TIME OF DISCERNMENT FAQ'S

WHAT IS THE ISSUE?

Over the past few years, there has been a dispute between various Methodists regarding certain provisions of the Book of Discipline (BOD), which is the OFFICIAL document for United Methodist doctrine and practice.  The primary provisions at issue are (1) whether same-sex marriages should be performed in the church and (2) whether openly gay individuals should be allowed to be clergy.  Currently, the BOD prohibits this, but a number of churches, pastors, and even bishops have been openly violating the BOD by performing same sex marriages and as well as clergy engaging openly gay relationships.  These churches, clergy, and bishops have not been held accountable for these violations.


WHAT IS THE RESULT OF THIS?

A number of Methodist congregations feel that the traditional view contained in the BOD should be maintained, but are aware that it is unlikely that this traditional view will be the official stance of the United Methodist Church (UMC) going forward.  Therefore, they have decided to disaffiliate from the UMC.  Many of these congregations have joined the new Global Methodist Church (GMC) which will hold the traditional view.  Currently, over 200 congregations in our conference are having these discussions.


WHAT ARE OUR OPTIONS?

LJFUMC can choose to remain in the UMC, disaffiliate and move to the GMC or another denomination.


WHY NOW?

Churches who choose to disaffiliate in 2022 can do so with little cost.  The cost will significantly increase in 2023.  More importantly, there is no guarantee that churches disaffiliating after 2022 will be allowed to keep its church buildings and property.


WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

Our congregation will go through a time of discernment.  This will be a period of education and discussion on these matters and our options through town hall meetings and information provided online or through mail outs.  We will meet as a group on October 30th to vote whether to disaffiliate and, if so, whether to join the GMC or pursue another option.  It requires a 2/3 majority vote of members present and voting in order to disaffiliate.  The District Superintendent will conduct this meeting.


WHAT WILL THIS COST?

Churches that vote to leave the UMC will have to pay their usual apportionments, plus a share of the unfunded clergy pension liability.  The unfunded pension liability through September 30th will be zero, it may be different after that date.  There will also be the incidental costs of changing signage, letterheads, email accounts, etc.


WHAT HAPPENS TO OUR BUILDINGS?

Currently, the UMC owns all of the local church buildings, not the local church.  We are informed by the Bishop that any local church that chooses to disaffiliate by the end of 2022 will be allowed to keep their buildings and new deeds will be drafted to transfer ownership of the buildings to the local church.

 

WILL WE KEEP OUR PASTORS?

This is uncertain.  The pastors of the local churches also have to make a personal decision whether or not to remain with the UMC.  It is my understanding that pastors will be entitled to their full pension regardless of their decision.  I know that we will be supportive of our pastors regardless of their decision.

 

WHAT HAPPENS TO THE CURRENT UMC PROGRAMS SUCH AS UMCOR AND UM ARMY?

It is thought that these ministries will want to expand to include the GMC congregations.  UM Army has already stated that they will welcome GMC congregations.

 

IN THE GLOBAL METHODIST CHURCH, WHAT IS THE TERM OF OFFICE FOR A BISHOP?

12 Years


HOW ARE LOCAL CLERGY APPOINTED IN THE GLOBAL METHODIST CHURCH?

All clergy are appointed by the Bishop in consultation with the local church.


HOW MUCH ARE THE APPORTIONMENTS IN THE GLOBAL METHODIST CHURCH?

Apportionments in the GMC will be 6.5% of annual income. We currently pay approximately 8.5% in apportionments to the UMC.


HOW WILL THE GMC SELECT PASTORS FOR A CONGREGATION?

The appointment process is similar for both the UMC & GMC. The bishop and the presiding elders (district superintendents), collectively known as the cabinet, make all appointments. They account for the needs of the local church and the gifts and graces of the clergy. One difference is that, in the GMC, the local church, "must be given the opportunity to give input on the suitability of a proposed appointment and to raise any concerns it might have. When a committee raises substantive and missional concerns about the suitability of an appointment, such concerns must be addressed by the bishop and cabinet in considering whether to make the appointment. The bishop and cabinet must provide a rationale for their decision to the committee if they make the appointment."


REGARDING THE GMC, WILL EVERYONE STILL BE ABLE TO TAKE COMMUNION?

This is called "Open Communion" and the answer is yes. Paragraph 321 of the GMC Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline states in part, "the Sacrament may be offered to all who repent of sin and desire to draw near to God and lead a life of obedience to Christ."


WHERE CAN I GET ADDITIONAL INFORMATION?

Questions can be submitted via the form on the church’s website or the Q&A box in the Narthex, or by email to the church office or to the Admin Board Chair, Jay Gibson at jfg2882@gmail.com.  Our church website, www.ljfumc.org, will soon have a discernment page with more information.  Additionally, our Annual Conference website has a lot of helpful information – www.txcumc.org/navigatingthewaters.

For more information about the GMC, visit their website at  www.globalmethodist.org

 



THE SECOND TOWN HALL MEETING IS SCHEDULED FOR SEPTEMBER 22nd AT 6:30PM – PLEASE PLAN TO ATTEND!

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