Group Drafts Separation Plan for Denomination



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Indanapolis Plan

Several years ago - United Flight 173, a DC-8 approaching Portland, Ore., with 181 passengers, circled near the airport for an hour as the crew tried in vain to sort out a landing gear problem. Although gently warned of the rapidly diminishing fuel supply by the flight engineer on board, the captain waited too long to begin his final approach. The DC-8 ran out of fuel and crashed in a suburb, killing 10.
The leadership of the aircraft ignored the greater danger of running out of fuel and continued to focus on the erroneous indication of the landiing gear.
As we continue to bicker about the homosexual issue, the fuel (members) is rapidly decreasing. Eventually, the United Methodist Church will flame out and crash.
The Indianapolis Plan provides a resolution to the homosexual issue (landing gear problem) and allows both (or more) groups to fly again.

Bill Bond more than 1 year ago

Sneaky, sneaky! Overturning jurisdictional delegate elections

You just know that Rev. Keith Boyette is up to something VERY sneaky when he hides a major proposal to overturn the elections of jurisdictional delegates that were held this summer in UM annual conferences in a footnote that’s not even published in the relevant article in UMNews.

If you missed it like I did on my first reading of, here it is: the Sneaky Boyette-Millard Plan would delay episcopal elections in jurisdictional conferences from 2020 to 2021 or 2022. Why? Ostensibly so that bishops would be more carefully matched with “new expressions” of Methodism. Of course, this requires that bishops facing mandatory retirement in 2020 would need to serve for an additional year or two.

So why is this a sneaky undoing of 2019 elections to jurisdictional conferences in 2020? Simply because the vast majority of delegates to 2020 jurisdictional conferences are centrist or progressive, shutting out the traditionalist contingent. Thus the new crop of bishops due to be elected in 2020 are all going to be centrist or progressive bishops.

This amazing turn of events is keeping Keith Boyette and his WCA compatriots up at night, grinding their teeth or whatever they do when they’re tossing and turning.

Here’s what this will look like ‘on the ground’: in the South Georgia Annual Conference, Bishop Lawson Bryan must retire in 2020 because of his age. South Georgia is one of the few very conservative annual conferences that’s likely to vote to join the Traditionalist Methodist Church in 2020 under the Sneaky Boyette-Millard Plan. So they don’t want to be stuck with one of the new crop of ‘liberal’ bishops who are likely to be elected at next year’s SEJ conference, such as Rev. James Howell of Myers Park UMC in Charlotte, a leading episcopal candidate.

Having had their traditionalist candidates shut out of the election process in the SEJ, the WCA contingent now proposes just to shut down the 2020 jurisdictional conference episcopal elections and fill the episcopal slot for the Macon Area under the new Traditionalist Methodist Church to be organized in 2021.

So how’s that for nullifying the will of the majority voting in most UM annual conferences? Keith Boyette looked at that scary blue map of US annual conferences and knew he had to do something fast to escape being locked into dealing with the leadership of a new Council of Bishops that will have a centrist/progressive majority.

Frankly I’m just shocked, shocked! to read that ‘the usual suspects’ in the WCA can get away with this. And that the centrist/progressive Methodist contingent will kowtow to Keith Boyette’s Sneaky Plan. Maybe they just didn’t read the fine print in the last paragraph!

Wayne more than 1 year ago

WCA taking a huge bite!

The alternative for Central Conferences is to swallow the bitter pill of joining an ‘Inclusive’ Methodist Church with a new Discipline that reflects the Simple Plan.

Bottom line: the Boyette-Millard Plan (aka the “Indianapolis Plan”) is actually a “Traditionalist Extraction” Plan designed to engineer a ‘soft landing’ for as many traditionalist congregations and annual conferences as Rev. Boyette can corral into his WCA denomination. His key strategy is to attract as large a critical mass as possible, including church buildings, wealthy conservative donors, pension credits, a traditionalist clergy pool, support from Asbury Theological Seminary, newly elected traditionalist bishops (including a Bishop Lambrecht and a Bishop Renfroe?), and, most importantly, a large slice of the reserves accumulated by the general agencies that will become part of ‘Inclusive’ Methodism.

Rev. Boyette is trained as a lawyer who knows that you don’t give anything away in negotiations unless you really don’t want to keep it. So he gladly dumps exactly what he doesn’t want into the laps of the other side: Methodist seminaries and colleges, ‘liberal’ bishops, general boards and agencies, the legal entity and UMC identity, and more.

In return for being so “nice” to the rest of us, he wants what he can’t have: a large hunk of the liquid assets of the entities he’s piling in our laps. He’s saying, in effect: “We faithfully paid all our apportionments (not true!) for all these years to support these boards and agencies whose work we hated. And they built up their reserves with our money. So now that we’re leaving, (and thus reducing their projected future income, BTW), we want our money back! So they will have even less cash in their reserves to do the Devil’s work (or however “nicely” he wants to put it for public consumption).”

To put it Simply, I call that Highway Robb-ery.

So to get the Boyette-Robb crowd to finally leave the building once and for all, we may say, “OK, maybe negotiating this Robb-ery is the best we can do. We’ve allowed these guys to
(1) break the trust clause that protects annual conference ownership of UM church property;
(2) legitimize their theft of denominational liquid assets; and
(3) undermine our mission overseas with a false alliance with our conservative colleagues that ignores their real interests.
But it will feel SO good to have them gone!”

So maybe I was wrong. Maybe that’s the price we’ll have to pay to clean house of their purity culture.

Wayne more than 1 year ago

"But Grandma, what big teeth you have!"

It's clear whose paw prints are all over the Indianapolis Plan. It's a “Two Church Plan”, and you can bet that if the Traditionalists are suddenly in a tizzy over it, there has been a major shift in the Methodist universe.

The managed dramaturgy involves the symbolic value of meeting in the inner sanctum of a Reconciling congregation, but the patina of being inclusive of all subgroups and “making nice” is a dressed-up ploy to cover the reality that the traditionalists suddenly “want out” of the UMC. And that this plan is their best shot so far to get as much of what they want as they can.

To understand the dynamics at play here, just imagine Keith Boyette in drag as a sweet little old granny waiting in bed as an innocent Little Red Riding Hood arrives for a meeting in the woodlands of Methodism.

“But Grandma, what bishops will we get?” Answer: the Traditionalist Methodist Church will elect most of their own bishops, thus getting rid of those current bishops traditionalists don’t like who will join the ‘Reconciling’ Methodist Church (or whatever they decide to call it).

“But Grandma, what clergy will we get?” Answer: clergy will stay in their annual conferences that can vote to leave the ‘Inclusive’ Methodist Church if they prefer. Or they can opt to transfer to an annual conference that is leaving if they don’t want to stay in the ‘Inclusive’ version of Methodism.

Bad news: Grandma doesn’t know how departing clergy who join the Traditionalist Methodist Church (probably a very small ‘rump’ version of Methodism) will keep the level of pension support that annual conferences have offered before the schism. Newly reorganized Traditionalist annual conferences will predictably lack the resources available in the former UMC, and will have to fund the costs of their new bishops. So departing clergy will likely take a hit in their wallets. Let’s face it: that’s just the cost of being a traditionalist.

Good News: retired clergy who are not actively under appointment will have no financial incentive to leave their ‘Inclusive’ annual conferences, which will limit the financial burden of assuming pension liabilities in Traditionalist annual conferences.

Bad news: retired clergy in Traditionalist annual conferences may be unhappy with their smaller pension checks and wish they hadn’t wound up on the ‘wrong’ side. Small rural congregations with an aging membership who vote to join a Traditionalist annual conference will predictably find it more difficult to survive.

More bad news: Central Conferences are an afterthought in the Boyette-Millard Plan. Their default affiliation is as part of the Traditionalist Methodist Church, where they will predictably suffer from a reduced level of support in the long run. They will lose their voice, their GC votes, and the political clout they enjoyed. They will lose their valued identity as part of the UMC. Even their bishops may have to take a salary cut. Their interests, values, and priorities may be ignored...

Wayne more than 1 year ago

Indianapolis Plan

I am encouraged to see this effort by those who hold deep principled disagreement to find an alternative to win-lose for the church as it lumbers towards Minneapolis. Sharing the unfinished product allows for many eyes to tease out unintended consequences and hidden land mines, as well as to identify strengths. Deep in human nature is the desire, "It is not enough that I succeed. Others must fail." If we move beyond that and create a win-win way forward, that also will become a witness to the secular world that expects fighting, sarcasm, litigation such as the Episcopal example painfully illustrated. If we can hiss at each other, perhaps we also can coo...kudos to the faithfulness and integrity of all members of this working group.

Bob more than 1 year ago

I Like It!

I am a hard core traditionalists and I like this plan. I have downloaded and read the plan. Let me address some concerns raised in the comments. 1. This plan does not require a 2/3 vote of an AC for a church to switch expressions. If a majority vote of a church says they want to change expressions then they switch, no questions asked. It is only if they go independent that they have to pay a fee to support pensions. 2. Why should the progressive minority get most of the agencies and us denominational assets. While traditionalists do have the international majority in the us we are a minority. This fight is a us fight. I agree with WCA president Keith Boyette that they should go with the centrist/progressive expression. In all honesty the only one i like is Wespath who serves a solely administrative function and they would become independent. Who cares about the others. they are all progressive in their actions and cost a fortune to maintain. It would be easier starting over, building new agencies that would reflect our beliefs. 3. The question is posed how does this help us spread the gospel. Currently we are in a civil war and mud is flying everywhere. To the rest of the world we look like hypocrites and who wants to join a church involved in a war. The peace this will bring will allow us to rebrand ourselves and get on with the job of making disciples for Christ. There are many traditionalists in the liberal conferences that would return to a conservative expression just as there are liberals in traditional areas that would like to be part of a progressive church. All new expressions would be free to plant or expand on churches throughout the country. This is not 1844 where we split by region. 5. The plan has flaws. No it's not perfect, but it is the best I have seen. This needs to have a final solution at GC2020. By 2024 my church will have to cut to a halftime church from a full time local and will no longer be able to pay apportionments. I have kept all of this low key but have found my leaders are all watching the situation and don't want to start anything until it is all settled. It is a traditional church in a fairly traditional AC where there is not a lot of controversy. Maybe the plan could be better but like the old Beatles song says "We'd all love to see the plan"

Scott more than 1 year ago

USS Indianapolis

The USS Indianapolis was sunk by the Japanese navy.

Her survivors were a floating feast for the Sharks until help arrived

History repeats

Richard F Hicks more than 1 year ago


At least it's a plan. If is has support from the extremes on both sides then there may be something to it. You can bet that Keith Boyette will have all the petitions drafted so that it can be voted at GC 2020. The downside is that there will be votes in local churches that will drive people out the door. I guess that can't be helped.

Kevin more than 1 year ago


These people that openly defied the book of Discipline, went their own way, until they were stopped, are now crafting an agreement that they want to be applied to all?????? I don't think so, if they want to leave let them go and call themselves whatever they choose while those remaining will continue to be The United Methodist Church.

James Hall more than 1 year ago

I don't understand.

Local churches disagreeing with their annual conference’s decision could decide by majority vote to align elsewhere, retaining their property, assets and liabilities.

I don't understand how this can be done without the annual conference's approval.

Anonymous more than 1 year ago

Indianapolis Plan

Comes close to my plan - everyone take your toys to your own corner


It doesn’t address the 50 year death spiral of Methodism in America

Richard F Hicks more than 1 year ago


The big sticky point on this is that for some reason the US default is to the progressives. Why would the default be to the minority opinion of the church?

And the other sticky point is that annual conferences can choose by simple majority vote, but you just know that they won't let a church go against its annual conference without a 2/3 majority vote.

I can live with this framework, but these traditional leaders seriously have no idea how many traditional believers are out there that they are abandoning.

This plan will be a bloodbath for membership in every region except the south. I suggest they get out of the suburbs and talk to some rural Methodists about the implications of the defaults in this plan.

td more than 1 year ago

Absolutely true!

"I can live with this framework, but these traditional leaders seriously have no idea how many traditional believers are out there that they are abandoning.

"This plan will be a bloodbath for membership in every region except the south. I suggest they get out of the suburbs and talk to some rural Methodists about the implications of the defaults in this plan."

I am so tired of these plans that go no deeper than the annual conference and the rest of us are left to fend for ourselves.

betsy more than 1 year ago

Your not abandoned

Betsy I served in a liberal AC and I understand your plight but there are some churches mostly small and rural that will vote to go traditional. Chaos will abound I am sure and people will need to move churches and new churches will be planted in underserved areas. There will be pain, but we already have that. I have several liberals that are already worshipping at a liberal denomination. Sadly I see no other way to work this out.

Scott more than 1 year ago

I agree...

However, the reality in many churches in liberal ac, is that even if there is a majority of traditional believers, they will likely choose to go with the default to avoid having a fight within the local church- a vote they will consider too perilous to survive a public fight.

I agree that there may not be a better plan, but it is still my opinion that the default should be to the fairh of our fathers; it doesn't make sense for the default to be changing our beliefs. Shouldn't a non-decision be a "no change in beliefs and BOD" decision?

td more than 1 year ago

Did you not see the voting for GC2020

By fairly wide margins, the majority of representation to the GC in the US is centrist/progressive.

So that's the default point. End of story.

All it takes is a vote to opt out.

I bet if you asked Lambrecht and Boyette directly, they would give you an answer. They were both involved in this (and I bet Lambrecht is the one crafting a lot of the legislative pieces).

JHR more than 1 year ago


If the votes have changed so much, why aren't liberalizers pushing to vote the simple plan in at gc 2020? That would be the best way to stop the bigotry and oppression in the umc, right?

I don't buy your argument that the votes have changed that much, but maybe they have. In any case, it is blatantly obvious that our umc clergy do not accept the apostolic teachings and doctrines of our church and are perfectly at ease with rule breaking, belligerance, and subversion. For that reason alone, i think preserving the christian faith in the umc is impossible without God's miraculous intervention.

td more than 1 year ago

NOT a fan of dividing Methodism

This breaking news is extremely significant for plans to divide the remnants of Methodism.

Rev. Keith Boyette, of whom I am definitely NOT a fan (and that's an overwhelmingly huge understatement of my negative opinion of him!), is willing to depart with a minority of traditionalist annual conferences who would need to vote to leave, while the vast majority of the Methodist legal structure, including the name, would remain with the majority of annual conferences who either vote to stay or take no vote.

In other words, having secured their 2019 GC 'victory' by tiny majority, the traditionalists have seen the overwhelming resistance to their 'victory' in the USA as the handwriting on the wall, and now want to pack up and leave--the same 'gracious exit' they demanded if the One Church Plan had 'won.'

But the key footnote in the article is that the traditionalists demand an equitable distribution of assets of the general church: "A process would be devised for dividing current general church assets."

In other words, it's like holding up the bank before riding off with as much loot as they can get away with after they cut a deal with the bank's lawyers.

If all the traditionalist congregations wanted to leave United Methodism under the rules of the current Discipline, they MIGHT not even get to keep their building, let alone demanding and receiving a slice of the denominational pie.

So NOW they want to get a pass on the rules of the existing Discipline. Like they have some kind of political clout or a secret magic wand that gets them off the hook of paying their way out the door.

They insist that others obey the rules in the Discipline they don't agree with, and even insist on church trials for disobedience, but when push comes to shove, they just want to bargain their way out of having to leave behind the real property of the United Methodist Church when they decide to exit the denomination.

Can't you just tell that Rev. Boyette is, among other things, a lawyer? Don't forget that he had the chutzpa to offer his own plan to dissolve the United Methodist Church at GC 2019. Looks like he's on the road to getting there. With a little help from his "friends", so to speak.

Wayne more than 1 year ago

Full of hate

Wayne, rather than being interested in a resolution to the current impasse, you are obsessed with your hate for Traditionalists. I suppose the moderators won’t punt this response, but I will pray for you. I pray you will direct your energies towards wanting to find a fair and equitable solution to the inevitable division rather than promotion of punitive action towards either Progressives or Traditionalists who feel compelled to remove themselves from the current dysfunction. I pray you’ll find peace on your spiritual journey. I will continue to challenge positions with which my conscience requires me to disagree, but I don’t want people who believe differently to be thrown out without their church property

John more than 1 year ago

It's right there in our Discipline, John!

John, the "punitive action" you imagine I'm promoting is right there in our Discipline! Including the trust clause that makes local church real estate 'our property' rather than 'theirs.'
When you imagine that I am "obsessed with ... hate", that's projecting your own emotions onto someone you've never met.
When you're trying to Robb the Methodist bank (and I typed the word 'Robb' intentionally!), you don't claim that you own a "fair and equitable" slice of the pie that would decimate the financial reserves of the general boards and agencies. That's just an attempt to justify highway Robb-ery.
I don't really hate these Robb-ers. But I'm definitely calling them on their lack of integrity and their manipulation of the fears of queers among Methodists in our pews.

Wayne more than 1 year ago

I agree with you John

You are obsessed with punishing the Traditionalists. You have stated in numerous posts that you don’t want the church to split, although it’s never been clear why you think we should stay together. Is it because you think you and other secularists think you can eventually wear us downan accept your misguided way of thinking?

I haven’t read the plan itself. But from the description in the article, and given that Rev. Boyette and Rev. Lambrect agree with it, I am all for it.

Wayne you seem focused on there being winners and losers. “the trust clause makes local church real estate our property rather than theirs.” Why does there have to be ours and theirs? Are you forgetting that real people on both sides of our disagreement have worked hard to pay for those church properties. Churc leaders on both sides have put their names on loans for that church property. Technically, you are right, given the trust clause, the church property belongs to the denomination. However , in fairness it should be turned over to the members who paid, or are paying for it.

Some other considerations:in many cases, those properties have loans outstanding on them. If churches have a majority of members leave there may be no one to pay those loans. So, properties go into foreclosure or the banks come after the denomination.

Also, the denomination has already let some churches leave without enforcing the trust clause. Thus, the precedent has already been set.

Finally, my understanding of the plan is that neither side is “leaving”. Rather, both sides will walk away to begin their own denomination. So Traditionalists aren’t leaving the UMC just as the Progressives/secularists aren’t leaving the UMC. Both sides are agreeing to amicably and equitably dissolve the UMC and create two new denominations.

I truly believe this plan is the best way forward. It is rather sad that a 12 member group that included no Bishops could put together such a fair Plan in such a short period. Seems that with all the time and money expended by The Way Forward Commission, they could have come up with something like this.

Steve more than 1 year ago

What I'm interested in...

is how the International contingent responds. No international voices were included in crafting this plan, but they certainly will be affected.

It certainly appears as though their 'utility' as voters has passed, at least as far as the WCA goes. I wonder whether the international voters might stand up and collectively shoot this down. I don't know that this plan benefits them at ALL - quite the opposite, I imagine.

JR more than 1 year ago