United Methodist Traditionalists, Centrists, Progressives & Bishops sign agreement aimed at separation

United Methodist Council of Bishops – A diverse group of representatives from United Methodist advocacy groups with contrasting views and bishops from around the world has collaborated on a proposed agreement for the separation of The United Methodist Church (UMC) that has the unanimous support of all the parties involved.

The agreement, the Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation, was achieved on December 17, 2019, and announced today.

Comments

  1. Robert A Combes says

    and know we know

    and when I asked what were we as a congregation going to do if/when this happens???? crickets

  2. Dennis Crouch says

    The WSJ indicated that churches opposing same-sex marriage “would be allowed to leave the denomination” and take their property with them…… I’m very sorry to hear that. So the Traditionalists have lost their church. But then, for many of us, it will no longer be our church. I hope our current UMC church stays with the current Traditionaist approach and we can maintain our church. I don’t know what it will be called. I’m not a happy camper. The UMC has disregarded the truth in the Bible. I doubt that I will be able to do that.

    • You will need to be very in tune with what your church council is doing. In theory a church conference should be called and a vote taken on which way to go … Traditionalist or Progressive. It should be spelled out very clearly that what remains of the UMC will represent the gay community. Many churches are not having this conversation.

      • I am still sorting through the Protocol and FAQ’s, but seems to this lay person that the team negotiating this has created more of a tangled web that now goes out to at least 2024. Meanwhile, all sides (Traditionalist, Centrist and Progressives) are thinking they have the advantage. As for North Carolina churches and ours specifically, who knows what the church council is doing. And, you are very correct in saying many churches are not having this conversation. They are afraid to. I agree with Dennis about not being a happy camper. And, by the way, how can it be that a conveyance was negotiated by this small number of “leaders” to not follow the BOD which was approved by the 2019 GC and Judicial Council? I thought the BOD was church law.

  3. Peter Hulburt says

    What a deal ,each church ,like the civil war ,will fight it out and the people that should decide the issues of the Bible walk away with their pensions

  4. It appears a consensus of many factions have come together to unify a Plan for moving forward. Many efforts and details will have to be put forward and formatted in placing a legitimate Constitutional Plan for Vote by the GC2020 delegates. It is hoped this will be available before the May 15, 2020 deadline. Many Annual Conferences do not meet until after GC2020 meets. Delegates, Churches and District Conferences will need data as soon as possible to make an informed and discerned vote at the GC.

  5. I’m saddened that the WCA agreed to a plan that allows the progressives who are in the minority, to leave with the name United Methodist and control of all assets. That said I’m not sure that was a bad deal. Progressives will have to come up with the funds maintain the business side of the denomination, as well as find a way to keep the Ecumenical Fund solvent. That may be an impossible task going forward.

    I think as this split goes forward, more and more congregations will come to learn that after the split, UMC will stand for gay clergy and same sex marriage in the church. That may prove too much for some congregations to stand, possibly far more congregations than progressives thought.

    • It seems like “let them have it” is the right move. In the pop culture it’s called “Go woke, go broke”, and this has multiplied effect for churches. For the congregations and regions that are still strong in the faith, this is the opportunity for purification. I am brokenhearted for the elderly long-time Methodist members that have no understanding of this politics, have no want of politics, and just love their church, their brothers and sisters in Christ, and their mission.

      • C.A. Buster says

        Agreed. It’s time to create a new Methodist Church that has a strong biblical and spiritual basis – and certainly not associated with a religious institution that avows justifications-of-self ideologies. As time goes on, I believe more Methodists (who are then members of the post-GC2020 UMC and it’s U.S. Regional Convention) will migrate to the new traditional denomination.

  6. Soon to be homeless in the NW says

    Divorce proposal: Progressives keep the family home while traditionalists get the kids. Wish this had been enacted in 2000 when first proposed. A lot of heartache and harm could have been avoided.

  7. This is a concern that will perhaps be dealt with. But now learning that LBGTQ is now with the added AI – as in LBGTQAI – Is there anything to assure that other “problematic” subgroups might not be added – even something like SM. It feels beyond what is unwieldy.

    • Diane Harbaugh says

      I find myself wondering what percent of the 4.5% LGBTQ will/do attend church and support the church? If the traditionalist group is given $25 million of the $624 million in assets (noted 2018). How fair is that?

  8. The problem with this agreement is the winning side decided it really wanted to lose. You will give churches less than a year to vote to leave. Also what happens if an AC does not allow any churches to vote. They can just run out the clock. Also is it be 2/3 or simple majority to leave. I just don’t understand why you folded a winning hand. This will get ugly next year

  9. For peace in the church and for the good of sprea8 the gospel this needs to be gone. It is too late to prevent pain in our denomination. Churches will split and members will leave. But that is happening already. Time to rip the bandaid off and get it over with. Then we can rebuild a true evangelical Wesleyan church and invite some of our children back in and spread true Wesleyan faith to the parts of the country where it is missing. I did not see in the plan where if an AC goes traditional will progressive churches be allowed to switch to a progressive AC. Did I miss it? Also will local pastors be allowed to vote in the Acts on what path they take?

  10. It’s already being called the Post-Separation UMC. The initial reports, on the news networks, portray this as the current UMC “allowing” those who oppose same sex marriage to leave and form a new denomination. So, liberals continue their control of the narrative while being aided and abetted by a friendly mass media and culture. Yes, separation is now at hand, even the most stubborn recognize this reality. There is no turning back now. Allowing the liberals to have the present church structure and its financial obligations is a good thing in that they already control it. However, as I await additional information from the WCA, my initial “reaction” as a traditionalist is to “demand” a true and demonstrated amiable, equal, respectful, and dignified separation like the 1968 amiable merger of two equals. The name of the current denomination must be retired the same as the two names of the 1968 merging denominations were retired and replaced by a new name —- while the two new separate and equal denominations select new names. As I said elsewhere, perceptions and logos are powerful parts of the culture. Members of the current church must be respected and told the nature of the two emerging denominations. That starts with two new names, even proposed new names, that reflect the unequivocal truth of the two. Continuing the United Methodist Church name for one of the two emerging denominations would be the antithesis of that. If Apple, for example, decided to separate into two equal companies, could one retain the name Apple and be perceived as equal to the other?

    • Portland Guy says

      Yes!! Well said Anthony! I agree! All new names for the new churches. Otherwise…. The perception of one side leaving is created. If any “side” should leave it should be the side that doesn’t want to follow the current rules and beliefs in the BOD.

  11. Ommer Everson says

    The issue I have is they are saying that if this plan passes GC 2020 that right after it passes the liberal group who maintains the UMC name and other things will immediately vote to allow inclusion of everything and change the Book of Discipline language. This thing will take time to work out with local congregations and conferences and with the way Clergy has handled this and how their wives and friends are on all the church councils and committees it seems many traditional minded Christians will still be wandering.

  12. What is the percentage that needs to vote to leave. It is 2/3 or simple majority

  13. A better comment would have been that I assume the “tent” that is currently evolving and includes unknown possibilities will be embraced in the areas of ordination and leadership.

  14. Gary Bebop says

    There are numerous congregations where there has been no conversation about the doctrine of creation, no significant guidance on marriage and sexuality, so there is no theological basis for the conversation now. The confused, frightened members of these local churches will vote their self-interest. They will vote for property.

  15. I am confused. I could have sworn that the Traditionalist Plan was approved at GC2019. Who was negotiating for WCA, General Cornwallis? It is going to be much, much more difficult than WCA is anticipating for entire churches to break away. Many younger evangelicals have already left. Older people, even if they lean conservative, don’t want change and conflict in their sunset years. Example, my father. Long-time evangelical. and 30 years ago promoted a split. Today, he will not vote for his local church to leave. What will happen is, most evangelicals still in the UMC will leave for other denominations or non-denoms in the shorter run. The existing UMC will die over the next 2-3 decadese. The WCA churches will mostly start through planting and may get some of the younger evangelicals back, but this could have been done without a negotiated agreement. Some will come back, but not all. This navigation is simply handing the church over to the losers at GC2019. Mystifying.

  16. Mike Weaver says

    We are not called to ”win”. Anything. Buildings. Denominational names. Assets. Anything. We are called to be faithful to the gospel. This agreement, if implemented, will free many churches to engage in faithful ministry within their context. My identity as a Wesleyan Methodist is not in any way eroded by not remaining as “United Methodist.” I, for one, am extremely grateful for this protocol and support it entirely. I don’t give a whit about “winning“ anything but a hearing of the gospel.

  17. As those Methodists on here who have been paying attention, these national news reports this weekend of January 4th, 2020 come as no surprise. However, for those Methodists who have not been paying much attention or have been purposely kept in the dark by their local churches who are seeing these reports, are they likely feeling a degree of surprise, even shock, plus other emotions at this point? Will January 5, 2020 Sunday services be a different day with questions, announcements, discussions in many places? Will this be the opening of real awareness across the denomination and the beginning of the awakening of the silent majority?

    ———————————————————————————

    United Methodist Church announces proposal to split over LGBTQ rights

    By Brie Stimson | Fox News

    Leaders from the United Methodist Church reportedly announced a tentative plan Friday to split the church over differences on same-sex marriage and the inclusion of gay clergy.

    The new conservative “Traditionalist Methodist” denomination wouldn’t allow gay marriage or gay clergy members, The New York Times reported.

    The proposal was first signed in December after the “fundamental differences” within the church became irreconcilable.

    “I’m actually really sad that we couldn’t build a bridge that could have provided a witness to the world of what unity amid diversity and disagreement could look like,” Methodist Bishop Karen Oliveto, the denomination’s first openly gay bishop, said.

    In 2017, the Judicial Council, the church’s highest court, declared Oliveto’s consecration “was incompatible with church law.” She was, however, allowed to remain as the resident bishop of the Mountain Sky Conference, which covers churches in Colorado, Montana, Utah, Wyoming and part of Idaho.

    There are roughly 13 million church members around the world and about half of them are in the United States, according to The Times.

    The division, which has been brewing for years, came to an impasse last May when delegates in St. Louis voted 438-384 to ban gay marriage and the inclusion of gay clergy.

    A majority of U.S.-based churches opposed the “Traditional Plan” but were outvoted by conservatives in the U.S., Africa and the Philippines.

    Soon after, 16 church representatives determined breaking up the church was “the best means to resolve our differences, allowing each part of the church to remain true to its theological understanding,” Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey of Louisiana said, according to the Times.

    “There is a degree of heartbreak within me because I never thought we would reach this point,” New York Bishop Thomas Bickerton said. “However, we are at this point. The differences are irreconcilable. This is inevitable.”

    Texas Bishop Scott J. Jones said the proposal has not yet been adopted.

    “The Protocol itself says it was developed in service to the General Conference delegates who will decide on its adoption or amendment,” he said. “Other plans may well be considered as alternatives. Significant questions remain to be answered about the Protocol’s implementation. The Judicial Council will need to rule on its constitutionality.”
    He added that financial feasibility will also need to be considered before any split.

  18. What happens to Methodist organizations such as hospitals or colleges?

  19. George Johnson says

    I have not studied this in detail and have not been involved. I am a Methodist belonging to a local church. After reading about the current status of this issue, I have some common sense observations as follows: 1) the split seems to be necessary and must move forward asap. in order for each church to get focused on God’s and the church’s work. 2) the split should be amicable, fair, equitable, balanced, etc. to ensure as good as possible outcome for all sides as well as a Christian principles outcome, 3) all denominations should have new names as part of the fair and balanced outcome, 4) the data I have read indicates approximately 70% of the members are traditionalists and approximately 30% of the members are centrists or progressives, therefore the majority (traditionalists) should have control over this process and ensure the implementation of the above observations.

    • Marilyn Rozelle says

      George Johnson, if you read this carefully you will find that it is the traditionalists who are being asked to leave the denomination. The only way that they can have control over is by voting as a congregation to leave. In fact, they will be paid to leave. The United Methodist Church then becomes the denomination of the progressives. I’m not sure how that can be unless they vote to change the BOD which is what they are working toward once the traditionalists are gone. The “Protocol” is looking more and more like a rabbit hole.

  20. Larry Wiggins says

    You mention the group was diverse – perhaps, but not equal in representation. If Rob Renfroe is right that 90 percent of current UM membership is made up of “traditionalist”, then why were the LBGTQ and other progressive groups represented by 5 representatives while the traditionalist got only 3 from the WCA, Good News, and other conservative groups. Also the Church belongs to the people – in my view there should be NO bishops on the panel. It is the council of bishops who created all of the current problems in the UMC.

    • Ommer Everson says

      I agree, Bishop’s and clergy are the reason for all of this. Plus they stack annual conference delegates with their spouses and staff members.

  21. Jack Groshans says

    Scripture says, there will be a cleaning out. Starting with the church. God cannot judge without judging his church first. Many in the last day will say, “Lord, Lord”. His response will be, “depart from me, I never knew you.” My hope is, all that is going on in the church in general, will hasten the rapture. There will be a great multitude of “church folk”, who will remain here. Simply because they do not hear HIS voice. They want their throne above the throne of GOD, and we saw how that ended with the one who started this whole thing. But then, Methodist are not known for understanding the “spiritual” things and even less about “spiritual warfare.” We are in that period.

  22. Wade Dickens says

    UMC had a NET Asset value of $621 million at end of 2018; https://www.gcfa.org/reports/. This isn’t about theology, but money and power. All parties who formed this group to go against the constitutional outcome of the special called GC 2019 should be removed from their positions for breach of trust. This was not an action approved by the GC and was not made public to the global UMC membership. It is nothing more than a coup attempt in contradiction to biblical teachings.

    • Most of those assets are tied up with restrictions that mean they cannot be divided among different denominations. The consensus of the negotiating team was that there are $120 million in unrestricted assets. We got a third of that, and gave $13 million (one-third of our third) to the ethnic minority ministries and Africa University.

      • Why would the side with GC2019 approval take a third and the side that refuses to abide by established church law take two-thirds?

        Sorry, $25 million is church planting money, not new denomination money. It’s a weakly negotiated deal, and the liberals are all over the media extolling their generosity in “allowing conservatives to leave.”

        It is going to be rare for entire churches to break away, more rare than I think WCA anticipates. Most laypeople are clueless about all of this, and will do what their appointed pastor says. Well, the clergy is overwhelmingly institutionally-motivated and liberal. That $25 million will start how many plants? Maybe 50, and that’s a stretch.

  23. Ommer Everson says

    Meh neither side should be able to use the UMC name or logo. If we split, both sides need new everything.

  24. From The North Georgia Conference:

    United Methodist Traditionalists, Centrists, Progressives, and Bishops Sign Agreement Ahead of General Conference 2020

    1/3/2020

    A diverse group of leaders has come to a unanimous agreement that has the potential to avoid dissolution of The United Methodist Church while offering a path for churches to separate from the denomination. They
    now turn their work over to General Conference…… etc., etc. etc. (See North Ga Conference website for full article).

    ————————————————————————————

    Note: The liberal North GA Conference bishop and lawyer has endorsed this Protocol Plan, also on website. Being a liberal and a lawyer, is she thinking in terms of protecting the assets and defending the legalistic restrictions thereof with relation to potential legal challenges for those assets by preserving the UMC INSTITUTION (she claims to not be an institutionalist) with the above opening statement, “to avoid dissolution of The United Methodist Church while offering a path for churches to separate from the denomination”. Of course, underlying this is the “offering churches a chance to separate from the denomination” attitude. Anyone care to describe this attitude? My comments would be censored on here.

    • The liberal NGa Conference Bishop cannot win this battle. Outside of Atlanta and Athens, most if not all churches are conservative. All a local church must do is dissolve, walk away from the property and let the Bishop own it. Churches tend to be single use facilities and the last thing the UMC wants is lots of property attached to cemeteries and no members to pay maintenance and debt. The property has no other purpose or use.

      It is just too easy to walk away and just start over with likeminded Christians, which is what has been happening for decades. It is people like the NGa Conference Bishop who have literally killed the church.

      As to the name UMC, I just reread John Wesley’s Journal and for sure he would not recognize the church today and perhaps would want his name taken off it. The WCA has a chance to restore and protect our core discipline and if it is under a different name so be it.

  25. Hurschell Joslin says

    I am an Elder American who was baptized in Methodist Church, served in many positions in my local small congregation in the south Indiana. As I grew in grace and understanding I became a Lay Member to Annual Conference and was one of the, if I may say, ignorant(unknowing) persons who voted to destroy the Evangelical United Brethren denomination. Later, after the take-over by what became the so-called United Methodist Church I became what was known at the time as a Part-time (now bi-vocational) pastor. Later, I was ordained “deacon” which I learned meant “lower-class citizen” in the eyes of many of the elders. However, I served in small churches as pastor for 40 years and I have no regrets except I witnessed, perhaps was a part of, the deterioration of the United Methodist Church until it has totally failed in what our Lord and Savior intended His Church to. And as an orthodox believer I know the split was inevitable. My concern now is those on either side of the split will end up with a winner-loser attitude we are called to share the Good news of Salvation.

    • Pastor Joslin,
      I accepted Christ as my savior, was immersed by baptism and became a first-time church member as a former E.U.B. My father, an E.U.B./UMC minister “endured” his years as a UM, due to his modest credential portfolio and his candid appraisal of needing to provide a viable means of support for my parent’s retirement. However, he always knew that the UMC was destined for this sort of unsavory and ungodly end. After spending many years of service in UMC camps and youth ministry, I find myself somewhat numb, as I see the outcome of 50+ years of unholy rancor and clergy who revel in “wrongly dividing the word of truth.” I take less issue with the Adam Hamilton’s of the perverse new world; they dedicated themselves to winning…and despite what GN and the WCA may say, they won. My personal disappointment lies with GN, WCA and the other allied groups, who after prevailing at the GC2019, gave away everything that had been accomplished. We were not defeated by the liberal branch of the UMC; rather, we were sold out by our own, who counted fellowship and pensions, as of more value than God’s Word and His approval. Bottom line: we’ve all lost, because we decided it was unchristian and lacked compassion to win.

  26. All the Protocol is, is a bill before our GC to be voted on. There are many other plans besides this one. Although a group of diverse leaders got together and agree, doesn’t mean the Delegates will endorse it and pass it. The Politics for it will be strong, but is this Protocol strong enough legislation to carry the Church to the correct destination in all aspects? It is better to fail than to pass poor legislation on emotional agreements of a few high ranking leaders.

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