The 'Untied' Methodist Church

A Modest Proposal for Separating the Church



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Count me as the some who don't think 2/3rds is possible.

Annual conferences will just need to disaffiliate as they are separate legal entities. What a mess! Nothing to be gained by waiting until 2020, but it wouldn't surprise me if annual conferences did wait. The logistics of this may cause an implosion of the annual conferences.

If this is of god, then it can't be stopped. If it's not, well, it's going to be an uphill climb.

Anonymous more than 2 years ago

2/3 Possibilities

I tend to think that Progressive, Moderate, and Conservative leadership at the GC will be able to agree to a negotiated split in which both sides keep their assets and share a few things. The Conservatives will want to be able to complete their agenda without the constant harassing of the Progressives and the now full-blown opposition of the Moderates. While the Conservatives can attain simple majorities in voting, their long term agenda will require changes in the Constitution (and especially to the restrictive rules) that they're not going to be able to get for the foreseeable future. If nothing else, ridding themselves of the progressives and moderate centrists will be worth it to them.

The real problem will be obtaining the 2/3 necessary aggregate vote of the Annual Conferences to ratify any amendment that will allow for suspending the Constitution to enable an amicable split. I'm not as sure that such is do-able. There will be many in Conservative conferences outside the US which will be afraid that their allies within the US won't continue to provide financial support for their ministries ... a well-founded fear, since much of that support was, at best, opportunistic and paternalistic. They might try to scuttle such an arrangement unless they are made some pretty steep promises about continued support from the US Church. Also, I think that Tooley's presumptions regarding the size of the conservative block within the US are unrealistic. It is very true that not all of those who voted for the One Church Plan were progressives, but they were in favor of the more moderate approach than the Conservative's legalistic approach. I would be surprised if even 40% of the US Church would agree to go along with a successor denomination that not only affirmed the Traditionalist Plan but, indeed, was pushing an even more conservative (fundamentalist) agenda. The US church's moderate components would tend to feel more at home in a "live-and-let-live" church rather than in a legalistic, "Handmade's Tail" type denomination.

A possible failure to reach the 2/3 ratification threshold is why I suggested in my proposal that those Conferences which voted in favor of the Amendment should just move ahead as if it had been ratified and break from the General Conference anyway. I'm not sure there's anything other than voluntary agreements that could keep such from happening.

Gregory S. Neal more than 2 years ago

Annual Conference Level versus Congregation Level?

While focusing the dissolution plan at the Conference level may have appeal for simplicity, I do not believe annual conferences are the real battle ground in this conflict. For the vast majority of at least laity Methodists on both sides of this issue, the question has become deeply personal and the context for our position’s on the issue is now much more centered around our individual worship communities. Our dilemma now is much more a question of “Which way will my church go – inclusive or not?”.

Furthermore, as we start down the path of formal dissolution of the UMC and as positions are taken and made known publicly, the core question will morph even further away from the annual conference level. The dilemma will soon be “Do I stay or go given where my local church stands on this? Do I really want to worship in this place with those holding those beliefs or is there another bunch down the road who better reflect my views on it?

I believe these realities – at the local church and individual personal level – will effectively counter any requirement for a 2/3 majority vote for any one congregation to take up a different position on LGBTQIA+ from it’s Annual Conference. Locking that requirement into the “Dissolution Rules” would effectively kill the local church which may have as many as 65% who disagree with the annual conference decision. The opposed members of the local church will simply vote with their feet regardless of which way its annual conference goes.

Jerry LUmmus more than 2 years ago

Peaceful departure

Thank you for your faith and understanding; we can, we will and we shall part in a peaceful manner. Extreme left and right, need not impede the path. Let us part, and wish each other well and hope to do ministry in the name of Jesus. Time has come to set aside differences and just proclaim the "Good News" and set about helping people and spreading the Gospel. For those that are stuck on the money issues, may you know that "Hell" awaits such greedy people who focus on money more than souls.

Tracy more than 2 years ago

Money Issues

Hi Tracy,

I think that the 'money issues' around pensions and such aren't wholly trivial, but they can be worked out. I'm more concerned about the money issues around funding of UMCOR, etc. Do those operations just close up shop in the event of a 'peaceful' split? Are we able to find an agreement to jointly fund them - and if we do, what happens when one of the sides either is financially strapped or chooses to lower their funding?

None of that affects me directly, but it does have a significant impact.

JR more than 2 years ago

It sounds reasonable but...

Both the far right and the far left are so entrenched that they will never allow GC to act. I think at the AC and Jurisdiction level areas will just begin to leave. If enough leave GC has little recourse. They could sue but if enough leave the legal issues to become beyond GC's financial resources. I think finding a middle way died this year and the open defiance and warfare will now be the way forward short of simply leaving.

eric more than 2 years ago

I think that's WHY they will act

There's something to be said for stubbornly holding your ground, but I think that this plan allows both sides to equitably pull back from mutually assured destruction. I think that everyone is starting to see that fighting about this is a wholly losing proposition - and that changing for the better (in both sides' opinions) is good for all.

My biggest questions are logistical. What if one side has 2x as many pastors as they need? How much Bishop up-staffing would need to occur? I don't think we know enough about the numbers (how many are on each side in each conference, etc) to efficiently move this through, but it's better than where we stand now.

JR more than 2 years ago