7 Mississippi Churches Leave Denomination

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So how much longer...

Do we persist in this insane everybody loses war that people in the pew are completely fed up with? The American United Methodist Church is no longer functioning. It has become an all out slug fest. There is no unity left to be had. Our conflicting understandings and beliefs have pushed the church to the breaking point . It is time to face the reality we are nowhere close to thinking alike and being on the same page about anything!

betsy 131 days ago

The people in the pews are fed up?

Most of the people in the pews that I know don't really care, one way or the other. This conflict gets a lot of press among people who attend Conference and the clergy, but it doesn't filter down much to the pews. We had a report from our Conference delegate to the church, and he didn't even mentioned the issues. I'm not really sure he attended the Conference. Perhaps he was playing golf instead.

Metho-Anglican 130 days ago

Miss churches leave

Wisely not lawyer feeding.

Richard F Hicks 131 days ago

Challenging.

These churches are in very small communities. The UMC doesn't provide any support to them at this point. It doesn't seem that we can be a church of Louisville, Mississippi and New Orleans, Louisiana. That's sad, but it would be sadder to deny the reality. They likely are already utilizing local pastors, and the type of person that gets a masters in divinity doesn't want to move there and why would the churches want our ordained clergy even if we found someone to go.

I wish them the best of luck going forward and glad that they were able to leave as a group.

Anonymous 131 days ago

Interesting

"These churches are in very small communities."

Yes, I guess so. I looked up the last one on the list, Louisville MS. Did a search for local Methodist churches. Easily 10 in the local area - so anyone who disagrees with the disaffiliation has a place to go. But that tells me that the Methodist church is probably oversaturated in that area - fewer churches with more robust membership would probably be better than so many small churches. The population of the town is under 6500 (I think the church in question is outside the city proper). The church that is leaving has 107 members.

I'm likewise pleased that disaffiliation isn't a huge hurdle. It sounds like they are using the current out clause not because of disagreement with the specific LGBTQ+ issue but with larger issues - I'm not surprised that it's happened. I hope all goes well for them.

JR 131 days ago

What was the cost.

Does anyone know how much they paid to disaffiliate? I'm surprised small churches could afford to leave. Hundreds if not thousands would if they could.

Scott 131 days ago

From what I understand of the process

It's more likely for a small church to leave than a big one.

Apportionments are not tallied up 'per head' of the member, though it's a factor. It's more of a factor of the overall church budget from what I understand. So pre-paying an apportionment is reachable for a smaller congregation.

The big piece would be pension funding. If you don't have a pastor who's getting a lot of pension funding (either because of lack of years of service or because maybe LLPs aren't eligible?), then the payoff isn't bad their either.

If you have a large church AND a mid-to-later career pastor (or several!), then the calculated payoff would be exorbitant.

JR 131 days ago

Pensions

Per UM New Service concerning Wespath ……
"The pension board manages retirement plans for more than 91,000 participants, including United Methodist clergy and lay employees."

LPs are laity, so I guess they can have a pension. However, most are part time, so the amount in their accounts would be small.

I looked up the Facebook pages of a few churches. They are too small to have websites. Some of them appeared to have unvested LPs. No jackets or neckties. I doubt their apportionments are large if any at all. With a LP and a small apportionment, their cost to leave would be minimal.

Metho-Anglican 129 days ago

Corrertion

LPs are clergy, not laity. Their membership is in the Annual Conference in which they serve, unlike laypersons whose membership is in a local church.

Vesting doesn't mean squat as far as the health or size of a local church, but only serves as an indicator as to the worship style. Some of our largest and healthiest churches are pastored by ordained persons with terminal degrees and who lead worship in khakis and a polo shirt. On the other hand, there are also dying churches led by persons with fancier vestments than the pope.

John 129 days ago

LP

I stand corrected.
Question: Do LPs vote with the clergy side at Conference ??????

Metho-Anglican 128 days ago

Because LPs are clergy ...

... they vote with clergy, with the following exceptions. LPs who have finished Course of Study or an MDiv and who have served the previous two years under pastoral appointment may vote for clergy delegates to General and Jurisdictional Conferences. No LPs, Associate Members, or provisional elders or provisional deacons may vote on matters of clergy relationship to the annual conference (except those LPs or AMs who serve on the Board of Ordained Ministry, who have full voting privileges on those matters). Only those clergy in full connection with the Annual Conference (ordained elders and ordained deacons) may vote on amendments to the church constitution, whereas ALL laity members of the Conference can do so. Your licensed clergy have lesser voting privileges than the laity they serve, and they faithfully serve the church as employees-at-will--their appointments may be retracted by the bishop at any time for any reason.

John 128 days ago

Vesting is not clothing

Vesting is a technical term for when contributions to a retirement plan are 'yours'. For example, my work 401k has a structure where company match (which starts after 1 year) are vested 50% at 2 years of service and 100% at 3 years of service.

Pension vesting, being a defined benefit plan, is a little different meaning when have you achieved appropriate status to get the full benefit. Plan might vest at 55 years of age or 20 years of service - until you hit one of those benchmarks, you won't get a full payment (and you might not even get a partial payment).

JR 126 days ago

Context is always critical

"Vesting" may not be clothing, but "vestments" are. "To vest" is to put on vestments. And, as you correctly state, contributions to retirement plans (or paid time off) is "vested" when the legal ownership passes from employer to employee. However, Metho-Anglican was commenting about clothing worn by LPs, not about their fringe benefits.

John 125 days ago

Good point, thanks

I think I crossed over the discussion with Wespath and retirement benefits - I blame my old eyes! :)

Not sure what they wear has much bearing, particularly in a conversation about the cost of disaffiliation, but I certainly crossed the streams on that part.

JR 123 days ago

Lp's

Local pastors are clergy not laity. We are members of the annual conference as ate elders but we are not in "full connection". We have the same rights and duties in our local parish as an elder. We can wear robes like anyone else but not a Stoll. Many of the elders with large evangelical churches preach in an untuckit and blue jeans. Whether you wear a robe depends on how formal a service is. I don't know anyone who wears a robe during a contemporary service. No one is required to wear a robe, use formal liturgy, or follow the basic service format found in the hymnal. Content and form of the service in a Methodist church is up to the pastor. Local pastors and elders are on the same pension plan for the same level of service. I know the cost of disaffiliation is based on level of apportionment and not the pastors level of service. I would stii like to see a number on how much these churches paid.

Scott 129 days ago

7 conservative votes left.

I think you overestimate how much these churches spend on clergy salary. The bishop surely thinks this was a good deal for the conference from his perspective.

Anonymous 131 days ago

And so it begins

And so it begins

John 132 days ago

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