A Reflection on 'A Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation'



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Resignation for the Protocol

When my wife and I arrived in Atlanta from Kentucky in October of 1972 to begin our new lives in one of America's fastest growing areas, the homophobic language in the BOD had been introduced in that same growing city a few months earlier. We were Presbyterians then, if anything, and we would not have understood homosexuality nor been sympathetic to it. How we and the times have changed. A whole lifetime has passed during most of which the United Methodist Church has squabbled over human sexuality. When we became Methodists in 1990, the argument had not yet become the open warfare that broke out at the 2012 General Conference in Tampa. Ever since that time, the noise has increased until it now drowns out almost everything else, sadly. I have changed my views on homosexuality as have most Americans. But the UMC remains mired up to its axles in the mud of the its processes. So it is with a great sigh of resignation that I agree with Bishop Grove. Let's end this long nightmare. Twenty-five million seems a reasonable price to pay to move on and to give the "traditionalists" a place to go. But in the end, there are no winners. The UMC will be a smaller denomination with less impact. And the promise of keeping all its financial threads together seems overly optimistic. There will be no hurrahs as there were in 1968. Indeed, should all of these moving parts pass judicial and GC muster and become our future, implementing the changes will take years. I fear that my conference, North Georgia, may vote to join the traditionalists. Should that happen, I will move on. Membership in a denomination or church that could allow the Traditional Plan has been a huge problem for me.

LLOYD E FLEMING more than 1 year ago

I continue to pray

that the North Georgia conference, as well as other conferences, will turn back toward God’s Word and away from the secular and fallible word of man. Membership in a denomination that would Not allow/follow the Traditionalist Plan is and has been a huge problem for me.

Like you, we both agree the time has come to separate and embrace the Protocol.

Steve more than 1 year ago

No Legal Right to a Clawback

Bishop Grove is WAY off the mark when he writes, "Those who will depart have a right to some of our collective assets..."
Wisely, that's NOT in the Discipline.
So GC2020 will have to pass legislation to make a 'payoff' possible as an exception to the rules.
As Judge Judy would say, "If you eat the steak, you can't get a refund!"
And if a United Methodist doesn't like a sermon, he or she can't demand a 'refund' of the last 10 years worth of their contributions.
Or if he or she helped to pay for a new building, they can't chisel out the bricks from a corner of the foundation if they get upset about something.
And if a local UMC doesn't like the way their apportioned funds were spent by their annual conference, they can't just get a friendly refund at the Customer Service Desk.
Withholding payment of their apportioned "taxes" (if I could use that analogy) is a strategy these semi-Methodist evangelical megachurches figured out long ago.
But we're not talking about that issue.
The question is whether I have the "right" to get a refund of my taxes that I paid for the war in Iraq.
The answer is obviously 'No.'
We all ordered and ate that steak, for better or worse, as tough and tasteless as it was.
The only legal theory under which the WCA could have a legal 'right' to a Clawback of funds their churches contributed to their annual conferences would be "gross malfeasance."
And it would take a huge, expensive lawsuit to win a judgement against the UMC. Possibly.
So no, Bishop Grove, you got that one wrong.
Read your Discipline again and check with your attorney before you jump to awarding a legal "right" to those who want to leave.
I think you'll find that that the Trust Clause is still operational at the moment.

Wayne more than 1 year ago


There is no reconciliation here. Only separation. Why does it seem like Bishop Grove is gloating? Because the progressives have won.

Kevin more than 1 year ago

I think you are projecting

You think he's gloating because you feel like you've lost the war.

I think this is about a straightforward a piece as I've seen on the topic. Of course, I don't feel like I've lost here, so I could be ignoring subtext.

JR more than 1 year ago