2 Bishops Offer Plan for Denomination’s Future



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Will not work

Traditionalists and Progressive cannot stay together. We have way too many people that will not share the Methodist association with the other. Both are losing people who are just tired of the nonsense of trying to stay together. It will not happen. Mass exodus is what will happen. My own conference is a prime example, masses are going nondenominational churches for this very reason. So, all you bishops and folks who depend on the methodist salaries but really do not care one way or another, you are the problem and why this mess has happened. I would encourage all young families to steer away from this mess. Complete split or die, this is the choice.

Lynn more than 1 year ago

Please read the plan

For the record I am a very conservative LP who would have been forced into early retirement by the OCP. I have read the objections to this plan and minus the one guy who hates traditionalists and sees us as evil, the plan addresses the objections given by the other posts here. It is not a reboot of the Connectional Conference plan or the One Church plan 2.0. It is a transition plan that allows us to split into three new denominations. Each denomination would be expected to write it's new book of discipline, constitution, religious standards etc. by 2022. They can do whatever they want and frankly there is nothing in the plan that requires them to work with the umbrella UMC. They can use the UMC name and cross and flame or they can pick whatever name and symbol they want. The umbrella organization will be more like the World Methodist council that helps coordinate activities between the different methodist denominations. Nothing requires any of the new denominations to work with the umbrella organization or any other group. They can do whatever they want. They don't even need to have bishops. It is a very open plan that lets whoever do whatever. It also brings freedom to individual churches allowing them to join a different conference if they don't like what theirs chooses. Having served in a liberal conference, there are many churches that would like to change to a traditional one. This plan essentially expires when the new conferences have their first general conference and write their new discipline.While it envisions some connection between them using the agencies that are left, nothing requires any of the denominations to maintain those connections. In fact they can go to a congregational form of government if they wish. If you want to win, you won't like this plan, but if you want a solution, this is absolutely the best one out there. It will stop the fighting which has already cost me several members, even though we haven't had any arguing or conflicts about the issue. They are just tired of being in a denomination that doesn't know what it believes and is always in conflict. Frankly we look like fools to the rest of the world and this will help to restore our reputation as Christians and not people who hate eachother.

Scott more than 1 year ago

Some similarities with my proposal

Something like this might work, though I don’t see any way that it can happen without constitutional amendments ... always the sticking point when such concepts are presented. In this way, it has some of the same problems as my own proposal for splitting the denomination, published elsewhere on UM-Insight under the title “The Untied Methodist Church.”

Gregory S. neal more than 1 year ago


Rev. Neal, that was one of my thoughts on the plan as well. I don't see how we could do this without constitutional amendments and, while I see some potential, I think there is a lot in the logistics that would have to be worked out. For example: what if the NTAC goes with the progressive or centrist branch? We know there are some churches in our conference that would not be happy with that. How do they affiliate? Or, do they just leave? Or, do we create another overlapping traditional annual conference? So many questions.

John Astle (United Methodist Insight) more than 1 year ago

Overlap would be necessary

You'd have to have overlap. It wouldn't have to adhere to the same borders, but could. Example - on AC could cover all of Florida, but another wing might have Florida and Georgia (depending on the number of churches who would want to be under TMC vs PMC). I don't see any other way for this to work.

And I think that the overlap of ACs WOULD require an amendment, but I haven't looked that far into it.

JR more than 1 year ago

Dissenting Churches, etc.

Congregations that disagree with the direction of their Annual Conference would be able to transfer their membership to an Annual Conference that is going the direction they want to go. There are actually provisions currently in the Discipline that would enable such transfers. Granted, such would mean an eventual re-drawing of conference boundaries, with overlapping jurisdictions within each of the resulting denominations, but it could work.

All that being said, I really don't see why the Bard-Jones Proposal would actually be necessary. Why have an umbrella entity when the various agencies that could be shared through it could conceivably be shared without it. And, frankly, I don't see the Conservatives wanting to remain in any kind of a formal ecclesial relationship with the Progressives or the Centrists. They'll probably be holding their noses if they eventually have to relate with us through the World Methodist Council!

As for getting it through the legislative system, the challenge is two-fold: (1) It would have to clear the 2/3 majority hurdle at the GC ... something that I consider do-able with sufficient negotiation and give-and-take from all parties involved. (2) The REAL difficulty will be in the ratification process -- i.e., clearing the 2/3 aggregate vote total of all Annual Conferences' laity and clergy members. I have serious doubts that ANY amendments along these lines will pass the ratification hurdle in the African Conferences because the end-result will not be advantageous to them (and this is the case on issues that have nothing to do with Human Sexuality).

And, finally, some conservatives have begun talking about taking away from the clergy their equal vote with the laity at Annual Conference in order to "equalize the playing field." It would appear that since the clergy are so progressive -- much more so than the laity -- they must be disenfranchised.

Gregory S. Neal more than 1 year ago


This is little more than a version of “why can’t we all just get along” and we are too far apart for that. Pathetic.
The bishops had their chance to come up with a plan and after two years pushed a plan that was defeated, making themselves irrelevant in the process. The delegates in GC 2020 will decide which way we will go.

Kevin more than 1 year ago

The delegates will decide

I'm not convinced that 51% of GC will go for this plan, but this is a viable plan in my opinion.

Anonymous more than 1 year ago

How the UMC needs to invest its time

Reclaiming what it has lost; its compelling story of God. It would be a much better investment of our time and efforts than spinning our wheels dickering with some ivory tower plan to keep the concept of the United Methodist Church alive:

There are Bible stories and then there is the biblical story. Most of us who have grown up in the church in North America have developed a “Bible Story” understanding of Scripture. As a result we find ourselves with a collection of stories and yet unclear at best on the bigger story they are telling together. https://www.seedbed.com/4-tips-better-biblical-storytelling/

betsy more than 1 year ago

I don't understand what you think is going to happen.

All the conferences seem to be a little adverse to voting to leave the UMC. This plan allows those that organize into the Traditional side to have their own leadership, share bishops elected by those aligned conferences, and to control their policies on ordination and marriage.

I think its probably the best deal that could be hoped for from Traditionalists and Progressives. The center is the one that are the losers.

Anonymous more than 1 year ago

Seriously? This is "One-Church" Plan 2.0

There are progressives who do not want to share the name "Methodist" with any traditionals.
There are traditionals who do not want to share the name "Methodist" with any progressives.
Traditionals know that the top management and seminaries would lean progressive just as they do now and that the trend of the last 50 years would continue. And imagine the plight of the ministers - they would be limited in career growth. And imagine the frustration of individual churches who get a pastor sent in who is not in agreement. It just doesn't fit anymore!

Reese more than 1 year ago

"Methodist" not required

The new organizations do not require the use of "Methodist" if it is not wanted.

Anonymous more than 1 year ago

Stinky by any name is stinky.

If the organization and the management of it comes together in any way at any level, the name of it would not matter A name is just a word, but management is direction, money, and defines the organization.

Reese more than 1 year ago

Not OCP, its CCP 2.0

Each unit would have their own 'top management' as I understand it. Yes, if you are a conservative pastor and the TradMC has only 1/10th of the DS/Bishop roles because of the size of that wing, you will be limited in your opportunities.

For the pastor assignments, that happens NOW. It's less likely to happen under this structure, though there will surely be some growing pains. If you have a conservative bishop and DS and a conservative pastor going to a conservative church, I would be surprised that there would be too many 'incompatible' issues. Since each wing would control pipeline independently, I don't see a problem.

They'll each pick their 'approved' seminaries. I don't see that as a big issue.

The 'wholly disassociate' folks will have to decide if this is enough for them. I honestly think its going to be harder for the people in the pews.

JR more than 1 year ago

There are no perfect solutions.

I think this is a good plan.

Anonymous more than 1 year ago

Launching the Lifeboat: a last-ditch effort to save Traditionalist Methodism

Bishop Ken Carter is quoted as commenting that the backlash to the 2019 GC signals the demise of the Traditionalist Plan.

Seeing the handwriting on the wall, Bishops Scott Jones and David Bard have proposed a last-ditch scheme to “save” the Traditionalist Plan in a shake-n-bake version of the Connectional Conference Plan that avoids a constitutional quagmire.

They offer an alternative for the few conservative annual conferences who would vote to jump ship from United Methodism into what is essentially a WCA lifeboat.

Thus American Traditionalist minority would avoid the intense embarrassment of depending on their African colleagues to achieve a bare majority GC votes, while earning the wrath and moral outrage of the rest of us. Not to mention the “chaos” of a continuing struggle at GC 2020.

The Jones/Bard plan disguises the obvious by reorganizing the annual conferences who decline to jump into their lifeboat into “open” or “progressive” Methodist churches under a “United" Methodist umbrella.

But with the “chaos” of opposition to the Traditionalist Plan erupting in the United Methodist henhouse following GC 2019, it looks like the foxes have decided to organize the hens. For their own spiritual welfare, of course!

Take a look at the payoff for the foxes:

First, the foxes get to lure as many chickens as possible into their lifeboat, including whole annual conferences plus any local churches that don’t like the vote of their annual conference to go elsewhere.

But more importantly, the foxes get to cut their lifeboat loose from their financial obligation to support the superstructure of what they see as a Methodist Titanic. That would include the majority of general boards and agencies whose progressive agendas they don’t like.

Plus, the foxes finally get to pick the Methodist-related seminaries they choose to endorse and stop funding those they hate. We already know how this egg is going to hatch. It was likely fathered by brilliant minds from Asbury Theological Seminary.

By cutting off a significant stream of funding that sustains United Methodist general boards and agencies, plus colleges and seminaries, the foxes finally get their fondest wish: to starve the United Methodist bureaucracy into a stunted, shriveled skeleton that will collapse of its own weight.

Finally, the Jones/Bard plan would valorize a morally indefensible and theologically un-Wesleyan hard turn to the political right that only William J. Abraham of Perkins could try to justify.

That’s because the Jones/Bard Lifeboat puts two or three options on an even footing of moral equivalence.

But in reality we have only two options: the path of openness to an unknown future, social inclusion, spiritual vulnerability, and spiritual growth, or the path of preordained reactivity, judgement, punitive crackdowns, and becoming a tiny cult of believers hostile to the outside world of nonconformity to their social/sexual/cultural norms.

So how do you spell E-V-I-L?

Wayne more than 1 year ago

Not sure I agree

"But more importantly, the foxes get to cut their lifeboat loose from their financial obligation to support the superstructure of what they see as a Methodist Titanic. That would include the majority of general boards and agencies whose progressive agendas they don’t like. "

I think that's a big plus for the Traditionalists under this plan. The problem as I see it is that putting that ownership to a 'centrist' unit is tough to do without knowing how large that group is going to be.

I've suggested a census before, it sure would be nice to have one now....

JR more than 1 year ago

Finally a plan that works

This is exactly the right plan. No winners or losers. No amendments. No pension hassles. Everyone gets to live in the church that makes them comfortable and the Wesleyan tradition will survive. Only those who demand to keep the current institution alive will object. I appreciate the leadership of Bishop's Bard and Jones. As many people as possible from all sides must signal their support.

Sco2 more than 1 year ago

I disagree

I don’t want ANY association with the progressive/secular factions. No sharing of anything. They are like a cancer. You must cut it all out or it will spread.

Steve more than 1 year ago

Try to be nice, Steve.

You don't have to have any association with progressive factions at all.

Not sure you can hold onto the UMC brand at the same time, though.

JR more than 1 year ago

I agree

This is the best outcome. Sadly it should have been what was on the table for GC2019, and would have allowed a peaceful and peace-filled distance between the arms.

This could be hard on some people who feel strongly in one direction but have no church close that also agrees with that view. Hopefully there won't be too many of those (and if there are clusters, that could be an opportunity for a church plant from one of the arms - and those should be welcomed!)

JR more than 1 year ago