Why Traditionalists Are Not Leaving

By Thomas Lambrecht –

Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey observes the results from a Feb. 26 vote for the Traditional Plan at the 2019 General Conference in St. Louis. Photo by Paul Jeffrey, UMNS.

In a recent blog post, the Rev. Adam Hamilton outlined the results of two leadership meetings held to identify options for a way forward for The United Methodist Church from the perspective of moderates and progressives. He identified two options his groups are considering:

  1. Leave to form a new United Methodism
  2. Stay, resist, give the Good News/Confessing Movement/Wesleyan Covenant Association the gracious exit they’ve been looking for in hopes that they will leave, and then reform the United Methodist Church for mission and ministry for the 21st century

Is Option 2 a realistic one? Will traditionalists really leave? Let’s take a closer look.

Traditionalists have not been eager to leave the denomination. It is a mistake to think traditionalists have “been looking for” a gracious exit. For over 50 years, Good News has enthusiastically encouraged evangelicals to remain in The United Methodist Church and help reform it. We have heard from hundreds of clergy and laity that they would have left United Methodism long ago, if it were not for Good News. Our ministry’s whole reason for existence is to help bring reform and spiritual renewal to The United Methodist Church, not to lead evangelicals out of the church. There have been multiple times over the past 25 years when leaving might have seemed like a good idea, if that were the direction Good News wanted to take. Yet we have steadfastly committed to staying and helping make the church better.

The Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA) has consistently said that its goal is to reform United Methodism. It has stated that, if the church were to change its position in order to allow same-sex marriage and the ordination of practicing homosexuals, only then would the WCA seek an exit for those wanting to maintain the current, biblically-based teachings on marriage and sexuality. When it looked like the One Church Plan might pass the special General Conference, the WCA engaged in extensive contingency planning in order to be ready for such an exit, should it be needed. But exiting the denomination was never the first priority of the WCA.

To fair-minded observers in the broad center of United Methodism, it would be more than a little befuddling to ask traditionalists to leave after the General Conference adopted a Traditional Plan. It would not make sense for traditionalists to abandon the denomination when it affirms traditional standards on marriage and sexuality.

Readers of the proposal at General Conference knew that the gracious exit that was part of the Traditional Plan was primarily for those who could not live with the current requirements of the church. We acknowledged that there might be a few traditionalist congregations that might desire to leave because of their unique local circumstances, perhaps feeling isolated in an overwhelmingly progressive annual conference. But in an attempt to implement the Golden Rule of treating others as we would want to be treated, we sought to implement as generous an exit path as possible for progressives who could no longer live under the church’s Discipline. Ironically, it was the moderates and progressives who opposed an exit path and blocked our attempts to ensure it was constitutional. The very ones that it was for, rejected it.

Traditionalists believe that we stand in the line of the Wesleys and Asbury, Otterbein, Boehm, and Albright. We see ourselves as purveyors of the same doctrine, the same disciplined way of discipleship, and the same spirit that prompted the founding of Methodism in England and America. Justifiably, traditionalists would be reluctant to depart from that inheritance.

United Methodism’s teachings on marriage and sexual ethics stand in continuity with 2,000 years of Church teaching and 135 years of Methodist teaching. It is those who want to jettison our teachings on marriage and sexuality who should be unencumbered to launch into a new direction with a new vision and a new denomination (Option 1 in Hamilton’s scheme).

Traditionalists are unwilling to abandon our brother and sister United Methodists outside the United States. Generally, United Methodists in Africa, most of the Philippines, and Eastern Europe and Eurasia hold to the same traditional perspective on marriage and sexual ethics as traditionalists in the U.S. They make up the vast majority of United Methodist members outside the U.S. Devoid of evangelicals and traditionalists in the U.S., our international brothers and sisters would have few partners left whom they could trust to share their theological perspective. It would set up a dynamic of conflict between U.S. United Methodists and those outside the U.S. Such a conflict would probably spell the end of a global United Methodist Church. Persistent attempts to create a U.S. central conference demonstrate the move away from global Methodism to national Methodism on the part of some. The hostile reaction of some moderates and progressives toward African and Russian United Methodists who spoke out for the traditional perspective at General Conference are harbingers of the coming conflict, should U.S. traditionalists leave the church.

Traditionalists believe we have the votes to fully pass and implement the rest of the Traditional Plan at General Conference 2020. With Africa gaining votes and the U.S. losing votes, and with the full ten-day time frame available, revised versions of the provisions that failed to pass in St. Louis or are declared unconstitutional by the Judicial Council can be passed and implemented. The denomination can continue to move in a more traditional direction, opening the way for other reforms that can make the church more effective for 21st century ministry. Why would traditionalists leave when their prospects for further success in reforming the church are growing increasingly brighter?

There are many reasons why traditionalists are reluctant to leave The United Methodist Church. But traditionalists would be open to a mutually agreed separation that multiplies Methodism into two or three new denominations. In that case, no one would be “leaving” the UM Church, but everyone would be on the equal footing of deciding on a new affiliation with a new denomination.

A scenario of multiplying Methodism would seek to treat everyone fairly and equally. There would be no winners or losers. All annual conferences and local churches would be able to make an informed choice about which new Methodist expression they want to be part of. The consciences and convictions of all would be respected because all could belong to an expression that embodies their convictions.

The contingency planning that the WCA has done could provide the foundation for a new evangelical Methodist denomination. The current Discipline altered to include the Simple Plan or the One Church Plan could provide the foundation for a new progressive Methodist denomination. Both groups could modify and reform their church structures in a way each believes would best position the church to engage in 21st century ministry.

Unhindered by the theological conflicts over the authority and interpretation of Scripture, marriage, and sexual ethics, each expression could focus more intently on its vision for mission and ministry. The possibility for two new vital expressions of Methodism could spark the turnaround that our denomination needs after 52 years of decline.

Multiplication/separation is a lot different than “leaving.” And Good News has maintained for a number of years that some form of separation, allowing different groups to follow their own path in ministry, is the only reasonable way to resolve our theological conflict.

Interestingly, this multiplying Methodism scenario is not included among the progressive/moderate options, based on Hamilton’s published report. It appears that some progressives and moderates may still be stuck in binary win/lose, leave/stay models that ensure continuing conflict, rather than leading to peaceful resolution. One hopes that they will be willing to entertain other options. If they are banking on traditionalists leaving The United Methodist Church, they are simply setting us all up for another hurtful and divisive General Conference.

Thomas Lambrecht is a United Methodist clergyperson and the vice president of Good News. 

Comments

  1. Great analysis and commentary, Tom.

    I agree completely – the Judicial Council’s upholding of the Traditional Plan and the exit plan strengthen my resolve to stay and strengthen The United Methodist Church. I envision a *new day* of church planting, mission partnering with our overseas brothers and sisters, and especially hopeful, healing ministry with LGBT persons who are seeking God’s grace in their lives. As you said, the future should look very bright for traditionalists at this time, building on our biblical and Wesleyan heritage offering relevant ministry to a hurting, broken world, and making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of that same world!

    The JC’s decisions are indeed Good News!

    • Celeste Zappala says

      I am curious what you mean by “and especially hopeful, healing ministry with LGBT persons who are seeking God’s grace in their lives. ” A great deal of pain and damage has been inflicted already on our LGBTQ members. What does healing look like if our church has legislated that they have been condemned?

      • Thank you for your question, Celeste. Healing for LGBT persons involves seeking to live a holy life by the grace of God, which precludes same-sex sexual relationships. At the same time, there is often pain, abuse, or trauma in a person’s life that contributes to their having same-sex attraction. Christ offers healing for that pain, abuse, or trauma, and the church ought to be a vehicle of healing in that regard. Sometimes, that pain contributes to a faulty understanding of who God is that hampers one’s relationship with the Lord. So part of healing might be to discover God as he really is and become freed up to enter more fully into relationship with God. Sometimes, that in itself is enough to change a person’s attractions. So there are many aspects to the healing ministry the church can offer. I would hasten to add that many heterosexual people also need this same kind of healing to bring about more healthy and godly relationships.

    • Jack Ramsey says

      Has anyone considered The UMC “walking our walk” versus “talking our talk” by putting HIM first on our “once a month” Communion Sunday by BEGINNING the service with Communion….followed with the song “THE” Old Rugged Cross followed with very short meaningful “Homily”!!!!!!!!!!! HE IS “THE GREAT PHYSICIAN”……Yes, HE WILL heal us!

  2. Thank you Thom for your thoughts. It’s always much easier to extend grace when you have the power. It’s unfortunate, that this grace was not heard or communicated effectively by persons who align themselves with an inclusive church at GC 2019. I hope you are attending Adam Hamilton’s gathering in May. I find the two or three possible methodist denominations exciting. We know already the Western Jurisdiction will not abide by the Traditional Plan so we need to equally/fairly divide and hopefully in a way that is fair for all. I doubt that most UMC churches could afford to disaffiliate, so creating something new could be the tipping point for us all to get back to making disciples of Jesus for the transformation of the world.

  3. Karen Scott says

    The number of people who are supportive of the traditional plan will become less and less and will die out as the younger generation takes over. I think Adam Hamilton doesn’t want the structure and history of the Methodist church left in the hands of people whose ideas and influence will be obsolete in a matter of a generation.

    • Karen–
      I think you may be mistaking the trends in world Christianity to be the same as that of U.S. secular culture.

    • The Word of God will NEVER become obsolete — that distinction will be the legacy of Hamilton and friends if they continue on the road they’re currently traveling.

      • mark johnsen says

        The “Word of God” became obsolete when Peter had his vision and overturned the circumcision and dietary Laws of Moses. It became obsolete when we allowed women to speak from the pulpit despite Paul’s clear admonition against it. And it became profoundly obsolete when Jesus defied the Law (which was supposedly from God, i.e. himself as one person of the eternal Trinity) when he told the Pharisees “you who have not sinned cast the first stone.” So many scriptural laws (and some of the writings of Paul which simply repeat them) are in fact obsolete. Thank goodness the “Word of God” is not the entire bible, but instead a person who is named Jesus the Christ!

    • That may be AH’s opinion and yours as well, but in my area there are going people who are on fire for God and firmly rooted in the scripture. Rest assured that regardless of the outcome, the rich history of Wesley’s teaching will not die out – not in my generation or the next.

    • Karen, please read the results of the recent research done by Harvard University. It indicates that even in the USA, the church is growing, however, primarily among traditionalist and Evangelical churches. Or, take the annual membership reports of the UMC. The reports, taken together, indicate that for the past 10 years, the net increase in the UMC membership comes from Africa and the Philippines. This is quite interesting. This means the UMC in the USA has been on a net decline in membership these last 10 years. Please do not take my word for it; check it out yourself. I know because I have been very concerned about this trend for many years now, and wondering what can be done in the USA to halt this decline. Thanks.

  4. They might expect preemptive surrender just based on the fact it happens across the culture nearly every time out of fear of being called deplorable and hateful by the media, academics, and other elitists.
    The church and the gospel are not about affirming our desires or conforming to the world (in Hamilton-speak, “welcoming”), it’s about individual holiness and transformation that leads to the transformation of the culture. In Wesley, then Wilberforce’s time, the Methodists were the evangelical sect that morally transformed UK culture. No person claiming that legacy and wanting to let the culture transform the church has any right to the claim.

  5. Rev. Jezreel J. Saceda says

    Praise God, the issue is settled for now by the special session of the Gencon, and the very recent position of our church’s judicial council. Let us move forward and continue to let God be God and let God be the Judge only amongst ourselves as people called Methodist. God bless us all.

  6. Gary Bebop says

    Tom has “nailed it” here. His message is clear and unflinching, also pitch perfect. Traditionalists cannot afford to garble the message in advance of GC2020. And the broadcast of this message must counter the effrontery of Adam Hamilton and the rebellion in the West. The season of timidity and equivocation has ended. Traditionalists must possess their gains.

    • “If it’s uncomfortable enough”, says Adam Hamilton. If Hamilton and cohorts adopt continued church lawbreaking as their strategy, then Good News, WCA, IRD, et al will be FORCED to bring petitions before General Conference 2020 to separate the UMC from the lawbreakers — including granting them the generous provisions of the newly approved exit plan in order to fulfill the actions of the 2019 General Conference and the recent Judicial Council ruling.

  7. A Retired U.M says

    One big positive of the Good News format is this opportunity for the non-leadership to share comments on what we observe happening in OUR denomination. I wish it were so in our individual Annual Conferences. Despite the perception that the leadership says it wants to hear from us, the end result becomes quietness, unrest, and eventual departure on our part. Our voice is bullied (yes, that’s right, I said bullied) into silence by memorized speeches that have no real intention, or ability, to actually LISTEN to the voice in the pew. As a case in point, does the Western Jurisdiction Council of Bishops have any idea of how hurtful their recent statement is to their own membership? As I read their letter, pledging to continue in their obstinate rejection of the Discipline, and the General Conference work of the denomination, I have to wonder if I, as a traditional member, even matter. I do not feel that I am alone. Our Lord observed that a King should well consider if his army was large enough to go up against another army. To ignore us, our feelings, our years of commitment, is to say that they think I will willingly give my all for their new cause. The Western Jurisdiction Bishops do not speak for me. I WILL NOT follow them into this battle. But I WILL remain a faithful traditional/conservative/orthodox Methodist. Yes, there ARE some of us like this in the Western United States; maybe a lot more than the Bishops think. The Church of the future needs more servant leadership, and less of the C.E.O. variety.
    It grieves me, as a retired clergy of the Western Jurisdiction, to have to speak in what might seem to be an angry tone. But I fear no one is listening, for to hear my voice is to admit that just maybe they do not have all the answers.

    • Your comments sum up many of my own feelings, particularly concerning leadership and listening. We are in the Southeastern jurisdiction. As the 2016 COB’s Way Forward Plan has evolved to the Judicial Councils rulings last week our conference website does publish events as they happen but I once emailed a simple question to the Bishop without a response from him or his staff. Our local church seems to operate on a need to know basis. So, in my opinion I didn’t see read any anger in what you said, just feelings of those like myself.

  8. Multiplying sounds a lot like the one church plan to me.

    • then you need to re-read the plan – one big tent is not two or three new tents

    • Much more like the Connectional Conference plan, actually – what would remain to be seen is how tight the bonds are between the groups.

  9. Marilyn M Templeton says

    Will the Evangelical Methodist Church feel welcomed back?

  10. A well written response clarifying for many of us laity, the “contingency plan” strategy formed by the traditionalists (including WCA) to leave only apparently if the vote for G C 2019 wasn’t successful. I appreciate the sincere efforts, frankly, on both sides of the issue to work for a grace-filled solution to let local churches decide with whom they wish to affiliate after three decades or so of not being so “united.” Since the other “sides” are discussing similar plans, perhaps it’s time to drop the pretense of who deserves to be called “united” in the name; let each really go their separate way, use Methodist in their name, if they so desire, and be open to their community and visitors their position as to this singular issue. Some UMC local congregations already do in the greater Houston area, home of Good News; get real; get honest; get together, Shall we all agree, in love and concern for the sake of faithful followers of Christ called Methodists worldwide A simple member of the laity, I really do say this in appreciation for all the efforts to date by all concerned leaders–clergy and laity alike; find the right plan for the financial concerns, which many frankly believe be the elephant in the room. God speed and prayers for continued “Holy Conferencing”–it is what God expects. I look forward to reading other thoughts and constructive ideas or clarification. Respectfully and in love as a brother in Christ of like Wesleyan thought.

  11. sharon white says

    yes the progressives have no intention of going away peacefully, They want there way for all or keep fighting and I think they need to split and take a new name. If they cant live with Methodist rules they arent Methodist.

  12. Diana Bridgman (Strickland) says

    “Unhindered by the theological conflicts over the authority and interpretation of Scripture, marriage, and sexual ethics, each expression could focus more intently on its vision for mission and ministry. The possibility for two new vital expressions of Methodism could spark the turnaround that our denomination needs after 52 years of decline.

    Multiplication/separation is a lot different than “leaving.” And Good News has maintained for a number of years that some form of separation, allowing different groups to follow their own path in ministry, is the only reasonable way to resolve our theological conflict.”

    This plan sounds like it would benefit ALL involved. I would guess that the reason some might oppose this gracious suggestion is out of the idea of wanting to be “right” and the desire to have it all instead of each having what one needs.

    Thank you again Thomas Lambrecht for a well-written, deeply reasoned, well-founded article. You state facts. You do not attempt to manipulate emotions or statistics in order to gain support. You have no need to do so. Thank you for your compassion for all involved and for your authenticity.

    • I totally agree. If we can get beyond the winner/loser mentality and “multiply” with some degree of understanding, perhaps we can also save many of our denomination’s institutions that will likely take both sides to maintain in the future.

    • You really ought to take a couple of minutes to read the blog piece from Hamilton. It’s linked at the beginning of this post.

  13. As a lifelong Methodist of almost 59 years now, I feel qualified to sspeak. My grandfather wasa Methodist minister of the ilk I love to remember. Preaching the entire WORD, including where unrepentant sin leads. We had altar calls, revivals that lasted a week, singing raising the rafters. The Spirit was felt in services. I remember laying on of hands! Nowdays we’re pretty much the Laodician dead church which leads to being vomited out by the Lord Jesus Christ! I was so pleased and pleasantly surprised to read how the general consensus came out. Not surprised it was NOT America voting to remain traditional. Our church is an evangelical Methodist Church, praise God Almighty! I agree with your assessment; let each have their place! The Lord WILL judge in the end!

  14. Tom & Good news folks have read the proceedings from the Western Jurisdiction? http://westernjurisdictionumc.org/as-we-make-our-way-back-home/
    We are committed to provide a Safe Harbor for clergy in our conferences as well as across the connection who face the threat of complaints and/or the loss of credentials because of their sexual orientation, gender identity and/or ministry with and for our LGBTQIA+ siblings.

    We will support those clergy who, after prayerful discernment, choose to conduct same-gender marriages and those congregations who choose to host same-gender weddings.

    There are over 1K reconciling open the affirming United Methodist Churches. https://rmnetwork.org/ Many who are totally in defiance of the traditional plan.

    How can we say we are United church when there is no unity on issues of human sexuality?

    Can please speak about true reality on the ground?The book of discipline is an allusion. To the reality of the church today.

  15. When can we stop referring to liberal thinkers as “progressive”? Progressive has the inference of a positive thing. It is a misnomer in the case of theology.
    A better tag would be “divergent thinker”.
    And Centrist brings to mind the person sitting on the fence, trying to decide which side is safer to jump off. If at all.
    Will we be counted at Christ followers, true to His Word? That’s what’s important!
    What’s in a name, anyway?

  16. I’m not trying to be cruel here but rmnetwork’s count is inflated. Looking through their lists of member churches includes individual Sunday School classes and other groups within a single church so that where there is one church, they count not only the church but also each group within that church in their count. Also, the claim 40,000 members but how does that compare to the total number of Methodists worldwide? Wouldn’t it be easier and save our individual ministries the bad publicity to just agree to separate under the separation guidelines agreed to and confirmed by GC and JC? Let us please get on with our ministries as we feel called.

  17. HOWARD L MERCER says

    Isn’t #2 what they have been doing for 47 years!

  18. Jim Wolfgang says

    I have found all these contributions most heartening, especially when before the Special Called General Conference I feared I would as a traditional believing U.M. need to leave this “people called Methodist”. The denomination has again reaffirmed its traditional beliefs and the new Judicial Council decisions strengthen them: surely the “divergent thinking” members of the denomination will see the “way forward” for them is to form into a new fellowship that allows them to be in a ministry/new denomination they find compatible with their theology. This I pray would be a way for “Methodism” to get refocused on our great commission “to make disciples for Jesus Christ”, that sounds like good “multiplying” to me. I do like the name “United Methodist” as this comes from our Evangelical United Brethren/Methodist traditions, beliefs we thankfully still affirm. At the very soon to come Annual Conferences focus your vote upon ONE recommended traditional minded General Conference delegate, then upon the next after electing the first. Diffusing your votes among many choices likely will mean none of these good candidates will be elected.

    • Tafadzwa Mazarura says

      Indeed let’s ‘go and make disciples of all nations’ teaching them to obey God’s Word as upheld at the recent GC. This is the way forward. Those who lost the vote can confidently start their own denomination. They now need to direct their energies towards teachings that oppose biological multiplication against God’s command on creation. As a traditional United Methodist Church member we continue to stand in the biblical truth, the foundation of Methodism. We overcome at GC 2019. Now it is time to move on into active discipleship rather than allow our energy to be drained in debates inspired by those that lost the divine lots.

  19. I very much appreciate the spirit in which Thom’s recommendations are presented. It is heartening to validate that our God is truly a personal and creative God, able to meet each of us where we are, and to validate the need for a church that is also able to meet each member in the place at which God is present in that member’s life. There is a great deal of energy being poured into humans creating a worldly structure or box, into which this vast God can fit. Although many of these structures have been presented, Thom’s generosity of spirit, as evidenced in his recommendation, is truly the same as the spirit of the One Church plan through which ministry would have been able to occur for each conference, church, clergy and member in accordance with that person or entity’s experience of our Great God. Perhaps we see the Spirit moving in ways that are more similar than we may have thought!

  20. Clifford Hill says

    It is time to dissolve the UMC and go separate ways. I am saddened that it is has come to be that some wish to organize the UMC around sexual identity. Whatever happened to “Love one another”?
    Two-thirds of the U.S. delegates voted against the Traditional Plan and for the One Church Plan, which would have extended the same rights to the U.S. as the Central Conferences now have but are unwilling to allow the U.S. Now, the U.S. one-third and the Central Conferences (mainly the African Conferences) will be in control of the UMC. So be it. I wonder if those one-third of U.S. delegates and their churches can supply the financial needs of the Central Conferences as fully as the UMC has done historically. Soon, I predict, those one-third of the U.S. delegates to Special Conference will find themselves in a minority position in the UMC on various issues. What will they do, then?
    I do not believe in a church that treats LBGTQ folks as second-class members. Homosexuals have always been a part of God’s creation across species and kingdoms. A church must be inclusive to be of God.
    Why haven’t Good News and WCA, etc., spoken out about how homosexuals are treated in many of the Central Conferences? It is sinful, yet they are quiet.

  21. Stuart Choate says

    It is certainly easy for Thomas Lambrecht and “Good News” to take the high and mighty position that the Traditionalists “are not leaving.” When you win — “to the victor belong the spoils.” I submit that the tone of this pious position would be much different if the shoe were on the other foot. I appreciated a statement by Philip Yancey: “How I treat what belongs to my neighbor affects how he receives my love. The same applies to God: how I treat God’s creation, God’s children, will determine in part how God receives my prayers and my worship.”

    • Pious, high and mighty? Then those definitions have just been reversed. Had the one church plan passed and the shoe had of ended up on the other foot, traditionalists already had a structure in place to peacefully exit the denomination. They certainly had no plans of retaliating by staying and launching another era of church lawbreaking. Now, traditionalists are graciously offering to enter into negotiations for an amicable and fair separation as opposed to the Adam Hamilton and cohorts possible strategy — “to make it uncomfortable enough”. That means — they envision running the traditionalists off. So, accusing Rev. Lambrecht, et al of being pious and high and mighty is the antithesis of the truth, of reality, and of what is actually taking place.

  22. Bryan Hankins says

    I do not see a place for me and my family that is not inclusive of all. I will not support such an organization. This proposed separation is basically what was proposed in the One Church Plan. So why is it OK now? The children and youth in our denomination are standing up and rejecting the “Traditionalist plan”. I am joining them in rejecting that plan. They understand what Jesus taught better that the adult traditionalists do. I pray God will have mercy on those who have brought such discord to the church.

    • William says

      Jesus died on the cross as ransom for all of us sinners. And, we must repent, be saved, and walk anew with Jesus in order to inherit the Kingdom of God. ALL are invited to partake of this gift of grace. Those who reject this free gift of grace exclude themselves.

    • Thank you for your comment, Bryan. What is different between what we suggest and the One Church Plan is whether we have one church or two. Most evangelicals and traditionalists cannot be in a church that endorses what we believe the Bible calls sin. Therefore, the OCP did not work for us. However, were we to separate into two or three different churches, there might still be room to cooperate on common endeavors that we all agree to support. I hope this clarifies your question.
      Tom Lambrecht

  23. The GC2020 is going to be a hard fought fight again. Other news outlets have indicated that the GB of C&S is going to rewrite the “Social Principles” as a Petition to follow the One Church Plan. Other entities are going to try Petitions to get the Church under 3 umbrellas (areas) of thought as one church. Traditionalists are going to have to develop a good strategy to combat the Progressives again. New Delegates to the GC2020 will be chosen at Annual Conferences in the near future or are beginning now for that Conference. Our guard must remain in place between now and GC2020.

  24. Tafadzwa Mazarura says

    Now that traditionalists have taken the day it is important to draft a petition to canonise the position to permanently put an end to the time eating debate. Ending the debate will accelerate the exit of those who did not have the day. It is paramount to note that the Methodist movement did not seek to remain in the Church of England when they were convicted of doctrinal difference. The aggrieved need to consider this method instead of staying in to destabilise the post GC 2019 UMC. It’s clear that some have resolved to remain a thorn in the functioning of the post GC 2019 United Methodist Church therefore canonising the traditionalists position of the day will terminate the debate that has punctuated UMC general conferences for decades.

  25. Steven D Briggs says

    We who are members of small-town or rural UM churches in Wisconsin and across the U.S. have the same division of attitudes among our membership as larger, urban congregations. But, where there are 100 or fewer members faithfully supporting a church, any member leaving is detrimental to the church’s survival. If one side or the other cannot stay, ALL those small-church UM members are going to lose their place of worship. How very sad.

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