Doing Away with the Western #UMC?



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Eliminating the Western Jurisdiction

In 2000, this lifelong UM from the Western Jurisdiction made a prediction with no date. Now I'll make it with date attached: by 2024, certainly no later than 2028, the UMC in the US will drop from five to four jurisdictions: North Central, South Central, Southeast, and Bi-Coastal. Yes, the Western Jurisdiction and the Northeast Jurisdiction will end up merging. Why? It has nothing to do with geography. Rather, it has to do with theological outlook.

For what it is worth, in the first half of the 20th century, virtually all of the clergy who were invited/encouraged to come serve in the west, came from bishops who ALL were graduates of Boston University School of Theology. They sent DS's to recruit clergy in Boston. Once the School of Theology in Claremont broke away from the University of Southern California and became an independent school, the majority of clergy trained for the Western Jurisdiction came out of STC/CST, most having come up in churches that had Boston grads. The theology and world view of the two Jurisdictions are similar. They are the two smallest jurisdictions. The merger of those two would be the most logical re-allocation of jurisdictional relationships. The two have a financial tie, as well: the United Methodist Federal Credit Union now services all of the Annual Conferences in the Western Jurisdiction, plus the New England Annual Conference (that's four states, folks, in the NE Jurisdiction).

I'm sure my even suggesting this will not win me many friends, because both Jurisdictions treasure their independence. However, if we do have to reduce the number of Jurisdictions, this would be the best relational fit one could imagine.

Tom Griffith more than 6 years ago