A Hopeful Way Forward for Progressive United Methodists



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What will happen

Traditionalists want Progressives and Moderates to leave; yet, continue to support their efforts in conferences who don't support them. I am ok with Progressives and Moderates leaving. In the end, if we don't we will soon face a clergy shortage anyhow as Progressive and Moderate candidates choose other denominations to pursue ministry. It is best that a US/ Western European based denomination completely break and focus on our ministry and let the Traditionalists go on with their mission. Frankly, this is going to happen whether the Bishops or "leadership" wants this to happen or not. If most the Jurisdictions outside of the SE US leave to go their own way it won't matter what they want. They will be left alone to tough it out with the other conservative conferences in S. America, Asia, and Africa. If they can survive without our money and adjust expectations accordingly so be it and God bless them. But the bulk of the US and Western Europe are going to leave before 2020. This is going to happen. Its too late to reconcile now.

Eric more than 2 years ago


The article uses the following language more than once "that welcomes all numerous visions of human sexuality." How many different visions of human sexuality might there be?

Caren Lewis more than 2 years ago

I totally disagree

Sorry, but I totally disagree that this is the only option. The WCA and the Traditionalists are the ones who want to split the denomination. They have caused the furor. Let them leave. The WCA has already drawn up the framework for a new denomination, so they're ready to go. For us to leave is cowardly and lets them win. I think that a better plan is to separate the US and European UMC from Africa and Asia. If the WCA wants to unite with the UMC Churches in Africa and Asia, let them have at it. I think each continent, country or region should have their own governance any way. The cultures are too different, educational levels are too different, beliefs too different, and I don't think it right that we can tell them how to think, believe and live out their faith, and I don't believe that they should be able to dictate to us how to think, believe and live out our faith. Separate the different geographical regions and/or let the WCA go. We are United Methodist. We are mainstream, just like the Episcopalians and Presbyterians. The traditionalists aren't mainstream Protestant, they're mainstream fundamentalist, more Southern Baptist than Methodist.

Craig Collins more than 2 years ago


This logic is strange since the liberal christians in the umc don't have enough votes at general conferenfe to legislate. Are you saying that liberal factions in the church should do as much damage and carnage as they can as the minority to cause enough traditional beleivers to leave so liberal christians can eventually get their way? Or are traditonal delegates just supposed to change their votes to appease those who disagree with them?

td more than 2 years ago

Craig you are Correct

Younger and more educated UMC members will leave in droves if they see the same discrimination, once shown toward or African American sisters and brothers, now being shown to our friends and family who are LBGT.

Carla and Robert Skidmore more than 2 years ago

People have are already speaking with their feet.

People have already spoken with their feet. You know though a lot of pew sitters just won't care until they see their coffers decrease or when they look around and see no young families. Some are Okay with this. They would rather their Church die than create a more diverse church. I think this is why the UMC was never really meant to be a global church. The cultural differences globally are so extreme that short of agreeing on Christ we are really not in agreement anymore.

Eric more than 2 years ago

can't agree

You have absolutely no evidence that redefining sexual sin in the UMC will lead to increased membership of young families. Please cite one institutional church that is experiencing this increased membership due to getting rid of sexual sins.

td more than 2 years ago

Sad and painful day.

This split is tearing at my soul since my conviction in Christian is completely on the Progressive side while it is a given certainty that the congregation of my youth will follow the traditionalist path. That means that the beautiful little church of my baptism cannot serve as the church of my coming funeral. My heart is broken.

Gary Klein more than 2 years ago


If it makes you feel any better, the church i grew up in and still attend will most certainly go the liberal route which my whole family opposes. So...i guess we're even. There's no getting around it when basic beliefs are so different.

td more than 2 years ago

Gracious Exit?

Funny to me that now they want to talk about separation and of course they will want a gracious exit provision. They weren't that generous even a month ago when they thought the OCP would pass. Of course I feel that we should let them go with their buildings, bank accounts and our blessings but I also realize that they would not be doing the same had the vote gone the other way.

Mark Roberts more than 2 years ago

Not up to GC

To leave with your buildings, you will have to take it from your annual conference. GC has no authority in the matter as its not their assets.

Anonymous more than 2 years ago

Hopeful way

So when the WCA was creating a safe home for Traditionalists they were viewed as scheming schismatics. Exit plans were to be fought and the trust clause enforced with vigor.
Now the Progressives are looking to escape and create a progressive branch and suddenly exit plans do not seem like such a bad idea. What a difference a month makes. To quote Dorothee Benz "Don't let the door hit you on the way out"

Kevin more than 2 years ago

How "Christian" of you, Kevin

Oh, my how these Christians do love one another? "Don't let the door hit you on your way out?" Kevin if your brand of Christianity is part and parcel of the WCA no wonder it is losing members. In the south you may find more members but those members only go to church for the music, choirs and orchestras that make it tolerable. Do folks listen to the dry old trash that the minister says? No, they probably sleep, wake up for the hymns, sing, and then sleep until it is time to leave. Our nation has Marriage Equality, why can't the church? OH, I know why, the church is always a decade or two behind reality. I remember a song sung to the tune of Onward Christian Soldiers, "Like a mighty tortoise moves the Church of God. Brothers we are treading where we've always trod. Some lack hope, and some lack love but all lack charity. The song goes on for another stanza or two but ends up with "With the cross of Jesus hanging behind the door."

Carla and Robert Skidmore more than 2 years ago


Where was your outrage two months ago when the Progressives were talking like this? Crickets chirping. Spare me your sanctimonious twaddle. I need to ponder the dry old trash my pastor preaches.

Kevin more than 2 years ago

Elitist Liberal Progressives

Do you realize how elitist your posts come across? It is like you two are the poster children for elitist liberal progressivism. If you are less educated, stupid, or from the South,you must be a Traditionalist. If you are not a woman, you have no right to speak out against abortion. Those are just some of the elitist views you have recently expressed, not to mention that the UMC “discriminates” against LGBT simply for upholding the word of God. Do you two ever communicate with regular people? Or, do you only communicate with other elitist liberals? I strongly disagree with everything you stand for but I don’ttake it personally that we disagree. You two seem to sit on your high horse espousing yourplatitudes with no logic or reason as a basis. Your posts lack empathy or grace for those who are targeted.

When was the last time you put into action God’s direction to serve the poor,needy? When was the last time you served in a homeless shelter, a soup line, or on a mission team to a third world country? Again, I ask not in anger but simply to help you realize how you come across. It is very condescending.

Steve more than 2 years ago

Hopfull way foreward

I agree. If you think there is no future, by all means leave. Why do you need the church property to leave. I guess you are not sure the Lord will provide.

Joe Smutts more than 2 years ago

Reply to Joe,

Joe I need to respond to your comments. As a very traditional Pastor I find your comments both unnecessary and hurtful. I have to agree with Jack Jackson. I do not wish any ill will on my progressive brothers and sisters. While I disagree with them I also understand that they are sincere in their beliefs. I wish we could live together but the time for that has long since passed and too much water has passed under the bridge for us to stay together. This has become a major distraction, even for my traditional church in a very traditional conference. All the other denominations, including the Southern Baptists are buzzing about gay Methodists. We need to stop tearing ourselves apart. The simplest solution is to split the denomination, share Wespath and any other agencies that can be independent and useful to both new denominations. All other property should be split equally. Then let each annual conference choose which of the new denominations they wish to join and let any church that objects to the AC's choice join a different AC. All property and loans due should carry with church. Simpler is better and this plan would make the least number of churches have to vote on what to do, as the majority of them reflect their personalities of their AC's. Ministers should be able to transfer as well. This would also protect liberal church in the west and North. I am very heartened to hear that people from both sides are talking and crafting a plan. My prayers are with them.

Scott more than 2 years ago

Well Said

Scott, your comments are well made and full of grace. Traditionalists need to show and reflect a grace that was not extended to them.

Jeff more than 2 years ago

thank you for a voice of reason.

Thanks for a reasoned, prudent response. But this wholre thing continues to be a mess. Our local pastor has decided that she is justified to demonize traditional believers and is now attempting to re-educate her congregants on how there are no sexual sins. This behavior from a umc clergywoman who has vowed to teach umc teaching leaves traditional believers completely distrustful of those on the progressive side. I assume that similar actions had the general conference decided differently would also be inappropriate.

A split onviously has to occur, but it will rip whatever fabric out of what is left in local congregations. Truly, the church we all grew up with will no longer exist anywhere. Already, my parents have been labeled as bigots and homophobes for merely holding to 2000 year old consistent christian teaching.

Trust simply does not exist.

td more than 2 years ago


I have not attended nor supported my church for more than 2 years due to Bishop Olivuto’s appointment and my church’s liberal social justice agenda. I miss my church family. Knowing that talks are underway for progressives to leave the UMC gives me hope that I may some day have a church to return to. I implore both progressive and Traditionalist leaders to negotiate in a fair and equitable manner. However, I ask that the split be a complete split with no association, ties, or connection between the new progressive church and the UMC.

Please make this split happen.

Steve more than 2 years ago