Centrist-Progressive U.S. Delegate Wave Hits 73 Percent



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CP surge

If you don’t like something/someone just walk off. I did emotionally years ago. My tithe on the gross (since 1979) now goes elsewhere. Plenty of sheep feeding locations and places to serve the least last lost

Richard F Hicks more than 2 years ago

Interesting take from the Traditional Camp

So let me understand this. The Traditionalists control GC but many of the US AC's are simply ignoring it and moving on. They don't have the votes to double down on the enforcement mechanisms and it won't matter even if they did because no one is going to enforce it outside of a few areas and the Traditionalists don't enough clergy, Bishops, or seminaries to force a culture change through the appointment process. The WCA is going to threaten to break off and I don't see too many people this time willing to try and keep them around. Ironically, when the threat was reversed and they realized how little economic and social impact they have in the pews and pulpits suddenly moderates and progressives were threats to UMC survival. Much hand-wringing and shock from the WCA and Good News Allies. So that threat of leaving rings hollow now. I still feel a breakup of the Church is inevitable. And neither side should be allowed to take the brand of UMC with them. My Sunday School teacher Mrs Mellgren must be rolling in her grave at this mess!

eric more than 2 years ago

And what was the breakdown at GC2019?

Given that 50% of the delegates are clergy who tend to be more progressive than their laity counterparts, 73% progressive does not seem that terribly high! There is already word out there that there are not enough progressive delegates to overturn GC2019.

One good thing that has come out of this brouhaha is that there is no longer any doubt that the One Church Plan was always about the church embracing the progressive perspective and not about allowing everybody to "do their own thing". Thank you for helping to prove that the WCA, et al was right in their assessment of the situation!

betsy more than 2 years ago


Your conclusion isn't supported by the facts.

IF the OCP was not about allowing everybody to do their own thing, then it would have explicitly required inclusion in all matters. It did not, it allowed for a variety of opinions.

The Traditionalist Plan does not allow for a variety of opinions.

What you are seeing is backlash. It actually confirms that the CoWF was correct in pushing the OCP - because the backlash here is showing a rejection in the US of the Traditionalist Plan DESPITE the organized tactics of the Traditionalists. On short notice, the Moderate/Progressive wings have risen up and rejected the TP.

As usual, Betsy, you are reading things wrong.

JR more than 2 years ago

“Foot in the door”, “camel’s nose under the tent”: applicable metaphors for OCP

My read is fairly close to Ms. Betsy’s in this way: All those closed door meetings, with no deep research among we the people who fill the pews and plates, was to give credibility to a plan which kept money from every church and every conference flowing to the top for the preservation of the top and to keep the pot filled for cushy retirements. “One Church Plan” was to find a new way to keep the status quo and the money flow! Oh, you don’t agree that the status quo was essentially the OCP in waiting? Then how are there today so many UMC clergy who are openly homosexual? That did not just happen since GC2019, its been growing while clergy, bishops, seminaries and the useless, toothless, feckless, reckless Judicial Council has been ignoring and thereby approving anyone – even a lesbian bishop!
“Full inclusion” has been feta compli in some UMC for some time. But, progressives wanted to make the reality “official” and “legitimate”. The OCP was merely the “first step”, just let everybody do their own thing (while continuing to send in the money). In a year or two, we would hear “OCP is limiting and unfair – all UMC must be inclusive to (whatever).” One step at a time. Forgetaboutit!

Reese more than 2 years ago

Stop the madness!

It will not happen, stop trying to delay the inevitable. Traditionalists and Progressives will never agree except to disagree. When I took my Methodist vows upon joining the church, I knew what was in the book of discipline. Did the progressives not mean their vows and only join the church to try to break the church? Or was it something more sinister behind this push and shove to liberalism?

Lynn more than 2 years ago

The battle is over.

As others have noted, the conservatives have the votes to prevent any changes proposed by liberals. It is time to face reality and stop beating a deal horse. The Africans are a cultural problem. Like the good Christians of Salem, MA, they still often believe in witchcraft and its punishment.

David H. Fox more than 2 years ago

But a larger battle continues

There's no question that the Salem witch trials were a dark stain on 17th century Puritanism. But you've obviously not been to Salem recently. In that city where modern witchcraft is commonplace there is tremendous spiritual darkness, as many a good Christian can attest. Not the cartoonish depictions of Elizabeth Montgomery statues and Halloween dress-up, but active covens with warlocks and pagan practices. Recognize it or not, but we are engaged in cosmic spiritual battle with evil forces. Most Christians in the Global South understand that... we smug modernists in Euro-American culture delude ourselves into thinking it doesn't exist.

John more than 2 years ago

The actual numbers would be helpful

It seems like for it to only be 73% that there are a lot of 61/39 conferences.

Anonymous more than 2 years ago

How the numbers add up

Using the percentage quoted and applying it to the delegate distribution for next year it is clear that the traditional wing of the church still has enough votes to control the GC, although it is a small margin. Both sides can spend the year pressuring delegates to switch their votes, or we can play lets make a deal, and split into multiple versions of the Methodist movement. The LBGTQ community is fed up and wants out which will pull progressive numbers down. As this article states and the public opinion of those who went to UMC Forward shows, they are not with the progressives and want out. Let us be peacemakers and craft a deal that everyone can come to turns with. The UMC brand is totally corrupted and any smart marketing person would tell you that a change in brand would be advantageous. It is time to be rid of the fable of unity, split peacefully, and get back to the work of the Lord. Remaining together is about the ego's of men and power.

Scott more than 2 years ago

Reminds me of watching my mother slowly die…

She was a good lady. Passed at 94, but the last 8 years or so were not good. Dementia or Alzheimer's or whatever took her joy, her laughter, her love of life. In her final months, just seeing me seemed to upset her. She didn’t know me. So, I went less.
And so it is with my old traditional Methodist Church. Seems to have now reached the point where the end is near. Ms. Astle shouts the reaching of progressive plateaus which will certainly defeat the traditional and turn the UMC toward the end as we have known it. Traditional people like me can never accept as clergy and spiritual leadership those who celebrate the lifestyle they themselves describe as “queer”. The terms queer and traditional are mutually exclusive. There is no common ground. There is no future together. As with my mother, the inevitable moment is at hand.
I have the same feeling I had at my mother’s passing; sorrow for the loss of something once so dear, but joy that the suffering will end – for all of us. We have all suffered too long. As Paul sang, “Let It Be”…

Reese more than 2 years ago


"The terms queer and traditional are mutually exclusive."

To hell with the 'practicing' farce, then?

At least you are being honest about it.

JR more than 2 years ago

Perhaps there is hope...

...for the country as well. The right-wing movement is entirely a rear-guard action, consisting of the demoralized firing scatter shots as they retreat, entirely routed. The UMC situation is unique among the Mainline Protestant Bodies. Even as the Episcopals, United Church of Christ, Presbyterians, Lutherans, etc. have boldly marched into tomorrow, the UMC has been held back by a rump faction consisting of former segregationists aided and abetted by right-wing satraps funded by the most cynical political manipulators known ever. Eventually they will be dragged kicking and screaming into the bright future. In twenty years, they'll be lying, saying they never did what they did.

George Nixon Shuler more than 2 years ago

Tomorrow may be surprising

If numbers have any validity, the Episopalians, UCC, PC(USA), ECLA, are boldly marching into oblivion. It is clear that the harder they swerve into radical progressivism, the more rapidly they empty out their membership. The UMC and its predecessor bodies, however, never entirely embraced the desire to "go mainline"--apart from a leadership searching for "respectibility" among the descendants of Established churches, whether rooted in the American colonies or European nation-states. If progressive activists want to create a thoroughly "mainline" denomination with a Wesley flavor, so be it--just don't expect that those who won't give up the evangelical theology of the Wesleys, Whitefield, Fletcher, Palmer, Steele, Jones, etc. will join in.

Just curious: what makes you think the majority of Filipino, Eastern European, and African delegates are segregationists? And what do Persians have to do with the UMC?

John more than 2 years ago

Oh, I hope not

That is, "that those who won't give up the evangelical theology of the Wesleys, Whitefield, Fletcher, Palmer, Steele, Jones, etc. will join in."

In the ethnic groups you mentioned, adherence to right-wing theology is a marker of status. Considering the money the right-wing throws at them, they know which bread slices are buttered.

Persians? Ah, "satraps." To the Persians they were a vassal rank. In political theory a satrap is a secretive faction, like Institute for Religion and Democracy is. My introduction to the term came in a spy novel about "The Man from Uncle," Napoleon Solo, in a paperback novel of the era by Michael Avallone in which he described UNCLE's nemesis THRUSH thus. THRUSH is not a nation state. Neither is Al Queda, Isil, etc. The IRD boys likewise don't have a church, but they want this one.

George Nixon Shuler more than 2 years ago

Love the commentary George

I also find the use of 'evangelical' by John to be curious. I always seem to think of that as related to conservative/fundamentalist doctrine, but there's different ways to play that too.


Personally, I'd call myself progressive-evangelical, particularly as I emphasize the Gospels over the OT.

What's sad is that when I read that, I realize that the best of the UMC embraces both perspectives - both the "inviting others into a relationship with Christ" [an area I'm admittedly not strong in] and a "working to ensure the poor are raised up, the sick receive adequate care, children are protected, discrimination is eradicated and war ended" side [which is much more in my sweet spot]. I'm very much on the 'good works' side of the equation, as far as skills and talents go.

And yet, the division has been brewing, fomented by the conservative side (your note of satraps is on point). I almost feel that the point wasn't to keep the UMC conservative - it was to break the spine of a good organization that had enough influence to make a difference in the world.

JR more than 2 years ago