A document was disseminated encouraging members to read information from Stay UMC of the North Alabama Annual Conference. We encourage you to read it. However, we cannot endorse its accuracy. There are many mischaracterizations that call into question the accuracy of the entire document, but we believe in giving members all perspectives. Link to stay UMC is here….
WCA Correcting Information
The Stay UMC North Alabama document cautions the reader about
information that is not being shared by the GMC. This document was written many months ago in order to persuade the clergy and laity of the North Alabama Conference to stay as an entire conference. Some of the information is inaccurate because it is out of date. In order to stay apprised of the news from all perspectives, we’ve encouraged our members to go to a website that aggregates many news items on a daily basis from progressive, compatibilists, and traditional viewpoints.
North Alabama plans to have a vote on December 10, 2022 to allow churches to leave the UMC. The Texas Annual Conference has a similar vote on December 3, 2022. At that time, it is likely that hundreds of churches from the TAC will be leaving the UMC. We have encouraged our members to go to our Texas Annual Conference website to find out accurate information about our Texas Conference discernment process. https://www.txcumc.org/FDTF
There are many misleading characterizations in this document, but here are four.
1. Stay UMC says The Book of Doctrine and Disciplines of the GMC is “constantly changing.” It was edited a few times for minor grammar errors and changed to reflect updates as it was being formed. Rev. Dr. Chap Temple, a respected leader and member of the Texas Annual Conference, helped write it. The document in question can be found here: https://globalmethodist.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Transitional-Discipline.2022041289-1.pdf
2. The Stay UMC document says, “The “Global Methodist Church” is newly formed but is not actually operating at this time.”
The GMC was officially launched on May 1, 2022. https://globalmethodist.org/
There is a Transitional Leadership Council that is governing the transition until the first General Conference next year. Rev. Dr. Leah Hidde-Gregory (an elder and the executive director of the Smith Center for Evangelism, Mission and Church Growth in the Central Texas Annual Conference) is chair of the TLC.
Rev. Jessica LaGrone, a member of the Texas Annual Conference, author, and Dean of the Chapel at Asbury Seminary is also on the Transitional Leadership Council.
Churches from across America are leaving the UMC and joining the GMC with an effective date in the future (such as Jan. 1, 2023) in order to have a smooth transition. The GMC is “operating at this time.” The entire Bulgaria Conference has left the UMC and joined. According to information shared at the West District Meeting, 250 churches of the TAC are in discernment to leave the UMC or have voted already. Such a huge number of churches in the Northwest Texas Conference are leaving that the UMC has real concerns they will not have 50 churches left to even have a conference. Because there are different rules in different conferences, many churches cannot afford to leave due to additional onerous financial costs added by many conferences in addition to the requirements of Par. 2558 which requires paying apportionments in full for the last two years and paying all of the pension liability costs determined by each annual conference separately. https://globalmethodist.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/TLC-Members-Intro.Crossroads.-JAN192022.FINAL61-1.pdf
3. Stay UMC says the GMC “formed even though General Conference was delayed until 2024 and whether or not the proposed Protocol for Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation ever passes.” General Conference 2020 was delayed until 2021, then 2022, then set for some unannounced time in 2024. According to the people that developed the Protocol, The Protocol is dead. UMC bishops and others that signed on to support it have withdrawn their support after making a promise to support it. Although legislation exists for the Protocol, it is woefully outdated at this time. “Those who signed the statement withdrawing their support include the Rev. Thomas Berlin of the LGBT advocacy group UMCNext, the Rev. Egmedio Equila, Jr. of the Philippines Central Conference, Janet Lawrence of the LGBT advocacy group Reconciling Ministries Network, the Rev. David Meredith of the UM Queer Clergy Caucus and longtime LGBT advocate, and UMC
layperson Randall Miller.” https://www.christianpost.com/news/5-umc-leaders-withdraw-support-for-gracious-separation-protocol.html
4. Stay UMC says that “pensions for clergy moving to the GMC risk being underfunded in the future.” The information shared in this section of Stay’s UMC document is meant to create fear in clergy about their pension. Wespath (formerly called the Board of Pensions of the UMC) has already created a plan called the Covenant Plan for GMC clergy. There is absolutely NO RISK WHATSOEVER of GMC clergy pensions being underfunded BECAUSE for the first time clergy will actually own their own pension accounts. Pension contributions will go into the clergy person’s Personal Investment Plan that they own and control. Currently, UM clergy do not actually own much of their own pension. 65% of the MPP area of the plan belongs to the denomination and the clergy can never pass it on to their heirs. 35% belongs to the clergy in the MPP section of the plan. https://globalmethodist.org/faqs/