Statement from Mt. Bethel UM Church, Marietta, Georgia:

The Mt. Bethel members authorized by the church’s Administrative Council to mediate, along with legal counsel, met [August 28, 2021] in good faith with legal representatives of the North Georgia Annual Conference (NGAC) in a professionally mediated session.


The representatives of Mt. Bethel were there endeavoring to arrive at a compromise that would result in a resolution to the current dispute between Mt. Bethel and the NGAC.


The mediation was not successful and an impasse was declared by the Trustees of the NGAC. However, we remain committed to finding a solution outside of the legal system.



Statement from North Georgia Annual Conference:

On Saturday, August 28, 2021, The Trustees of the North Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church, Inc. and Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church, Inc. took part in a day-long mediation searching for ways to resolve ongoing issues.


A good faith effort was made by all parties, but an agreement could not be reached. Conference leaders are now discerning next steps.


“The representatives of the Conference entered this process open and willing to fully participate in mediation as a way to resolve this matter,” said Julie Childs, chair of the Conference Board of Trustees. “We remain committed to reaching a resolution that honors the mission of The United Methodist Church and our responsibilities as leaders.”



  1. One side has money and the other side needs money. Why would you thinks this won’t be settled out of court. If the protocol happens, then Mt. Bethel can vote and leave. The court case will take over a year to settle anyway so just keep your legal fees low. The problem is I doubt the protocol will happen. UMC gains nothing from allowing a vote next year.

  2. How can a person who treats another person(s) this way call themselves a Christian, a Christian bishop? Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson desires to STOP the Rev. Jody Ray from preaching at Mt Bethel, from preaching anywhere in the North Georgia Conference. Initially she wanted to move him out of the pulpit two months early by weaponizing the appointment process as an urgency, minus any required consultation with him, to a job at the Century Center, Atlanta headquarters having to do with racial reconciliation, a job that had been held by the Rev. Brian Tillman the previous five years. This is not about the appointment process. That process is obviously but a means to a bigger goal.

    Has anyone reading this seen Jody Ray preach, seen a Mt Bethel worship service either online or in person? Why do you think the bishop wants to STOP him from preaching in any North GA Conference church of the UMC?

    I just pray that there are enough Christians at the North GA Conference headquarters to find a solution, even a temporary solution until General Conference.

  3. an impasse at this point may be good.
    one day of mediation
    cannot overcome decades
    or centuries of
    …on both sides

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