UMC Next – A Reflection on the Present & Future



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Time is now for discerning leaders

I agree with the writer snd comments on this post. The time is now for new leaders to emerge and step up. We do not need more sitting on the fence or waffling on separation. If you are a leader who wants to stay and rebel and cause more harm Step Aside! We need leaders with real solutions and plans with integrity. This tug of war needs to be over. I believe those that just want to burn down the church to get their way are financially motivated. Time is running out for graceful exits and there needs to be financed support. No matter what your view of scripture, please encourage all to come to the table to divide. In this case, we cannot stay united and survive. Division will be best for everyone so the focus can go back to mission work and help others.

Tracy more than 2 years ago

Where is the leadership

Dear Ben,

I am probably on the opposite side of the aisle from you on the “Progressive/ Traditionalist” divide, but I agree we need our leaders to come together to hammer out an amicable split. Unfortunately I did not sense much in the way of leadership by our Bishop in the Tifton meeting nor from what I read from other Bishops on sites such as this one. I keep hearing words to the effect that it’s too hard for Annual Conferences to join up with like-minded Annual Conferences to form new Wesleyan-based denominations in which “Progressives” in one and “Traditionalists” in the other can find peace and joy in their understanding of God’s will. I’ve about lost all patience. Who will be our Moses or Joshua (for each side) to lead us out of the Wilderness in which we now find ourselves mired?

John more than 2 years ago

Hi John

I think that having the leader step up and be our guide is our biggest problem.

The WCA/Good News etc has an already established structure. They know the couple of people at the top that they would rely on as their navigators.

For the Moderates, Hamilton seems to be that guy. But he's stuck more in the resistance mode rather than leading into a new methodism.

No one has stepped up for the progressives. We need a figurehead, with a cadre around that person, to be our point person. And there's no sense of consensus around who that might be.

JR more than 2 years ago

Western Jurisdiction

Joining with The Western Jurisdiction seems to be the end point for “Progressives.” I’d be perfectly happy with The South Georgia Conference and other overwhelmingly “ Traditionalist” Conferences joining together under the umbrella of the WCA. Churches in the South Georgia Conference which don’t want to go that route and ministers like Ben can choose to affiliate with another conference or new denomination to their liking. I really don’t care which side gets the name and logo or whether both sides rename and rebrand. I just want all this to be over and for both sides to go in peace. If it doesn’t end soon, I’m prepared to start searching for an alternative place to worship and support despite my love for my own congregation. Probably what those advocating resistance want.

John more than 2 years ago

I am confused.

You do realize that traditional churches and annual conferences don't need to join up with the wca, right? There seems to be a disconnect here where progressive believers seem to think that because they probably need to exit that that means that people who agree with the umc majority need to exit also.

td more than 2 years ago

No one on either side is committed

From everything I’m reading, neither those labeled Traditionalist nor those those labeled Progressive nor does Adam Hamilton who likes to think of himself as a Centrist, are happy with the quagmire but are not prepared to do much of anything. The Progressive /Adam Hamilton wings are perfectly happy staying and just defying the will of GC and the Traditionalist seem to think we can legislate our way out of the defiance and rebellion. It really isn’t worth fighting over a dead corpse. Let us all leave and start something new, as the UMC is theologically and spiritually a bag of dead bones at this point. I’m not sure it’s even worth trying to save unless you’re just an institutionalist and are just worried about your Bishop’s salary and benefits. These are justifiable concerns to those folks, but is it worth the cost of the life support efforts when the body is shutting down because it can no protect itself from attacks?

John more than 2 years ago


I understand what you are saying. However, you are legitimizing anarchy and delegitimizing our legitimate governing body. It is akin to saying, "well because i don't like this tax passed by our government, i won't pay it, and i will be outraged when they garnish my wages." Or similar to not accepting the reality that your preferred candidate didn't become president, so well let's just burn down his house.

I am working on being respectful, but people must accept that gc made a decision and it has to be followed. You claim that traditionals are trying to legislate their way to conformance. You do realize that the centrists and progressives were working on legislating away the sin and the rule so they didn't have to deal with it, right?

If the ocp had passed, there would have been no exit plan and traditionals would be forced to accept the new umc teachings on sexual acts. There would be no talk about how both sides need to leave.

At some point we are just talking past each other. My main point is that a managed split of the umc is unlikely. Centrists and progressives would be better served by working on amended and enhanced exit provisions. Do you really think that the majority umc will ever come up with a negotiated split that will ever be good enough for progressives and centrists? I don't - it will be befuddled by the same problems we have now. And take decades. And it completely ignores the notion that thr church in africa is highly unlikely to surrender the umc name.

td more than 2 years ago

I’m not advocating anarchy.

I’m not sure we’re communicating. I am on the Traditionalist side and support the results of GC. It’s the Progressive/ Hamiltons who are openly defying GC and promoting anarchy. What I find frustrating is our governance system seems not to allow GC to enforce anything on the Annual Conferences and Jurisdictions. Case in point, the Judicial Council rules Olevito’ elevation to Bishop violates our denomination’s BOD but then says only the Western Jurisdiction can take any action to correct the clear violation. And we all know it has no intention of doing so. That’s anarchy. All I’m advocating for are leaders to emerge from both sides to lead us out this quagmire. The South Georgia Conference convened today. While it will address a plan for individual churches to disaffiliate from the Annual Confrence, there will apparently be no discussion about or vote on the Annual Conference itself from disaffiliating from the Disunited Methodist Church and joining with like-minded Annual Conferences to start a new movement with workable and enforceable accountability rules. That not anarchy to push for a new Wesleyan movement. Open defiance of GC is anarchy.

John more than 2 years ago


Thanks for your clarification; i don't disagree with anything you are saying. Please excuse my incorrect reading of your post. I wish we were as lucky as you here in hamilton's ac. He is beloved by the ac and deplored by the laity and rural churches. In my mind he represents all that is wrong with the church- concerned with political correctness, politics, media coverage, and personal power and wealth.

td more than 2 years ago

I agree with both of you

Well, maybe not the last bit on Hamilton, but I don't know him. I like what he says, but that's because it's in alignment with my thoughts.

We need to split, and until there IS a split, there's no way that the core rules about GC being able to force compliance can be changed. And if the Traditionalists want that power, they'll have to help the progressives get out. That's just basic math - if you have 45% or more agreeing with the progressive side, you can't get to the 2/3 without changing the balance, and the easiest way to do that is to get most of that 45% to self-select out.

With a split, you can get the more liberal European votes out, and the progressive American votes out.

I don't think that the Serious Progressives even want the UMC label at this point. The elders and bishops might, but the legacy of the name isn't exactly drawing people in. And the 'U' is kind of ironic. I would think that an easy option (if going in 2 way split) would be PMC (Progressive Methodist Church) and TMC (Traditionalist Methodist Church) - even if just as working titles while they figure out what to call themselves.

The Book of Discipline doesn't really apply to the situation - I think we'll have to make up some rules for this one as GC2020 comes up.

Side note, I'm still annoyed that the Powers That Be (on all sides) aren't even trying to come up with some kind of census of membership. The church IS the people, and getting some solid data on where people stand on a number of issues ought to be the first point of concern here.

JR more than 2 years ago