top of page

Inviting U.M.C. Churches/Pastors w Differing Perceptions of Disaffiliation to Holy Conversations©

Updated: Feb 15, 2023

. My primary concern in writing this blog is to encourage and invite dialogue with pastors and churches who take strong stands choosing to remain United Methodist and those who have already disaffiliated or are considering disaffiliation.


In these seasons of pruning, may God's redemptive Spirit break baptismal waters breathing new creation releasing tears transforming groaning lament into fresh expressions of grace enabling all of us to fulfill The Great Commission more faithfully and fruitfully.


While holy conversations among persons with differing perceptions continue to occur, these conversations tend not to receive as much attention.


This is an invitation to continue holy conversations in the name of continuing to love one another and recognize no matter what name we may choose, we are still the One Body of Christ. We share the same Holy Father. We are connected to the One Vine, Jesus, the Christ, who makes us one with the triune God.


. One of the reasons I share this reflection is because I am aware of many pastors and laity who express anguish, perplexity, and confusion concerning disaffiliation and the splintering of The United Methodist Church. While many churches and some pastors remain firm in their decisions, some still search for clearness.


Of course, I'm also aware of churches, lay persons, and pastors who don't know what they will choose to do and have decided to wait until General Conference which occurs in Charlotte in May of 2024. They realize it makes little sense to rush to make a decision. Likewise, they claim, "There's no need to take a vote. A vote will distract us from our mission. We agree on Jesus as a church and recognize there are many opinions on a variety of issues. We are focusing our energy and resources on our mission, The Great Commission, our vision, and ministry strategies to fulfill The Great Commission."


Many churches realize it makes little sense to divide the congregation over assumptions.


Only Yahweh, the One Lord of all made known in Jesus, knows what will happen when General Conference convenes next year!


Come! Holy Spirit! Come!


HERE WE GO!


When I witness the number of congregations and pastors leaving the United Methodist Church, my heart breaks. Tears flood my soul. For instance, two former congregations with whom I served as pastor have chosen to disaffiliate. (One has actually joined a law suit action with churches from Florida and others from North Carolina.) Some of my friends have chosen to disaffiliate.


As I ponder what the tears teach, I remember how my heart screamed tears of soul wrenching lament as I joined my dear brother and friend, Bishop Leonard Fairley, when he officiated over a special called conference of The North Carolina Conference near the end of 2022. During this session, two-hundred and thirty-nine churches received official approval to disaffiliate from The United Methodist Church.


During the sermon he shared that day, he stopped several times to catch his breath. Tears rolled down his cheeks as he lamented, "I have lost many nights of sleep praying. What is going on with disaffiliation reminds me when I sat at the bedside of my first wife, Priscilla. She was in the process of dying. As I held her hand, she said, 'Leonard, you have to let me go!' I didn't want to let her go. Then the Holy Spirit helped me realize, I had to let her go so I could let God carry her across the threshold into the new realm he had in store for her.... (Pause), (Tears); I realize I have to let my dear sisters and brothers go now too; the ones who feel like in order to be true to their experience of God they have to move on from The United Methodist Church."

(I believe the video of his sermon may be available for viewing at nccumc.org.).


Since 2016, my dear Brother, Bishop Leonard Fairley, has served as the bishop of two conferences in Kentucky. (In 2022, he served as the bishop of his home conference, The North Carolina Conference too.)


Because of his faithfulness and commitment to serve as an instrument of the Holy Spirit, Brother Leonard, has been criticized by many different people from both sides of the fence who often have ended up saying to him something like, "While you have disappointed me because of the ways you seek to hear everyone's call and listen to everyone's heart, you have not always been as assertive as I think you should be. On the other hand, I have to say this about you Bishop, you do live up to your name. You seek to be fair to all. You do hold people accountable. More than to an institution, you hold us all accountable to the Gospel and to the Holy Spirit!"


Here's a paraphrase summarizing numerous conversations I have had with Bishop Leonard Fairley: Bishop Fairley: "I truly believe The United Methodist Church is faithful to God. I'm sad about all of the misinformation that is being spread. I do hold all clergy accountable to The Gospel. I expect clergy to share faith that is inspired by The Holy Spirit. I believe issues driven faith gets in the way of what God is up to now in our midst. I hold all clergy to be responsible. I expect pastors to be aware of the temptation to abuse the pulpit as an instrument to spread their own views. We are under the holy scriptures. The scriptures are not to be manipulated to serve our purposes... I believe it is more important to focus on being in right relationship with God and one another than it is to hone in on being right. When we focus on being right first, we tend to set ourselves up as better than others. Along these lines, we need to be very prayerful and careful not to use the pulpit in subtle ways that take advantage of our roles "over" the spiritual welfare of laity. Let us remember, the love of God is not coercive."


" So I ask clergy: 'What is your call story? Tell me about your call. In what ways do you believe you can most faithfully serve? It is my role to ask United Methodist pastors to make decisions they believe will help them serve more authentically and faithfully as messengers of the Gospel. I tell the pastors under my care as bishop and as a brother, do not do anything divisive because that's always against the Holy Spirit. The prayer Jesus prayed as recorded in John chapter seventeen reveals that."


(I always find the words of Bishop Leonard Fairley to be full of Christ-like empathy, compassion, and wisdom. Ever since we were roommates at Pfeiffer College back in 1977, his dear friendship has changed my life and brought me closer to Jesus!)


Now back to the question at hand, what are my perceptions of why some pastors and churches choose to disaffiliate while others choose to remain United Methodist?


In my opinion, prior to making the decision to disaffiliate, these are a few of the important questions to ponder: 1) What is your understanding of United Methodist polity (organization)? 2) Are you familiar with the recent history of the United Methodist Church concerning decisions made related to homosexuality and similar issues post 2016? 3) How seriously are we taking the prayer of Jesus as recorded in John 17? 4) No matter which stand we take concerning disaffiliation, are we seeking to build up the Body of Christ or tear it down? 5) If we choose disaffiliation now, are we taking a quick fix, easy road out pathway that avoids the unsettling deeper concerns God wants us to grow into as we mature immersing ourselves in the sanctifying grace that empowers us to embody Christlike mindsets as recorded in the apostle Paul's letter to the Philippians 2:1-11?


(After you read this reflection, I invite you to go to the top of the scroll down section of this page, click MORE, click FORUM, and provide your feedback and insights. This format provides one way we may continue conversation.)


1) What is your understanding of United Methodist Polity?


The United Methodist church is a connectional church. We believe we are stronger together. Our understanding of the church is informed by numerous passages such as the image of the church as the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12) and the image of Jesus as the Vine (John 15) and the high priestly prayer of Jesus as recorded in John 17.


When it comes to decision making with the general church which is world wide, we have representational government similar to the U.S.A. There is an executive branch: we call them the council of bishops. There is a group that represents the people, The U.M.C. version of Congress, called General Conference (consisting of an equal number of lay and clergy delegates representing each conference); and the judicial branch, our "supreme court" which we refer to as the judicial council. It is their job to make sure conferences, bishops, clergy, and churches adhere to The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church.


Since we live in the U.S.A., we share the same history. All churches are influenced by historical context. Since the founding of the U.S.A., there has been a tension between central authority and local authority. (That was one of the issues in the war between the states other wise known as the civil war.) Likewise, in The United Methodist Church, there is tension between the central authority we know as General Conference and the local annual conferences. Every annual conference is assigned a bishop by their jurisdiction. Jurisdictions are arranged by geographical location. Each bishop is entrusted with administration of The Book of Discipline. While bishops from time to time disagree with the decisions that were made at General Conference, they all agreed at the time they were set apart to serve to serve in the roll of bishop to adhere to the decisions made by General Conference.


Each annual conference has many constituents in their geographical regions who also disagree with some of the decisions made at General Conference. In some cases, sixteen to be exact; there are acting bishops in The United Methodist Church who have chosen to act independently when it comes to matters related to human sexuality. In my opinion, they are acting like governors who act like they have more power than the U.S. Congress. In the same breath, these bishops sincerely believe they will reach more persons for Christ and follow the Great Commission as recorded in Matthew 28 even when this means they have to go against the Discipline. In this case, they are going against the more traditional stands concerning homosexuality, ordination of homosexuals, and marriage of homosexuals made during General Conference in 2016 and 2019.


(General Conference did not meet in 2020. Why? COVID-19. We are a global church. We believe in equal representation. Not everyone had access to computers so we could not meet via "Zoom Conferencing". General Conference will meet once again in 2024 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Why so late? Because we are a General Church. Post the reality called COVID, it takes a long time to grant visas to travel to the U.S.A.)


2) Are you familiar with the recent history of the United Methodist Church concerning decisions made concerning homosexuality and similar related issues post 2016?


During the 2016 General Conference, delegates representing various perceptions related to same sex marriage and the ordination of homosexuals became increasingly frustrated because of the amount of resources invested having re-occurring debates that continually revealed The United Methodist Church was having trouble moving forward. For the first time ever in the history of The United Methodist Church, delegates voted to seek direction from the council of bishops. A special session of the General Conference was scheduled to convene in 2019. In preparation for this special conference in 2019, the council of bishops prayerfully developed a strategy to invite all local congregations to consider three possible ways to resolve the challenges we were facing. This was referred to as "The Way Forward."


Three proposals were offered for consideration including: "The One Church Plan, The Connectional Plan, and The Traditional Plan." In 2019, when delegates met for The Special Called Session of The General Conference, after sharing worship, prayer, and discussions seeking discernment in small groups, during the legislative process over time through many ups and downs; the General Conference decided to adopt a version of the traditional plan.


The traditional plan remained in place. People realized that for some time now the United Methodist Church had been growing in countries outside of the U.S.A. For example, while United Methodist Churches in the U.S.A. were declining at a rapid rate, churches on the continent of Africa were growing exponentially. As churches in the U.S.A. declined, we had less representatives at General Conference. As churches around the world grew in number like in various countries of Africa, the number of delegates they sent to General Conference increased. Of course, that effected the outcome of the decisions that were made. For instance, most of the churches in Africa are very conservative and minister in a very conservative context.

Two paragraphs were drawn up to embody "grace" with congregations who chose to disaffiliate: Paragraph 2548.2 and 2553. (I will not list these here. They can be read at the end of this reflection). The more conservative delegates out of love assumed that the more progressive churches may choose to disaffiliate and helped to design these paragraphs.


Following General Conference (2019), out of the goodness of their hearts an "ad-hoc," unofficial team representing diverse viewpoints including laity and clergy from around the world met together over time. They worked with a very well known gifted mediator who donated his time. They developed a proposal known as "The Protocol." "The Protocol" consists of prayerfully designed recommendations, ones that were agreed upon over time by this diverse body. Over time, many congregations and pastors assumed that recommendations made by "The Protocol" would pass during the next General Conference which everyone assumed would occur in 2020, (Then COVID-19 hit the ground; therefore, General Conference did not convene in 2020.).


3) How seriously are we taking the prayer of Jesus as recorded in John 17?


Jesus said, Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.

(John 17:17-19, "New Living Translation of The Bible").


I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one-as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And May they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me."

(John 17:20-21, "New Living Translation of The Bible").


4) No matter which stand we take concerning disaffiliation, are we seeking to build up the Body of Christ or tear it down?


Am I acting in ways that build up the Body of Christ by sharing prayerfully examined thought that seeks to stay connected to Jesus, the Vine, or am I acting in ways that tear down the Body of Christ by trying to cut off my sister and/or brother from The Vine?


In other words, am I using my perceptions of the truth revealed in the holy scriptures like an instrument of shalom or am I using the Word more like a weapon that doesn't uncover but attacks and treats the person with whom I disagree as lesser than?


This brings to mind a recent conversation I had with a friend of mine, a friend who agrees on Jesus with me even though we disagree in many other ways. We talked about how when we were young boys growing up, we used to play outdoors with our friends. One of our favorite games occurred when we divided into teams of three or four, built a fort, declared our fort's position, and developed a strategy in which we sought to defend our forts while also taking over our enemy's territory. Usually, we fought with crab apples until one of us decided to play dirty. Then we went from using crab apples as ammunition to dirt clods. If we really started taking this too seriously, we went from using dirt clods to throwing rocks. When we chose to throw rocks, the battle always ended with someone getting hit in the head or above the eye with a rock. It ended with blood on the ground and blood on our hands.


Sometimes fighting language is subtle. It's like throwing crabapples at the other side. For instance, on one United Methodist Church webpage, there is a section indicating the church is considering disaffiliating and the complexity of the discernment process. (It looks like a well thought out process.) One sentence really caught my attention: "One issue at hand relates to the authority of the Holy Scriptures." By choosing the word authority, the person who wrote this implies that The United Methodist Church does not treat the scriptures as authoritative.


The word "authority" is a dynamite-like word. This word alone can lead to debate that gets stuck in the wilderness where each faction seeks to defend their territory. For instance, the other side of the debate defining the authority of the scriptures might choose to react and throw a dirt clod by saying something like, "The person who wrote this is a Biblical literalist. The only authority is the triune God made known in the Word made flesh, Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ!" Possibly the fight over ways to define the holiness of scriptures could lead to unholy escalations planting seeds of division. It could lead to each side using the Bible to launch texts like stones at the other side. The debate ends up looking like a rock fight! Blood is spilt when each side forms some type of declaration indicating the other side is lesser than. They are NOT REAL CHRISTIANS! (I am concerned that we who have remained United Methodist, may see several petitions of this type propagated from both sides when our annual conferences convene a few months from now!)


Honestly, I believe only a very small percentage on both sides of the issues that have led some to choose disaffiliation have fought dirty. Here's the problem. Because some have chosen to fight dirty, all of us have been caught in the crossfire. We have been hit by some of the crabapple juice and dirt that has been flying around. When that happens, it makes it even harder to go deep, seek the truth in love, and share prayerfully examined thought. From time to time, I hate to say it but I believe some rocks have been thrown from both sides of the issues at hand. This has happened when we forgot the importance of Christ-like empathy and compassion. (This brings to mind something I learned from studying an important practice of confession Rev. Beth and Rev. Kelly Crismon teach through PlowPoint Ministries, "God help me accept 100 % of the responsibility for my10% contribution for actions I have committed that lead to division.) This happens when people have treated persons with whom we disagree as objects rather than persons. These kinds of behaviors always tear down the Body of Christ and compromise our witness with persons who have not yet chosen to become followers of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ!


Every follower of Jesus I know takes the holy scriptures very seriously.


For instance, while the apostle Paul does clearly state that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching, I know many persons who are homosexuals who live in a sacred monogamous covenant for life. Their unions are sacred and legal and should be recognized as such. The persons I know who follow Jesus and are self-avowed homosexuals embody Christ-like empathy, compassion, and concern for the poor and oppressed in ways many heterosexual Christians I know do not. They know first hand what it feels like to be ostracized. While I take very seriously all of the holy scriptures. I believe the apostle Paul like of all of us claimed to see in a mirror dimly. I do NOT believe the apostle Paul would want us to treat persons who claim they are homosexual as lesser than. He nor any other author of the scriptures claims our sexuality is the primary determinant of our identities.


I do NOT believe Paul would want us to exclude persons who claim to be homosexual from inclusion in the Body of Christ. I believe persons who are homosexual and remain faithfully committed to God made know in Jesus, the Christ, and their covenant partner, (including monogamy of course as in the case of heterosexuals), should not be excluded from positions of leadership including ordination as deacons and elders.


Yes, I believe what the apostle Paul wrote as recorded in 1 Corinthians 13:4-13 is also an essential part of holy conversations seeking clearness. Most of all, we hope and pray we will one day see Jesus face to face; see him as he really is; so we can then finally see ourselves for who we really are. If we exclude the faces of our homosexual sisters and brothers, those with whom we share the same Holy Father, we refuse to see the face of God in them, and we contribute to not seeing the whole picture Son-light reveals.


I still love persons who disagree with me on this, and I am willing to continue learning. I can only do that if I choose to NOT treat persons who choose to disaffiliate as lesser than too.


There are so many ways we are not yet being true to holy scripture including the ways we excuse war as just and the numerous ways we rationalize killing.


Will we split up every time we disagree?


5) Are we taking a quick fix, easy road out pathway that avoids the unsettling deeper concerns God wants us to grow into as we mature?


To make it plain, are we seeking to immerse ourselves in the sanctifying grace that empowers us to embody Christlike mindsets as described in the apostle Paul's letter to the Philippians 2:1-11?


Holy Father, Creator of the One Body, help us not to seek to cut off the members with whom we disagree! Help us prayerfully embody all of Philippians 2:1-11.


"Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don't look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had."

(Philippians 2:1-5, "The New Living Translation of The Bible.").


HOLY LOVER, CREATOR OF ALL, MAY WE READ AND PRAYERFULLY SEEK TO EMBODY PHILIPPIANS 2:6-11!!!


In Summary....


What is the logical outcome of the pathway many are choosing?


I'm concerned that if many continue to choose independence over inter-dependence, and likemindedness over gathering with persons who embody diverse viewpoints; churches will one day claim, "If you do not think exactly like I do on every singe issue, then you are not really an authentic follower of Jesus. In other words, you are lesser than me."


If this attitude remains prevalent, the calculus is simple. Over time, more and more churches will become independent because churches will divide over their perceptions of war, greed, the best ways to practice economics, the best ways to pay attention to the eco-systems, the best ways to care for the poor, the best ways to practice reconciliation, the best ways to practice holiness, etc; therefore, the most popular issue of the day will prevail.


Persons will choose to be right instead of be in right relationship.


People will make good choices rather than take up the cross and follow Jesus. BEWARE! These are the same kinds of temptations Jesus said "No" to when he was tempted by the Satan in the wilderness. Read Luke 4:1-13.


Holy Light, Revealer of Truth, help us examine the times in which we live even when doing so unsettles us causing us to lean on Jesus more!


I am concerned that many laity, churches, and pastors are choosing to take the road frequently traveled. For instance, this happens when we choose to not go deep and prayerfully examine how we have all been effected by the divisions being acted out through members of the U.S. Congress and factions caused by sin throughout the world. The air we breath is polluted! Rather than take responsibility for ways we contribute to the spread of sin and dysfunction, we harass and bully others. We call the other with whom we disagree names and seek to blame and shame.


Furthermore, let us not forget we have all been effected by post COVID-19 realities.


We have endured some very challenging times. Prior to the development of effective and safe vaccines, we endured isolation. We felt overwhelmed! In order to survive, we did our best to deny our mortality and vulnerability.


On top of that, prior to the post realities of COVID-19, we were just starting to come to grips with the communication revolution caused by the development of the World Wide Web. Plus, only recently have we started to see more clearly ways through the forest during this transitional time of history, a time descried by historians as Post-Christian-dom. (Read "Resident Aliens" by Stanley Haeurwas and Wil Willimon to find out more about this.).


To make matters more disconcerting, we have felt the Teutonic plates of the earth tremble under our feet as we witness the effects of more severe weather spreading throughout the earth because of global warming. Unfortunately, we have paid more attention to issues related to sexuality than we have to seeking to be faithful stewards of God's creation. Let us remember according to the book of Genesis, we are created in the image of God because God has entrusted us with the sacred care and dominion over the earth's eco-systems.


Rather than grow, are we choosing quick and easy solutions in the name of keeping it simple?


Too often, keeping it simple presents good excuses to avoid unsettling awareness exposed by the light of following Jesus, the Holy Other. By avoiding prayerful examination of our own mindsets, we stunt our growth. How? We avoid growing in God awareness, and emotional awareness. We avoid the Christ-like empathy and compassion that come to fruition when we dare to grow deep and learn from the tears the world grows weary treading. Let us be aware of ways we seek to protect our fragile egos and carefully constructed identities by entering into actions caused by avoidance, and projection; all futile attempts to avoid taking up our crosses and following Jesus!


Plus, let us beware of getting lost in wilderness debates among present day representatives of the house fellowships in Corinth where persons treated the theology of grace embodied in Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, like secret wisdom teachings propagating the viewpoint: Sin all you want and be forgiven more! Fulfill all desires. God's grace gives you a free pass! (Read First and Second Corinthians).


Along these lines, let us beware also of getting lost in a battle among the prevalent mindset of Corinth versus the prevalent mindset of Judaizers. (Remember when the apostle Paul described in his letter to the Galatians zealot representatives of the Jerusalem Church who went on a mission trip to the region known as Galatia? The Judaizers went there to try and convince Gentile followers of Jesus that they must adhere to Jewish food laws and circumcision or they were not really true followers of Jesus. For more about this read Paul's letter to the Galatians.)


Unfortunately, we have witnessed the battle among similar mindsets like those of the Corinthians and the Judaizers get re-enacted during many debates over the years as witnessed on the floor of General Conference. Each side accuses the other of mis-interpreting the grace of God embodied in Jesus of Nazareth. One side wants to add less rules and restrictions. The others side wants to add more. Each side accuses the other of being less than Christian!


Let us recall the last letter the apostle Paul wrote around the year 90 A.D., (remember he wrote his first letter to the Thessalonians around 50 A.D.); Paul's letter to the Romans sheds essential light upon holy conversations among followers of Jesus.


As the apostle Paul has aged and been immersed over time in the baptismal waters of justifying and sanctifying grace, he has had plenty of time to ruminate upon his encounters with the churches he has served and the issues all human followers of Jesus share as forgiven sinners who prayerfully seek to embody saintly patterns of Christlikeness.


For instance, one passage shining light is recorded in Romans 2. This chapter is referred to in many Biblical translations as "God's Judgment of sin." We are all under judgment. Even the apostle Paul wrestled with a thorn in the flesh. Scholars speculate about what the thorn was that continued to remind him of his fallen nature and absolute dependence upon Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, for salvation and wholeness. Jesus of Nazareth is the only human being who embodied perfection. He is fully human and fully God. My reading of Romans 2 indicates part of being human includes the journey of becoming. Even John Wesley claimed that he never knew anyone who embodied perfection at the time of death. This conversation is truly complex. The phrase, "You got to keep it simple here reveals a lack of transparency and awareness.


Followers of Jesus, we are in this together! WE need each other in order to help each other grow up to be like Jesus!


When we take on the role of deciding what sin we need to cut out of the other, we seek to take the place of God!


Indeed, Paul put it like this: "But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day is coming when God's righteous judgment will be revealed. He will judge everyone according to what they have done." (Romans 2:5, "New Living Translation of The Bible."). I believe one of the greatest sin's Paul referred to occurs when we set ourselves up as judges over others!


Paul also speaks to this as recorded in 2 Corinthians 5:14-21,


"Either way, Christ's love controls us. Since we believe Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive this new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!"


"And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people's sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ's ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, 'Come back to God!' For God made Christ who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ."

(2 Corinthians 5:14-21, "The New Living Translation of The Bible.").


In conclusion, unfortunately, too often General Conference has resembled the Congress of The U.S.A.


Rather than serving as ambassadors of reconciliation, many floor debates over the past few General Conferences have sounded like lawyers trying to present a case of judgment over the other with whom I disagree! Sadly enough, the delegates to General Conference with whom I have spoken with over the years who represent differing viewpoints agree on one point at least. To paraphrase, they all said something to me like the following: "We experienced inspiring worship at General Conference, but when we entered into legislation, it's like we kicked Jesus out of the building. Factions used legislative processes to try and insist on their own way. It was during General Conference it became clear to me that we cannot legislate The Holy Spirit."


Praise God! You got this! You hold the Body of Christ, the communities of faith we call the church in your redeeming hands. We still see in a mirror dimly. May we embody agape and be shining lights who no longer look at one another from a human point of view, but from the view that Jesus, the Christ, gave his life to save us all from sin!


(For more helpful Information such as what the Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church shares on the issues that have been discussed, I invite you to read the following. This comes from a post that was shared by Rev. Dr. Mary John Dye the week of February 5, 2023 on Facebook:) To continue conversation, I invite you to go to the home page of my website or go to the forum section.




  • Official United Methodist Positions on Marriage and Homosexuality

"We affirm the sanctity of the marriage covenant that is expressed in love, mutual support, personal commitment and shared fidelity between a man and a woman. We support laws in civil society that define marriage as the union of one man and one woman" Paragraph 161.C


"While persons set apart by the Church for ordained ministry are subject to all the frailties of other human condition and the pressures of society, they are required to maintain the highest standards of holy living in the world. The practice of homosexuality in incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore, self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers or appointed to serve in the United Methodist Church." Paragraph 304.3


"Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches"

Paragraph 341.6


"To ensure that no annual conference board agency, committee, commission or council shall give United Methodist funds to any gay caucus or group or otherwise use such funds to promote the acceptance of homosexuality or violate the expressed commitment of the UMC 'not to reject or condemn lesbian and gay members and friends' - paragraph 161G" The Council (on Finance and Administration) shall have the right to stop such expenditures." Paragraph 613.19


"A bishop, clergy member or an annual conference, local pastor, clergy on honorable or administrative location or diaconal minister may be tried when charged with one or more of the following offenses: 1) immorality, including but not limited to not being celibate in singles in singleness or not faithful in a heterosexual marriage; 2) practices declared by the United Methodist Church to be incompatible with Christian teachings, including, but not limited to: being a self-avowed practicing homosexual or conducting ceremonies which celebrate homosexual unions or performing same sex wedding ceremonies..."

Paragraph 2702.1


These are the set positions of the United Methodist Church as recorded in "The Book of Discipline" until at least May of 2024 when The General Conference convenes once again in Charlotte, North Carolina.


Rev. Dr. Mary John Dye writes to the local congregation with whom she presently serves, "Disaffiliation is a new, first-ever option for churches added at the 2019 Special Called Session of General Conference. It was introduced by supporters of the Traditional Plan that the General Conference passed and is explicitly for churches who "for reasons of conscience disagree with the provisions passed at General Conference or the actions or inactions of its annual conference related to these issues which follow.

Many churches do not disagree with the Traditional Plan. They are seeking disaffiliation because of changes they fear will take place in the future. Those fears of the not-yet (and maybe not ever) future have circulated in churches as if they were true and present realities.

The disaffiliation process is meant to be like other United Methodist processes: open, fair, transparent, and based on accurate information. Because of the misinformation that has been spread in conversations, meetings, and in writing, in order to qualify for a Church Conference vote on disaffiliation, the District Superintendent required the Administrative Council to write the congregation an acknowledgement of misinformation, an identification of the false or misleading statements and corrections to those statements."


*(If you would like to offer your prayerfully examined thoughts, I invite you to share these in the forum section of this website. In the bar located at the top of this page, click More, then click Forum, and contribute to the discussion.)





274 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page