October 2, 2019
Rev. William Bills
Brunch will be served after the 11:00 worship service this Sunday, October 6. During the brunch, Peter Berg, chair of the Policy Governance Board will present an update on the work our board has been doing in response to the decisions that were made at the 2019 special General Conference. That Conference enacted stricter rules in our denomination that further alienate and marginalize LGBTQIA people in the United Methodist Church. The new rules also seek the enforcement of much harsher penalties for congregations, bishops, superintendents, conference and district committees and clergy who support equal rights for all in our church. These new rules have met with significant resistance from the US church. It is estimated that 70% of American United Methodists reject the new “Traditional Plan”. Conferences and individuals have been openly defiant of the new plan.
The 2019 special General Conference also passed a plan for disaffiliation from the United Methodist denomination. That plan has been voided due to proven voting irregularities. It could still be possible to negotiate separation from a Traditionalist United Methodist Church but the price tag for that will be in the high six figures and the timeline is considerable. In the meantime, several new plans for separation into two, three or even four (or more) different versions of American Methodism have been submitted to the 2020 General Conference for consideration.
The situation is uncertain at this point and new information comes out almost weekly. This has made it very difficult for the Policy Governance Board to formulate a definitive plan going forward. We do have a good idea of what it could cost us to leave the denomination. We are also hopeful that cooler heads will prevail at the 2020 General Conference and that an amicable separation can be effected in the United States that will save everyone money and emotional distress.
Please come to brunch after the 11:00 service on October 6. The Board will provide as much information as they possibly can. They will try to answer your questions. If you cannot attend, a one page summary of the current situation can be picked up at the church or sent to you.
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.