Dear First Church Family,
A public announcement was made last Friday about 16 United Methodist leaders across the world who, together, will make a proposal to the United Methodist governing board, the General Conference, in May of 2020, that would allow unhappy churches on the extreme right or left to leave the denomination.
In my opinion, I don’t see that including or affecting us in a major way, other than making the formal United Methodist Church smaller; but we will gather information about the proposal and make that information available to you.
I contacted our District Superintendent about the situation immediately, and he has agreed to come speak to us and answer our questions later this month (Wednesday the 29th at our Faith Lift meal.)
Our Bishop reached out with a letter responding to the news as soon as it was made public. He cautions us to remain calm and to pray for our denomination and its future. I think that’s good advice.
In my opinion, there needs to be a process for some kind of separation for those churches who are unhappy, on the far right and the far left of the UMC, who have done nothing but complain, argue, and threaten for more than a decade trying to push the church to agree with their radical principles.
It was obvious that we couldn’t go on exactly as we were. Sooner or later, a process allowing those churches who are unhappy to leave was going to happen. And we as a denomination need to deal with this.
I can only speak for myself, but I have been Methodist my whole life, following in the footsteps of my great grandfather, Henry Gilbreth Stamey, who was a circuit-riding Methodist pastor in the late 1800s. And I have no desire to leave or forsake our denomination. I plan to be United Methodist when I die.
Though there must be differing opinions in our church, across the board on the issues that divide our denomination, I would ask that we follow the bishop’s advice of remaining calm while our leaders work through whether we will truly end up allowing troubled congregations to leave the denomination.
May we continue to be faithful, responding to God’s blessings,