The United Methodist Church Has Started To Formally Spinter

Discussion in 'Faith & Religion' started by John Brunner, Jul 6, 2022.

  1. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    I was talking to a friend yesterday, and he told me that the UMC is splintering over the LGBTQIA+ issue. This issue not only includes officiating at gay weddings, it also entails ordaining openly gay/questioning people and appointing them to positions of leadership (it’s already been done.) In my local region, none of the laity know exactly what is going on...they have been told nothing from UMC leadership. My friend told me that the existing organization had jettisoned the "traditionalists" and has not communicated anything. That's inaccurate, but that's what people think.

    What is happening is this:
    • At the United Methodist Church's 2019 General Conference, church leaders supported a plan that would prohibit same-sex marriages within their church (the vote was close)
    • This was expected to lead to discussion of potential schisms between conservatives and liberals within the denomination at the 2020 General Conference
    • COVID caused the General Conference to be cancelled in 2020 and 2021
    • The UMC decided to cancel the 2022 General Conference and to schedule the next one for 2024, apparently kicking the can down the road
    • The traditional congregations got fed up and created The Global Methodist Church this past May
    So now that there is a place for traditional churches to flee and still be Methodists, some UMC churches are beginning to do just that. A dated article said that "so far over 130 churches of the 31,000 in the U.S. have left." I found one article saying that 70 Georgia UMC churches have left. Another article says that in Florida, 107 are slated to be leaving. I've not found anything regarding other states.

    The schism goes beyond just gay marriage. This quote from the Lead Pastor of an Indiana congregation pretty much sums up one side of the issue: “As we often confess, we have failed to be an obedient church.” she wrote. “We’ve failed to launch local church pastors who are more concerned about the people they’ve excluded than the people in the pews they might offend. We’ve failed to launch superintendents, bishops, district committees and boards of ministry who will consider the gifts and graces of candidates regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. We’ve failed to empower laity to re-orient us, not only around LGBTQIA+ inclusion, but also around racial equity, gender parity and economic and climate justice. As a clergy person, I’ve failed to love those who disagree with me. The people and congregations headed to the GMC are my Sunday school teachers, youth leaders, dear colleagues, and friends. While I’m heartbroken to lose them, I’m also still seething at those who supported the Traditional Plan in 2019. Now is the time for sackcloth and ashes.

    The traditional congregations reject all of this, and the new GMC admits that they, too, have been guilty of “cultural captivity.”

    I am not clear from my online reading of where the African churches stand. I always thought that they were aligned with the traditionally biblical side of things on the issue of homosexuality, but from what I read some African churches have leveled accusations of "colonialism and racism" at the tactics used over the years by the conservative wing. The UMC bishop who oversees the churches in the Congo said “Colonial mercenary tactics are being used with the aim of destabilizing our conferences and exploiting our worth of delegate numbers to win power and property at our denomination’s next General Conference.” Again, this allegation was made against the splitting conservative faction and not against those pushing inclusion of the gay agenda. Of course, his is only one voice that was selected for that article.

    There are also process issues. Apparently individual churches may vote to leave but not entire conferences en masse (conferences are collections of UMC churches at various organizational levels.) This makes sense, as there are procedures for the members of each church to vote on the issue. And the departures must be approved at the annual conference, which keeps getting deferred, so I’m unclear on the “have already departed” phraseology I read about in Georgia and Florida. Much of the procedural stuff has been/is before the UMC Judicial Council. I believe the UMC owns church property, so the departing churches are gonna have to write a check. This is gonna be a major hurdle for the small congregations that want to leave.
     
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  2. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Supreme Member
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    When I left Methodism, I said they had gotten so open-minded that their brains had fallen out. Although the conferences own the church property, they could be bankrupted if all the departing churches made them fight for the property. Some rad state juries and judges might well give the UMC a tough time. I don't know, but if they leave one at a time, they will have to pay up.
     
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  3. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    I find it interesting that the word in the pews around here is the hard-core leftists have formally taken over the organization and punted the traditionalists to the curb, leaving them out in the cold...no longer Methodists. Of course, this is people doing what people always do...filling in the blanks with the most dire data when there's no communication. I don't know what's going on with the pastor and why he's not aware enough of the facts to have corrected misperceptions...or perhaps he's not gonna tell people that there's an escape route. Or maybe he does not even know of what the masses are thinking. One would think that if people believe that the UMC has shut them out, those Apportionment checks would stop being sent.

    I wonder by what mechanism the word of any change has made its way around. Folks around me have heard "something" but don't know the facts, while 70 churches in Georgia reportedly have already cut ties and there are over 100 in Florida at some point in the process. Your point about churches joining forces in the battle is a good one. Others have inferred the same thing...that a court battle over property may not end well for UMC, Inc.

    What further stirred the pot is that the United Methodist Women organization got rebranded in March as United Women in Faith, and I've heard it's taking them in a harder-left direction. The news of this change hit within a couple of days of the traditionalist members announcing plans to stand up the Global Methodist Church organization. The new organization "works for justice through compassionate service and advocacy to change unfair policies and systems that harm women, children and youth – from racial and gender injustice to economic inequality, climate issues and more." The UWF issued a statement formally opposing the SCOTUS ruling limiting EPA's power. *sigh* (Gee, the name "UWF" sounds like a labor union.)

    So when you add gay marriage + LGBTQIA church leadership + political activism, you get a denomination that has been taken over. As I type this, I have to think that--in a just world--they would be at risk of having their 501(c)(3) status revoked if for nothing else their political activism. Maybe sanitizing the word "Methodist" from the group's name was a legal move to get apparent distance. Maybe it was meant to further distance these women from their faith. If you ask these folks how much time they spend in activism and how much time they spend in the Bible last month, perhaps the reason for all this would become clear, huh?

    Now I wonder exactly what the tenets of the GMC are. I'll have to go look. Man, this is a tough industry. ;)
     
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  4. Hedi Mitchell

    Hedi Mitchell Supreme Member
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  5. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Supreme Member
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    And some wonder why I take such a hard stance on being non-denominational.

    Had a guy once ask me my denomination and when I told him, his reply was in the form of another question: “So, you believe anything” ?
    Yup, was my answer. I believe anything the Bible says. Nothing more, nothing less.

    All that said, even with non-denominational churches, it’s rough to find one that will leave politics to politicians, virtue signaling parasites to their realm of self aggrandizement and simply teach and preach the Bible with their eyes focused on pleasing God rather than the whims and fancies of society.
     
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  6. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    THIS is why I went though a period of looking for a pure Bible Study class that was not affiliated with a church.
     
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  7. Thomas Stillhere

    Thomas Stillhere Very Well-Known Member
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    The property issue is a good example of what happens when the small churches can't pay the monthly utilities and the main church in town takes over. That happens to be the case in Houston with the Methodist Church. You have one very large Church who assigns the Pastors and pays the bills of the small ones. I know this from experience because one of the people that died while I was back home in Houston was the Church office manager of one of the oldest Methodist Churches in Houston. When I left Houston it was 85 years old altho very small and low attendance. Two years after I left Houston it had finally closed the doors for good and for a short time it was rented out to another small private church. Now my take on the money issue is that the big church has a lot of greedy people at the top and they protect that money but hand it out to the persons who help steal it. Again a good example is the personal property of the second individual that died while I was home, she was 80 years old and gave the property in Spring Branch to the Methodist Church, also her sister who died 4 years later did the same. These properties were worth a lot of money and they wasted no time giving the two homes to people in the hierarchy to live in as parsonages. So as far as I can tell the whole thing is a big scam and before you leave your property to any church make sure you know exactly how it will be handled and have restrictions in place. I noticed that all the main players from the big church in Houston were all driving expensive cars and dressed like Hollywood actors. My old church Baptist Temple finally collapsed due to the expense to maintain it. When I was only 6 years old I was going to church and vacation bible school and the whole property for Baptist Temple was the entire city block and also across the street another half a block was all owned by the church used for parking. The first to go late 69 was that parking area and finally last year the entire church was razed except for the main room and bell tower for services. All the old people of the 30s and 50s had died and of course utilities became sky high and it killed every major large church in Houston , all of them ! There are so few people going to church there would never ever be enough money to pay today's high cost of utilities. Unfortunately the crooks move in and figured out how to take completely over old churches that became so small in membership it allowed them to take money that did not belong to them. There are millions of people growing up that have never set foot in any church. It don't make them all bad people but you can see the outcome with today's troubled society in America. They are people without any spiritual guidance of right from wrong.
     
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  8. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    I swung by my friend's place today to tell him what I had read of the UMC issue, since he erroneously thought the UMC had shut them out. We were discussing why the UMC would alienate their most reliable base of constituents (much less offend God), and he replied "I've said this many times in my life: Follow the money."
     
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  9. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Supreme Member
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    You could start your own, or find someone like @Bobby Cole who is qualified to lead it for you if you don't feel qualified to do so.
     
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  10. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    I've thought of that more than once.

    I'm no theologian, and I know this will come across as arrogant, but I believe that a group of people who are honestly seeking the truth can do no worse than some of the outright falsehoods put forth in many mainstream churches, especially with the study guides that are available.
     
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  11. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Supreme Member
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    It’s not arrogant at all.
    Matthew 18:20 combined with Jeremiah 29:13 gives us the perfect template for starting and building a good Bible study / worship group. God doesn’t judge us based on the number of people in a congregation or by denomination but how much we yearn to be taught by Him through His word and not the word of those who would tickle the ear.

    One method I was a part of is to find like minded, God fearing people who want to come together in study and worship.
    Say, 3 or 4 people or even a couple more but each week the study group goes to a different home and whomever the home belongs to leads the study that week.
    Or, if someone knows someone who has an empty garage or small warehouse with a working outlet for a coffee pot, then that’s good too.

    In truth, the group doesn’t have to be large. It just has to be honest. The place of worship doesn’t have to be adorned with flowers and have comfy seats. Jesus was literally born in a barn. It was good enough for God, it’s good enough for us.
     
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  12. Marie Mallery

    Marie Mallery Veteran Member
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  13. Marie Mallery

    Marie Mallery Veteran Member
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    .Maybe much of it is tradition or the loss of,

     
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  14. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    I recently found out that soon after the 2019 General Conference (when the vote nearly went pro-gay), there had been an agreement reached that any departing church could just keep their property. But since there was no General Conference in 2020 or in 2021, the agreement could not be formally ratified. I don't know what changed. We could speculate (emotions got inflamed over time, the magnitude of the dearly departing became larger than anticipated, etc.), but it's just speculation.
     
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  15. Marie Mallery

    Marie Mallery Veteran Member
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    I'm trying to tell yall,its the sedition of tradition that got hold of all our churches. Society changed.
     
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