money flowing to their support base. But those days are now limited. Sad, the church I have known and loved is dead.

eric more than 2 years ago

Two different views of Christianity

"Traditionalists find safety in the Global Church where they have many countries and cultures that match their belief system. They have the votes there and the feeling was this powerbase would force the bulk of the US to heel. The issue is many Moderates and Liberals don't see the battleground that way. They feel this is a local conflict being fought here in the US. Many no longer feel GC reflects the values of the US majority and have chosen to embrace a more local mission reflective of current urban values. "

As a traditionalist, here is how I see the fight in the U.S.: There are those that believe that Christian doctrine adapts to the culture it is in and there are those that believe Christian doctrine has been handed once and for all to the Church and is the same across time and across location. The presenting issue of this deeper divide is sexuality.

As a traditionalist, I knew the church was dead ever since I monitored GC2012 and discovered that theological plurality had run amuck; it was just too big to fall down. Furthermore, I am not very impressed with how any of the factions have handled this mess:

Bishops and other leaders bet their leadership on a plan passing when there was absolutely no logic to expect that to happen. The only thing I was surprised about was how surprised progressives were that the One Church Plan did so poorly. And I am not impressed how this group of leaders are responding. The only way to resolve conflict is to sit down with those you are in conflict with--something they are adverse to doing. What they are proposing is a very immature response to a very serious problem. The church needs for them to "grow up" and lead us out of this theological impasse not once again try to throw their weight around.

My beef with traditionalists was their focusing on a legislative win when the whole problem has blown out of proportion because of a failure of leadership to do what they were supposed to do: submit themselves to the will of General Conference. However, as far as I am concerned, traditionalists have also had the most realistic view of the church and have been calling for an amicable split for years, something leadership has ignored and continues to ignore. Going into GC2019 it was traditionalists that called for an equitable plan and leadership refused and so now the mess gets even messier because leadership cannot deal with any other reality but their own version of how things need to be.

Meanwhile, the numerical decline accelerates and a double digit budget cut is coming before GC2020. And the best "thoughtful leadership" can do is "apply pressure to the system"? The system is already at the breaking point!

betsy more than 2 years ago


you could say that Moderates and Liberals are resentful that the UMC has grown beyond the U.S. borders into areas that are seeing tremendous growth in the church universal, expressing itself in a largely traditional, pentecostal/charismatic flavor, that they fear loss of control over the direction of the UMC into a liberal, mainline church. Their fear is compounded by the recognition that the church in Africa, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia is grossly underrepresented in our global boards and agencies, as well as at General Conference. This fear produces the Kiplingesque racisim and cultural colonialism displayed by bishops declaring that the "Africans should just grow up" and calls by so-called moderates to insulate the declining U.S. from the rest of the church, most of which is on the ascendancy. Traditionalists do not control the seminaries or the general boards and agencies, progressives do. The majority of our bishops and district superintendents are or lean progressive. It seems that it's the progressives who are more concerned with the cash flow, why else would they threaten to withhold episcopal support funds from beyond the U.S. if it's not an implicit bribe to support an agenda?

John more than 2 years ago

Good Comments

Tracy, great comments. Just as the left could not accept trumps election, the left in the UMC cannot seem to accept that they lost. A split is coming, it is a matter of who ends up with the name UMC. After a split the name is all that's left. I'm a believer that the traditionalists should leave because it easier to develop something new without all the baggage than reform with all the baggage. Either way, a split is coming......all that remains is to see who gets the name and how long the fight will continue.

Jeff Lucas more than 2 years ago

UMC Next Conversations

How is this not a violation of ordination standards?

Harold Gielow more than 2 years ago


I see your point of view. And interpreting this from a conservative point of view it makes sense. I have one question. How can you enforce standards in conferences who choose to be in defiance? The only body that can ATTEMPT to do this is GC and as we now know the body has not clothes or power. For a system to work everyone has to agree to play by the rules. In the US context, you have a minority who want the rules enforced and a majority who basically ignoring them. All the Center and Left are doing are copying the WCA playbook. In football to win you have to be able to beat your offensive strategy. The WCA used a great strategy. But they know that even if GC sits next year and they win there resistance will continue. Oh, Moderate and Liberal churches will meet, have carry-in dinners, and vote members to AC. It will look like the past but the GC will be ignored. GC only has the power that local US congregations give it.

eric more than 2 years ago

Your numbers are wrong

Eric, I am sure you live in a liberal bubble but you are wrong on the numbers. The largest number of UM laity are traditionalists (twice as many as liberals in a UM communications survey just released.) The second largest group are the moderates, who tend to identify more as traditional than liberal. The overwhelming number of large churches are traditional and the largest US AC's are traditional. Currently 40 % of our pastors are graduating from Asbury which is very traditional. No other seminary comes close in numbers. You have stated that this is a US problem. We are not a US church. We are a global church and our brothers and sisters in the central conferences are just as much God's children as we are. By the way the UM Comm. survey also showed that the traditional churches were much bigger givers than the progressive churches. Adam Hamilton likes to brag about how much his church gives and how it will hurt the Africans if his church leaves the UMC. He can rest easy, the rest of us will continue to care for our African brothers and sisters.

Scott more than 2 years ago

Once Again

Once again the rules against homosexuality have been tightened, but this time is different. There is no “wiggle room” left for those who disregard the rules and requirements. Historic Christianity has clearly prevailed in the United Methodist Church. Time to stop causing dissension.

Skipper more than 2 years ago

No Wiggle Room

There is a major flaw in the argument. Neither side trusts the Bishops. And Bishops have divided along the battle lines. So how do you enforce policies that the majority of American Urban congregations actively ignore? There isn't anything GC can do if the bulk of the US decides to simply ignore it. You can starve an organization in two ways. You can deny it money or you can pretend it doesn't exist. The more powerful strategy is to simply ignore the GC and the WCA. It doesn't really matter what the rules or requirements are if large swathes of congregations who fund the beast ignore it. As you are finding out right now.

eric more than 2 years ago

Interesting style of conflict resoluttion.

The best way forward for this group is that they get their way--something due process has denied them. So now they are willing to hold the church hostage to achieve their goal. These are our thoughtful leaders?

betsy more than 2 years ago

WCA did the same thing

I am confused. It seems that when the WCA did the exact same thing this was a noble strategy. Now that this strategy is being deployed with full funding back it is suddenly not due process. The leadership is as divided as the congregations. The Jurisdictions are plotting to leave and enforcement has to be enforced through the Jurisdictions. But how do you do this when you have little to no influence? I have a feeling that this will be resolved before the next GC.

eric more than 2 years ago

Agreed with Eric

The WCA game plan was pretty clear - and you can scope out the various blog posts and articles to confirm.

"If we lose this battle we are going to walk away and create our own denomination."

They were on board with exit plans. They were on board with 'compassionate exits'. Because they planned to use them.

It was only at the 11th hour that they realized they had the votes to win, and they aggressively politicked to win (while the One Church folks were playing for unity, an entirely different game).

It is the height of hypocrisy for betsy to complain about those same tactics being turned about. Ye reap what ye sow.

In the urban and suburban areas:
I think that progressives will either declare Reconciling, move to Reconciling, or walk away.
I think that traditionalists will try to band together.
I think that moderates are going to end up losing churches, because they aren't going to be enough of a critical mass to survive.

In the rural areas:
I think that progressives will mostly have to walk away unless there are previously established progressive churches in their area.
I think that traditionalists will hold strong.

The Traditionalist UMC is going to end up being a southern and/or rural regional church. AND it will further be outnumbered in all future voting by the African delegations - so if they decide to go strong on the hard core conservative action, like no female preachers, women subservient to men, etc - the Traditionalists in America are going to have to just sit and take it. Or they'll have to walk away.

JR more than 2 years ago

Still on board

Traditionalists are still on board with exit plans. The original plans produced by the Commission on a Way Forward all included exit plans; the bishops removed them. The bishops directed the Commission to perfect language for the One Church Plan and the Connectional Conference Plan but to cease all work on the Traditional Plan. Only at the last minute was the Traditional Plan put back into play; little time was available to improve it. It was the only plan to include provisions for exit NO MATTER WHICH SIDE you were on. The WCA isn't looking to push others out the door; it's looking for fidelity to the decisions of the only body that speak for the entire church--the General Conference. Enabling persons and local churches to leave with the least restrictions seems a grace-filled, honorable, and rational approach--as opposed to the sheer madness of the Episcopal Church's scorched-earth tactics for dissenters.

John more than 2 years ago