What I Saw (and Felt) at UMCNext



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I see in several articles here that UMC is a racist organization. I have not seen that substantiated. Please back up assertions with examples where the UMC has recently excluded or otherwise diminished people due to their race.

Dave more than 2 years ago

post appreciated.

Thank you for the best summary that I have read about the gathering. I agree that the "messaging" to traditional believers from the meeting is that those who disagree with UMC policy will stay, rule break, and burn down the institution if necessary to get their way. (I am reminded of the "FIRE" images that were displayed on this website after GC.) I do not understand why the group would not want to take advantage of the freedom that establishing a new denomination would give them- especially since Hamilton seems to be so revered by this group and he has huge financial, political, and media support.

I also agree that the window for GC providing easy (and gracious exit paths) for those who want to withdraw is going to close after (or during) GC next year. It would be especially important to provide an agency (and financing) to help clergy transition out of the UMC to a new denomination and to provide start-up funding for a new denomination. The patience to dissenters is going to rapidly evaporate at some point.

I don't quite understand why there would need to be 2 new denominations.. And I do not understand why seeking an easy exit path for dissenters isn't the simplest way for the church to split; many progressives seem to prefer a "managed and formulated" splitting that might take decades to formulate and pass, and in the end would be decided by the majority UMC with whom they disagree. Why isn't working with enough traditional believers to get to a majority at GC to enhance exit provisions on specific, targeted areas easier?

Although I think this is probably wrong, it appears to traditional believers that progressives don't want to establish a new church because they do not want to give up the UMC name- and there is little chance that the non US UMC will surrender that name. It seems that progressives already have a name waiting for them- Church of the Resurrection.

td more than 2 years ago

Hi td

From where I've been sitting, I'm not sure that Hamilton is the best leader for any split. He's important and he's got some heft, but he's also been a little late to the party. At best he's a progressive-leaning moderate.

I don't see where a real leader has emerged for the progressive side.

And I don't really think there's a particular affinity to the UMC brand as it stands now among the progressive side.

An easy exit path is ok for a single church, or even a small group of churches. The problem is that a) according to the details, it's really not all that easy financially; b) without 'somewhere to go' denominationally, there's not a drive to make a jump. There's a lot that gets lost when a church walks away, and only the strongest could survive that (like Mt Horeb in SC, or Hamilton's Church of the Resurrection).

Additionally, if there's no structure on the other side, which pastors are going to follow? Only those in the aforementioned Strongest group. There's too much uncertainty.

But a managed split, just like in a corporate one, accounts for more variables and works through the details. A team who outlines what group A will have or be, and what group B will have or be - and that need not be equal division.

There's potential in a managed split to have progressive, moderate, and traditional wings. [Which sounds a lot like the Connectional Conference plan]. They could even play in the same sandbox for missions, UMCOR, etc while being distinctly different in other points.

I think I've mentioned it before, but the biggest problem here is that while the Traditionalists have been prepared to walk away for a number of years, the moderates have been more about the unity and institution, while the progressives have been pushing for institutional change. While it seems easy to say that the other group should just walk away, that's from a perspective of a group who has laid the groundwork necessary to do so - the others have not prepared as they were working towards different goals.

JR more than 2 years ago


My preference has always been for a managed split. The reality is that i don't think we will get there. If the bishops had endorsed the connectional plan, i think gc may have had a chance to support it. But now, i think that idea is dead.

My contention still is that we will never get to a managed splitting- at least not one that drastically changes the general parameters outlined by exit provisions already passed. 2/3 of the local church will have to approve and some sort of fee will have to be paid. It will never be made "easy" for a local.church to leave. Even with a managed plan, i can't envision that only a majority vote in a local church can determine its disaffiliation from the majority gc.

I think it would be a good idea to fund an agency to help those churches to leave to converse and begin to afiliate (sort of like a half way house) and an agency to help clergy transition. I honestly do not think the gc can ever provide the parameters for what these churches would be leaving to. I think the halfway house is initially for thosse churches which can't live by the traditional plan. And they themselves will have to determine what else they agree on. I don't think the majority can do that for them.

td more than 2 years ago

i think you hit the nail on the head

In the fact that this is going to be hard, really hard.

I think that, without a managed split that has some strong agreement between both sides, what is going to end up is that the 'resistance' won't be able to leave. So they'll keep on fighting, and nobody wins.

The half way house idea is a good one - I see it almost like an oversight board, to take out some of the emotional issues here. Instead of the [current BoD] DS deciding if a church is viable or should be closed down/sold off, and the attendant financial implications, a Board would be able to review groups of 'new denominational' shifts. If done well, the appropriate financial impact could be shifted. Often in modern corporate divestitures, the resulting 'new company' can be saddled with an inordinate amount of debt which helps out the 'original' company - we'd want to be sure that doesn't happen, and that things are fairly managed. By the same token, the New shouldn't be without any of the former debt - this isn't a fresh start from bankruptcy either.

But I keep coming back to this - unless there's a defined 'end goal' for those who could split, they won't - it has to be pretty clear where they are going to go, how they are going to get there, and how tough it's going to be. We're talking about Pilgrims coming to America, a 'known' option (even if there are a lot of unknowns unaccounted for) instead of a Columbus off exploring for the 'unknown'.

I don't think that, under other circumstances, it should be easy for a congregation to walk away from a denomination. But this is a very specific situation, and while it shouldn't be really easy, if you make the wall high enough they will just stay and continue to fight. I think that's a no-win situation.

JR more than 2 years ago