Good-bye, Grace



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Thank you

This is such an insightful reflection. In the post GC2019 turmoil, thoughtful, respectful insights like this are a special gift. It must be very hard to cover all this pain. Blessings and prayers

Mary John more than 2 years ago

Grace's story

Thank you, Cynthia.


Another Grace more than 2 years ago

Winners & Losers

When there is a vote there are winners and losers. This came to a head because Scripture isn't being followed. God doesn't change but people and culture do. If you believe in Jesus as the Son of God then you must believe God's Word in the Bible. Otherwise, there is anarchy in the Body. And that has brought us to where we are.

Jeff Lucas more than 2 years ago

And to be clear on one point

As far as I am concerned, progressives have no claim to righteousness--they have made their own contribution to this never ending debacle. If the One Church Plan had passed, media coverage may have been more favorable, but the church would have still been in an uproar from traditionalists, especially at the level of the pew. It is time for progressives to embrace the reality that there was no single way forward for the entire church--one way or another it was going to come apart. The only question was would it be the end be orderly or disorderly. I think it is safe to say it will be the disorderly option because Bishops bankrupted their leadership with their full blown support of the One Church Plan without an exit ramp.

betsy more than 2 years ago

From what I read

What traditionalists regret is how ugly GC2019 got, not the outcome. As much as I relate to the theology of the WCA, I have never fully embraced how they have functioned, especially when it came to how a Traditionalist plan would ever be implemented. And my doubts continue to grow as verbiage starts emerging that they never intended to inherit the denomination. As a traditionalist rank and file laity, my whole problem with the church over the last several years was realizing that there were statements on paper that did not reflect the reality of how the church is actually functioning. In a sense, the One Church Plan would have brought what is on paper with the reality of how the church is functioning but Bishops muffed that opportunity when they nixed an exit plan for the WCA. So, as a traditionalist, I am done with vesting my life in such a mucked up and dysfunctional organization. I will continue to hold my long term local church lightly in my life by pledging a nominal amount and showing up on Sundays while the denomination sorts itself out on the other side of this debacle. As for spiritual guidance, I will rely on books and the Daily Text from Although for many years the Methodist/United Methodist Church was a positive in my life ultimately it has become one more source of brokenness in my already broken life.

betsy more than 2 years ago

Good bye

It was less than a month ago when the Progressives were telling the Traditionalists to not let the door hit them on the way out. What a difference a GC can make.
Everyone realized that whatever was voted people would leave. This way forward will likely bring in more people that it drives away. The new members might be on another continent but growth is growth.

Kevin more than 2 years ago

It is time....

I do not understand why anyone would join a denomination when you clearly do not believe in the discipline. The UMC discipline has not changed since 1972. All who have joined since should have know this, and the pastors/bishops who ignored this have done a great disservice to all. I wish all well in the love of Jesus, but we cannot change scripture so in this we must agree to disagree before more harm is done. I blame leadership in allowing this to fester for so long, had it been dealt with sooner, it would not have evolved to this fiasco and saved a lot of anguish for God's people. I am sadden to say it was greed and power hungry leaders that DID NOT do their jobs. Many have been needlessly harmed and our mission has been compromised. Those who do not honor the Methodist discipline should find another denomination and stop trying to change our discipline. Our leaders have been following wolf in sheep's clothing.

Tracy Adams more than 2 years ago

So lets say they "did their jobs"

Following your premise lets say leadership since 1972 had "done their jobs" and enforced the Discipline in total. Would the Denomination even still exist nationally let alone globally? I don't think so. This was an issue well before the communion of 1972 and the people in the room put it on paper and agreed in practice to ignore it where would cause harm and enforce it where it would not.( seemed to be the attitude towards a lot of issues that are coming to a head now) In fact we as a denomination haven't really enforced the Discipline at all. Pastors and members still smoke, drink, divorce, pollute, abuse, and all other manner of things the discipline eschews. Yet we seem to only enforce it on the weak and the minority. Funny, So yes everyone in leadership save for a few have been turning their eyes and ignoring it. So we have two functioning groups. One that wants a more Progressive reading of Wesley. And one that frankly resembles more of a non denominational or SBC theology. For those like me in the middle there isn't a home right now. Regardless, its now in the Annual Conferences courts. They can either kick the can until 2020 (most likely) or they can leave.

eric more than 2 years ago


Yes, the leadership of the church should be held accountable but also we in the pews need to share in the blame as we didn't require them to uphold the UMC discipline. I will also say that the liberals don't understand the depth of the hurt and anger on the other side of the fence. And the confusion of why anyone would join a church that had strictures that they didn't agree with. I also can't comprehend why people don't understand that as much as God is about grace and love, He is also about righteousness and repentance. There are no winners, there wouldn't have been any if the one church plan had been passed. It is so sad that our supposed leaders let it get this far.

Virginia Berger more than 2 years ago

We’re just going to have to agree to disagree

Dear Ms. Astle, I say with all respect that we are going to have to agree to disagree. We find ourselves in this mess because our weak leadership allowed defiance to become the norm for many and now we’re paying the price. People are going to leave, probably on both sides of the debate, because they are fed up with the lack of leadership. I went to my conference’s post GC 2019 Assembly hoping my Bishop’s assurances that he had a plan that would keep our conference together and heard relief expressed by the attendees in the passing of the Traditionalist plan but anguish over the process and vitriol. We were told we were launching into something new and were then told what we were launching into was the status quo because it’s just too difficult for the annual conference as a whole to leave. That’s leadership? I left more frustrated than ever knowing our system is designed such that no global enforcement mechanism beyond what each annual conference chooses to do, or perhaps more accurately NOT do, will be authorized and my annual conference’s leadership’s position is to just shrug its shoulders and claim the best they can do is offer the individual congregations within our conference a gracious exit if we can’t live with it. Wasn’t that the problem with the OCP??? Passing the buck to individual congregations??? The UMC is a rotten Humpty Dumpty that can’t be put back together again. We in the laity need to see our leaders taking the difficult steps o leading us out of the wilderness in which we now find ourselves but actively working towards forming at least two, and if necessary three, separate Wesleyan-based denominations. As to who is following John Wesley more closely, we are just going to disagree and it doesn’t help the process by your labeling people associated with Good News The Confessing Movement, IRD or the WCA as people who are “not good.” You may as is your right disagree with our theology, but let us let God judge who is good and who is worthy of His favor and who is not. I’ve not yet talked with someone who agrees with the Traditionalist position who “regrets” that the Traditional Plan passed and the OCP was defeated. Your projecting your disappointment that your position did not prevail. The main “regret” I’m hearing is the profound sadness over the vitriol and name-calling, the bad faith parliamentary tactics utilized by those who did not have the votes to have their preferred plan pass yet again, and the frustration knowing our denomination is filled with Bishops and ordained members who rejoice in violating the oaths they took before a God and His people to abide by our Discipline and who rather defy and condemn our Discipline while earning a salary and benefits because they promised to uphold it.

John more than 2 years ago

Well Said

Virginia: Very well said!

Jeff Lucas more than 2 years ago

Virginia is right

The progressives don’t understand the depth of the hurt and pain we Traditionalists have felt. Although I don’t claim to have the UMC credentials as “Grace”, if the vote had gone any other way, it would have been me and others like me who were through with the UMC. Traditionalists have watched on with hurt and pain as progressives have taken over our seminaries, colleges, conferences, and churches with their liberal secular social justice agenda.However, twisting the very Word of God to have our denomination condone the sin of homosexuality and to legitimize before God an unnatural union and call it a marriage is beyond painful, it is intolerable.

I, and other Traditionalists don’ twant to see anyone in pain and it grieves us that our leaders let the situation escalate to this point. It gets back to “Spare the rod and spoil the child” where our leaders refused to hold clergy accountable for breaking their oaths. We as a denomination did a poor job of holding our leaders accountable. The Traditionalist Plan seeks to ensure that discipline is at the very core of our governance going forward. Our progressive members seem to feel such accountability is unChristian or mean spirited. However, just as a parent must exhibit tough love to hold their children accountable, we must hold our church leaders accountable.

It is my hope that progressives leave the church and find another denomination conducive to their unholy teachings, or start their own new denomination. I pray for a peaceful, fair, and expeditious transition. Just as I am encouraged about the direction of the country turning back the tide of progressivism-putting the brakes on global warming fallacy, abortion, and illegal immigration; embracing American exceptionalism over multiculturalism- I see hope and encouragement in the GC2019 vote. I finally see a glimmer of taking back our church and putting it on the right path of teaching God’s Word as Truth and holding our leaders accountable.

Steve more than 2 years ago