“Embrace the Challenge” 2019 Stewardship Campaign
November 4, 2019
Peter Berg, UUMC Policy Governance Board Chair
Dear UUMC Friend,
This year’s stewardship theme is “Embracing the Challenge.” Well, the United Methodist Church is in the midst of a great challenge. The decisions of the 2019 General Conference to choose the “traditional plan” which calls for strengthening the ban on same-sex marriage and gay ordination in the church and includes harsher penalties for the clergy and bishops that violate this ban has caused divisions within the United Methodist Church. There has been a lot of resistance to the traditional plan, including the ordination of two gay clergy at the 2019 Michigan Annual Conference. In addition, there have been plans submitted to the 2020 General Conference for a separation of the United Methodist Church into various branches. These plans range from separating into several related churches to establishing different conferences that can tailor rules to better suit local values and culture. There appears to be a renewed interest in finding a solution to this issue that is dividing the church. We will know more in the run up to the May 2020 General Conference.
Here at UUMC, we have been discussing our response to these developments. Do we disaffiliate and become an independent church or affiliate with a new denomination or do we continue to participate in resistance and live out our own local mission statement of inclusion in hopes that a solution is reached at the 2020 General Conference? The cost of disaffiliation from the Michigan Annual Conference is currently severe at around $750,000, and the future is uncertain. What is clear, however, is that we must stick together and stay unified as we move forward.
Whatever happens as a result of these challenges, UUMC will need a solid financial footing as we go forward and this stewardship campaign is an important part of securing our financial future. Thus, I encourage all of us to stay involved and informed, to work together, and to give generously and embrace the challenge.
At University United Methodist Church, we affirm that as disciples of Jesus Christ, we are an open and inclusive congregation and welcome all persons into full participation regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic situation, age, ability, education, background and whether single or partnered.