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walk in the woods

United Methodist Church Schism

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It appears what used to be our second or third largest chartering organization is on the verge of schism.  The cause is less interesting to me than the potential impact on BSA.  Although if any of you are UMC-ers with insight please share whatever you are comfortable sharing.

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This break has been in process for over a decade and has pretty much come to a head.  
 

Here are links to two resources, one the Church itself, the other the L.A. Times recent article.

In our locality of So Cal, the issue with the sponsor and Scouting seems to be minimal.  All of our council units sponsored by Methodists appear to be okay, though congregations have shrunk along with membership in units.  Still, the oldest units in our council are mostly UMC; ours will be one hundred next year, and there are two or three others that are over 50.

 

https://www.umnews.org/en/news/diverse-leaders-group-offers-separation-plan


https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-01-03/united-methodist-church-lgbtq
 

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It will be interesting. If I understand the situation right, it's the American sector that is splitting away, not the world Methodist. In the past, the American sector is much more liberal and less friendly toward the BSA. Around here, the moderate churches supporting the schism don't want to rock the boat anymore than they have to, so they aren't planning to change their support. However, they may loose a large part of their membership that supports scouting. I think the BSA can count on less support from National part of the Methodist. 

I wouldn't say the break has been in a process because it's been voted down at the Methodist Conference for over 20 years, including 2019. Since the Liberals couldn't get the unified vote they have been seeking, they just finally decided to push for a break away.  

I read an article about how the schisms have been effected other churches and basically once the membership stabilizes from the break, membership doesn't grow. So, it's a slow suicide.  The satire news letter Babylon Bee Headlines express many of the feelings around here, "The United Methodist church to Split Over Whether or not to be Christians".

Barry

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It is a proposal that may or may not be enacted at a vote in May.

The proposal allows the creation of a "Traditional Methodist" denomination to be split off of the current "United Methodist" denomination.  Individual conferences and/or local churches can elect to go the Traditional Methodist direction.  If they don't act they remain United Methodist.  If they have a vote they can switch to Traditional Methodist.

I am thinking many of the overseas conferences would go the Traditional Methodist route as the are generally much more conservative than the US part of the church.  Across the US I am thinking you will see individual local churches going both ways.  I can see turmoil at the local level as each church makes their decision.  There will be members that jump from one congregation to another over these decisions.  Or leave to different churches altogether to avoid the controversy.

In my own congregation there is a mix of conservative and liberal viewpoints many of them very strong.  I see this a bad situation brewing.  Hopefully I am wrong.

As far as Scouting goes?  I don't see much of an impact.  I know of no local Methodist church that has a negative relationship with Scouting even with the membership changes.  I would expect the same support from both denominations.

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54 minutes ago, NealOnWheels said:

It is a proposal that may or may not be enacted at a vote in May.

The proposal allows the creation of a "Traditional Methodist" denomination to be split off of the current "United Methodist" denomination.  Individual conferences and/or local churches can elect to go the Traditional Methodist direction.  If they don't act they remain United Methodist.  If they have a vote they can switch to Traditional Methodist.

So, you believe the conservative churches would be the ones leaving the United Methodist. That is interesting because, as you say, it's the international conservative churches that are preventing the the proposed changes. Seems like it would be the other way around. 

I have several friends in the conference, so I really should ask them. I just haven't wanted to bother them about it yet.

Barry

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This video has been shared locally by our Church and attempts to answer or address much of this.  Our particular church has long been more liberal and over the past decade or so has seen a slow migration of members to other Protestant groups that remain focused on narrow, established ideas regarding the issues.  On the other hand, there is a great deal of quiet cooperation among these groups in areas of less controversy.  Both sides seem wont to move in a more involved community outreach that is more hands on local problems and challenges.  The image of the old Methodist circuit rider is being held up by many.  Anyway, take a look if you choose.

 

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZlFGjKjCXM

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23 hours ago, Eagledad said:

So, you believe the conservative churches would be the ones leaving the United Methodist. That is interesting because, as you say, it's the international conservative churches that are preventing the the proposed changes. Seems like it would be the other way around. 

I have several friends in the conference, so I really should ask them. I just haven't wanted to bother them about it yet.

Barry

Yah I know what you mean but that is how the proposal reads.  I can imagine that it gets shot down in May's vote with the conservative faction asking "why should we leave?"

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I would think it would be in the church's best interest to simply let the LGBTQ issues be a local or regional choice.  It reminds me of the similar BSA issues.  Because the BSA took a stand on the question at a national level, it became a topic to argue over . But, if the BSA had simply said that it is a topic which can be decided locally, it would have saved years of arguing.

So, here you have a social issue that the world is grappling with.  If the church put the responsibilty on the individual churches to handle it as they believe best, it would allow the church to remain whole.  

 

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On 1/8/2020 at 2:41 PM, Eagledad said:

So, you believe the conservative churches would be the ones leaving the United Methodist. That is interesting because, as you say, it's the international conservative churches that are preventing the the proposed changes. Seems like it would be the other way around. 

I have several friends in the conference, so I really should ask them. I just haven't wanted to bother them about it yet.

Barry

 

On 1/8/2020 at 1:40 PM, NealOnWheels said:

It is a proposal that may or may not be enacted at a vote in May.

The proposal allows the creation of a "Traditional Methodist" denomination to be split off of the current "United Methodist" denomination.  Individual conferences and/or local churches can elect to go the Traditional Methodist direction.  If they don't act they remain United Methodist.  If they have a vote they can switch to Traditional Methodist.

I am thinking many of the overseas conferences would go the Traditional Methodist route as the are generally much more conservative than the US part of the church.  Across the US I am thinking you will see individual local churches going both ways.  I can see turmoil at the local level as each church makes their decision.  There will be members that jump from one congregation to another over these decisions.  Or leave to different churches altogether to avoid the controversy.

In my own congregation there is a mix of conservative and liberal viewpoints many of them very strong.  I see this a bad situation brewing.  Hopefully I am wrong.

As far as Scouting goes?  I don't see much of an impact.  I know of no local Methodist church that has a negative relationship with Scouting even with the membership changes.  I would expect the same support from both denominations.

To be clear, this was a proposal that was developed by a group of 16.  That group has no more or no less standing within the church that any other group.  The church did have a variety of plans they voted on last year, the traditional plan was in fact the one that was supported.  Note this is not the same traditional plan that is being noted as breaking away in the releases.

This group has a proposal, they issued press release, that got picked up by national media as the "gospel" for the UMC.  The church is in fact not splitting and if you delve deep into the governance of the UMC and the connectional church that it is, a split would be a complicated endeavor.  The First Methodist Church of Capital City is not a franchise or an affiliate, it is a Methodist Church.  This is not like councils that can sell and buy property as they fit locally.  Nor is it like the Baptist Church that may be affiliated with say the Southern Baptist Conference and then become a local community church with no specific affiliation.  Splitting assets, apportionments, retirements salaries, seniority, clergy assignments, determination of seniority in the church and who can marry whom where, perform rites such as communion would all need to be worked out.

The churches in the UMC are first of all, “owned in trust,” by the trustees of each local church. They have the ability to keep the church in good repair and build a new church and sell the old building upon moving from one building to another. They cannot sell the building and transfer the value to an independent church nor can they leave the UMC and make the active church an independent church.

If the trustees are a part of a church that chooses to close, the property they have kept in trust is then turned over to the Conference trustee board to be kept in trust by that board. It is then used as the Conference trustee board sees fit to do.

Technically all UMC property is ultimately the property “in trust” of the Annual Conference and cannot be given or sold to another church body without Conference approval. The local congregation “owns” their church building but it is a trustee type of ownership not an outright ownership.

The pastor is a member of Conference not the local church. He is appointed to serve his local church as an appointee of the Bishop of the Conference [at the Bishop’s will and pleasure]. The Bishop is the primary pastor of each local church and keeps each church served by his appointed pastor… in trust… for the Conference. He, or the local pastor, does not and cannot own a church as some independent pastors do.

As they say, the devil would be in the details.

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1 hour ago, ParkMan said:

I would think it would be in the church's best interest to simply let ... issues be a local or regional choice. ...

Unlike the BSA, the UMC parishioners affirm one catholic (i.e., universal church) in the Apostle's Creed. Letting issues be local or regional is not an option. That is why the folks who are slinging a permissive sexual ethic want the restrictive folks to operate under a different name. They believe that their permissive ethic is the outflow of a united methodical Christian exercise. Basically they are saying to the traditionalists, "You can have your heresy, we'll keep the brand."

Obviously the folks with the restrictive ethic would rather the permissives move on, but to my knowledge they've made no offer to give them their capital.

The offer to keep properties at (presumably) no cost for separation is a generous one. For reference, many churches among the rising Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians, and other spin-offs of the PC/USA paid substantial sums for an amicable separation.

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1 hour ago, Jameson76 said:

 

To be clear, this was a proposal that was developed by a group of 16.  That group has no more or no less standing within the church that any other group.  The church did have a variety of plans they voted on last year, the traditional plan was in fact the one that was supported.  Note this is not the same traditional plan that is being noted as breaking away in the releases.

This group has a proposal, they issued press release, that got picked up by national media as the "gospel" for the UMC.  The church is in fact not splitting and if you delve deep into the governance of the UMC and the connectional church that it is, a split would be a complicated endeavor.  The First Methodist Church of Capital City is not a franchise or an affiliate, it is a Methodist Church.  This is not like councils that can sell and buy property as they fit locally.  Nor is it like the Baptist Church that may be affiliated with say the Southern Baptist Conference and then become a local community church with no specific affiliation.  Splitting assets, apportionments, retirements salaries, seniority, clergy assignments, determination of seniority in the church and who can marry whom where, perform rites such as communion would all need to be worked out.

The churches in the UMC are first of all, “owned in trust,” by the trustees of each local church. They have the ability to keep the church in good repair and build a new church and sell the old building upon moving from one building to another. They cannot sell the building and transfer the value to an independent church nor can they leave the UMC and make the active church an independent church.

If the trustees are a part of a church that chooses to close, the property they have kept in trust is then turned over to the Conference trustee board to be kept in trust by that board. It is then used as the Conference trustee board sees fit to do.

Technically all UMC property is ultimately the property “in trust” of the Annual Conference and cannot be given or sold to another church body without Conference approval. The local congregation “owns” their church building but it is a trustee type of ownership not an outright ownership.

The pastor is a member of Conference not the local church. He is appointed to serve his local church as an appointee of the Bishop of the Conference [at the Bishop’s will and pleasure]. The Bishop is the primary pastor of each local church and keeps each church served by his appointed pastor… in trust… for the Conference. He, or the local pastor, does not and cannot own a church as some independent pastors do.

As they say, the devil would be in the details.

Interesting information.  My pack and troop are sponsored by a UMC church.  I knew about the pastor assignments, as the pastor has a son in the troop, but did not know much of the rest.  I have no worries about our relationship with the CO.

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2 minutes ago, MikeS72 said:

Interesting information.  My pack and troop are sponsored by a UMC church.  I knew about the pastor assignments, as the pastor has a son in the troop, but did not know much of the rest.  I have no worries about our relationship with the CO.

Same for us with a troop and packs, Scouting has been these over 40 years.

My church, not where my troop is, is UMC and also CO for a troop (and also pack).  After LDS the Methodist church was the 2nd largest CO for Scouting.  I assume they have moved into the top spot now

My thoughts are that as with many things, Scouting is in fact local.  The congregation will, for the most part, not magically become another group of people.  If the UMC universal were to split and the local houses of worship would rename, become independent....whatever, the units would likes continue.  The only issue would be if the church site actually closes due to some challenge.  Then the troop may need to find a new CO

If the house of worship continues then just update the charter, social media, and continue on providing a quality program to the youth of the community

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, qwazse said:

Unlike the BSA, the UMC parishioners affirm one catholic (i.e., universal church) in the Apostle's Creed. Letting issues be local or regional is not an option. That is why the folks who are slinging a permissive sexual ethic want the restrictive folks to operate under a different name. They believe that their permissive ethic is the outflow of a united methodical Christian exercise. Basically they are saying to the traditionalists, "You can have your heresy, we'll keep the brand."

Obviously the folks with the restrictive ethic would rather the permissives move on, but to my knowledge they've made no offer to give them their capital.

The offer to keep properties at (presumably) no cost for separation is a generous one. For reference, many churches among the rising Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians, and other spin-offs of the PC/USA paid substantial sums for an amicable separation.

I was born and raised Catholic, but have attended a Methodist church for years now, so I'm familiar with the Apostle's Creed.  

This is a wonderful idea in concept, but life gets messy.  The country (world?) is in the midst of reexamining our views on homosexuality.  In 20 years, there will probably be a new consensus on homosexuality.  But, today people are coming to their conclusions are differents speeds.  This is a very natural process.  It feels messy in the midst of it, but it's really not that unusual.  In the Methodist church there at doctrinal reasons rooted in the faith.  In Scouting, it was just opinions about the Scout Law.  But, the net effect is really very similar.  Those people who are on the progressive side of the shift in views are impatient.  The base much of their beliefs on theory and interpretation of concepts. Those people who are on the conservative side of the shift and frustrated and can rightly point to numerous texts to defend their beliefs. 

Your label of "permissive sexual ethics" is a great example of this.  I don't really see anything permissive about our ethics in the change.  What I see is a change in understanding about how one thinks of attraction and love.  I also see it as a change in how we think of gender.  It sounds like you look at the same and think it's a losen of our morals and ethics.  30, 40 years ago it was unlikely we'd have had this discussion.  Perhaps in another 30, 40 years from now it will be unlikely again.  But, today we're looking at this and all reflecting on it.

Today, there is pressure to explain and defend specific views.  So, it puts institutions in a bind.  How does an institution deal with a transition like this? 

I for one believe that the sanctity of the institution is more important than the specific issue.  Having been born into a faith that's about 2,000 years old I have a sense of longevity.  The Catholic Church weathered many storms.  It seems a shame to blow up the Methodist Church over this one.  Rather than constructing plans to split the church, I'd think the Methodist scholars would be better served with finding some doctrine that allows them to agree to disagree on issues of social upheaval.  Let's agree that our common bonds and strength as Methodists is more important than this one issue.

 

Edited by ParkMan
typos
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4 hours ago, ParkMan said:

I would think it would be in the church's best interest to simply let the LGBTQ issues be a local or regional choice.  It reminds me of the similar BSA issues.  Because the BSA took a stand on the question at a national level, it became a topic to argue over . But, if the BSA had simply said that it is a topic which can be decided locally, it would have saved years of arguing.

So, here you have a social issue that the world is grappling with.  If the church put the responsibilty on the individual churches to handle it as they believe best, it would allow the church to remain whole.  

 

That solution is intolerable to those wanting a change in policy, according to their writing on the subject.

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1 hour ago, ParkMan said:

I was born and raised Catholic, but have attended a Methodist church for years now, so I'm familiar with the Apostle's Creed.  

This is a wonderful idea in concept, but life gets messy.  ....

Tell me about it ... the Orothodox half of me has been waiting for you all to come back for 10 centuries. :cool: But that half ain't roses either. Although sure of themselves when it comes to restrictive sexual ethics, they are unparalleled in global political intrigue (living up to every nuance of the word Byzantine).

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