'Reform & Renewal' Forces Acknowledge 20 Percent Delegate Drop




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Stacking the deck

Appears the progressive bishops and clergy are doing all they can to stack the deck in their favor and disregard their congregations.....

tim claus more than 2 years ago

Stacking the deck?

Or to acknowledge their congregations, as well as to honor what the Bible says is most important. It could be that too, rather than disregarding congregations.

Danny T more than 2 years ago

The current count

I have seen one nose count of the progressive vs traditional delegates to GC2020. The person who is doing this one is claiming that the traditionalists now have 420 delegates which is 4 more than the majority with only a few midwestern and texas ac's to go. They only gave the Philippines half of the elected delegates which is far less than the 80% traditional form this year. Any way you cut it, it is very close and it has the potential to be very ugly. I pray that we will stop working on a winner/loser model and go for a win/win solution which preserves both sides freedom and dignity. Of course for this to work both sides would have to act as peacemakers. Didn't somebody once recommend that as a way for Christians to be? I pray we stop tearing ourselves apart, accept reality that we are so divided and negotiate an acceptable solution that benefits the Lord and both sides.

Scott more than 2 years ago

reform and renewal

Several of the comments here, including some in the primary article, reflect the polarization of the UMC that a Pelosi and certainly a Trump would applaud. The same goes for the numerous social postings by some conservatives devoid of grace and brimming with snark. Yet the real reason to seek a constructive and gracious separation that births new expressions from the old UMC is not primarily sexuality. Median age increases past 57 (in Africa the median age is 19); every US jurisdiction is in accelerating decline; four of our official seminaries in 2017 received nearly 3M from our denomination and produced a combined 17 graduates into ordained ministry tracks; trust deficits abound. And we are reduced to voting on God's will...if we were a local church voting on a major new construction we would insist on 75% or more in favor. If GC2019 is reversed it would be something like 51-49% (and we would lose over half of our total membership in 18 months) or if sustained it 'might' be 51-49% (and much of the US church would ignore it). A win-win new birth with the UM name legally and spiritually migrating to the new expressions, ongoing collaboration through UMCOR and the World Methodist Council among others...this would model an alternative to the watching world eager to see a brawl like the Episcopal cage match of a few years ago, or the Presbyterian slam-fest. We have an alternative but only if name-calling and posturing cease. Ephesians 4:32 baby...

Bob more than 2 years ago

Gods Word Never Changes

How can we as Christians but more especially United Methodist be so far from Gods Word and Voice that this is even in a conversation. This is Satin getting a foothold inside the United Methodist Church and if we allow it it should dissolve. He still wants Christians to do God’s will and if his will is not taught in the UMC it should cease to be. My Church in S.C. was on the early circuit riders campaign and we still have the original pulpit.

Thomas more than 2 years ago

Wrong AC

Rev. Jeff Greenway is from West Ohio and THE founder of the WCA

Jon Osmundson more than 2 years ago


I’m having a very difficult time even imagining how difficult just “being Tom Lambrecht” must be at this moment in United Methodist history.
To be sure, this is not quite the specter of an inebriated and dissociating Richard Nixon talking to paintings of dead presidents in the middle of the night.
But Rev. Lambrecht can count the numbers of GC delegates he can count on or manipulate in 2020. And it’s clear that he’s not leading a unified pack of American United Methodists in marching upward to Zion.
While he writes with rational clarity and dispassion about the failure of his Traditionalist Plan to gain acceptance and administrative traction in most (80%), if not all of American Methodist hearts and minds, he may be having some restless or sleepless nights as a result.
‘Cause it looks like implementation of the TP is NOT gonna be an easy sell come January 1, 2020.
Cynthia Astle, who’s not known for hyperbole, refers to the “’reform and renewal forces … getting their collective butts kicked” in “a classic example of the law of unintended consequences.”
As their designated point man and author of the TP, Rev. Lambrecht’s metaphorical posterior must be especially sensitive from all the unwanted attention it’s been getting.
In just a few days Rev. Lambrecht may show up at his Wisconsin Annual Conference, whose 2019 GC delegates voted unanimously against his TP. He hasn’t even bothered to run as a GC delegate in 2020, though he’s been the legislative quarterback for the Renewal & Reform Coalition at General Conference since 1992. And he may have the opportunity to rub elbows with openly gay Rev. Amy DeLong and others.
It’s difficult to imagine a happy reunion with all his long-time clergy colleagues at annual conference.
With the growing tide of Resistance to Rev. Lambrecht’s TP that barely passed (by just 54 votes) the 2019 General Conference suddenly sucking out the water that floated his legislative boat in 2019, you know what’s about to happen, at least in the USA: the mounting toll of progressive/moderate General Conference delegates, resolutions of opposition, ordinations in defiance of the TP’s restrictions, and other forms of outrage embodied in our annual conference sessions now in progress, on top of Rev. Adam Hamilton’s UMC-Next conference to energize the centrists and the clarion call for PoC+Q+T liberation from the Our Movement Forward summit, begins to look like a looming Tsunami in the far distance, heading for our legislative shores in May, 2020.
I hope Rev. Lambrecht has invested in a large supply of life jackets.

Wayne more than 2 years ago

Snip from Lambrecht, Annotated

My comments are in hard brackets [ ]. Quotes are from the Lambrecht piece linked in the article.

"As we argued in the lead-up to St. Louis, many moderates would be willing to tolerate the presence of evangelicals in the church, as long as the moderates and progressives get to do ministry the way they want. Now that the church is trying to get serious about seeing that clergy live by its policies, however, they are singing a different tune. [Same tune, Tom. Your lot changed the key and the tempo.] Many moderates cannot be in a church that does not allow progressives to perform same-sex marriages and ordain practicing gay and lesbian clergy. So they have cast their lot with the progressives. [Known previously as 'get to do ministry the way that they want.]

The result of this approach would be to jettison most of the global church and adapt United Methodism to current American culture. [Not true at all. In the Moderate/Progressive view, there's actually room for everyone. In the Traditionalist view, there is not.] That is the direction being chosen by many in these important delegate elections. That is the opposite direction from where most evangelical United Methodists would like to see the church move."

To paraphrase, in reverse order:
The Traditionalists want the old-school, biblical literalism.
The people being elected to GC2020 don't seem to agree with that.
[False Premise/Fear Mongering] The Progressives are going to stop supporting Africa!
Moderates have thrown in with Progressives against Traditionalists.
Traditionalists pushed through a set of penalties, and wants to go farther to enforce harsh policies.
Moderates and Progressives are okay with Traditionalists in the UMC as long as they don't interfere with how Moderates/Progressives feel called to do ministry. [This WAS true. I don't know if it's true anymore since GC2019, but I think that if the Traditionalists capitulated on that point there'd be room under the tent, though perhaps a little open space in the middle would be good for a while.]

JR more than 2 years ago

Isn't this "20% drop" roughly the same as the Budget Drop?

Seems I have read 2 or 3 articles about budget shortfalls in the um-insight blogs. So, could delegates be dropping and the budget income dropping be related? Is anything in the UMC rising except for revolution? Why do the powers continue to search for a future for something which does not have one?

Reese more than 2 years ago


A church coming unwound is nothing to celebrate!

Furthermore, Lambrecht has never written anything with the derogatory celebratory tone that this article has--all he has ever done is point out our extreme theological differences which somehow in progressive thinking is translated into "you are wrong and I am right". It is progressives, not traditionalists, who do not know how to live with those who disagree with them. It is progressives who are killing the church with their insistence that the church must see it there way or no way.

Lambrecht made some other interesting observations in his article:

"Interestingly, all of the traditional delegate losses have come among clergy. Overall, traditional lay delegates have actually gained slightly in numbers. This result points to the fact that the clergy and the laity in our denomination are generally headed in different directions."

"Ironically, in a quest for diversity, the church is becoming less diverse. We are hearing that more and more of the delegates are coming from metropolitan areas, rather than rural churches. Support for traditional theological approaches is waning. Other mainline denominations have found that growing more progressive means growing older, whiter, and smaller. That may be where the moderate and progressive wing of the church is headed." https://goodnewsmag.org/2019/06/progress-report-on-annual-conference-actions/

I will stick with traditionalists, overall they have a better grasp of reality whereas progressives seem to operate within a small bubble that does not acknowledge that they are only one small part of a much larger picture of which they are not in control of.

betsy more than 2 years ago

I found more Lambrecht-isms

"In addition, Baltimore-Washington, Michigan, Northern Illinois, and North Texas have ordained or commissioned openly gay clergy... The woman ordained in North Texas is living in celibacy, so she qualifies for ordination under our standards. The two clergy in Baltimore-Washington and one in Northern Illinois are living in same-sex marriages, so they definitely do not qualify. One of the two gay persons commissioned in Michigan is living in a same-sex marriage and thus does not qualify, while the other is not and so apparently does qualify."

I find the use of 'apparently' to be indicative of his disbelief. Weak sauce for a Reverend.

"Nowhere has this shift been illustrated more than in the election of delegates to General Conference. Part of the agenda of the moderate and progressive coalition is to switch enough votes among the U.S. delegates to overturn the actions of the 2019 General Conference in 2020. The passion and anger among those opposed to the church's position has motivated them to unprecedented efforts to elect sympathetic delegates. We have heard there has been a concerted effort to get many more retired clergy are attending annual conferences in order to vote for progressive candidates. We have also received reports of voter suppression in some annual conferences, where Licensed Local Pastors who meet the qualifications of the church Constitution have been denied the ability to vote for clergy delegates or have been required to provide extra paperwork, such as seminary transcripts."

First, Traditionalists went political with the vote counting and the push for GC2019. Unfortunately, what goes around comes around. DON'T COMPLAIN WHEN THE SAME TACTICS ARE BEING USED, TOM.

Secondly, call out specifically the LLP issues. Those are real and of concern, and if that is being done they should be shouted out and aggressively policed.

"Clergy also tend to be institutionalists. We naturally gravitate toward protecting the institution of the church, since it is our livelihood and career. Many moderates believe the best way to protect the institution is to make it more relevant to the culture in which we live."

This one is my favorite. Shouldn't we make our faith relevant to our culture? It's been done time and time again throughout history.
Do you celebrate Jesus birth on Dec 25th? That was 'decided' to coincide with other religious holidays from other religions (Winter Solstice and Saturnalia being two prominent ones).
Do you put up a Christmas Tree? Pagan tradition, again tied to the Winter Solstice.
Do you put Easter eggs out on the Church lawn? Zoroastrans celebrate their new year (in March) with painted eggs, and that tradition goes back before Christ was even born.
Oh, how about using grape juice instead of wine? That ties to the temperance movement in America. http://www.umc.org/who-we-are/methodist-history-controversy-communion-and-welchs-grape-juice
Priests able to marry?
Women able to be ordained?
Divorced/remarried pastors?

JR more than 2 years ago

I don't think there's a correlation between the delegates and the budget

Budget is due to the falling attendance/membership. This was discussed well prior to GC2019, even though those events may have exacerbated the problem.

Delegate swap is due to some amount of recognition and action being taken against the actions of GC2019. I think that has awakened a sleeping giant, to be honest. Here's the great thing, with more people becoming more involved and motivated, it might actually drive the UMC towards a stronger budget number (schism could mean all best are off though).

JR more than 2 years ago

Must have run out of labels

The big blue area in the upper left of the map on the Continental US is the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, in case someone needed that info to complete the map. Includes Alaska, too. (Picturing the map draftsperson labelling it "Terra Incognito -here there be tygers".)
Cheers. As a member of the conference trustees, just thought you'd like the info.

Bob Ives more than 2 years ago