The headline in the New York Times on Friday January 3rd, which read, “United Methodists Announce Plan to Split Over Same-Sex Marriage” is misleading. It is true that different groups in the United Methodist Church have disagreed about human sexuality and the interpretation of scripture surrounding it for years, but there is no current plan to split the church. The United Methodist Church is still the United Methodist Church and the DeMotte UMC continues to worship on Sundays and ministers and reaches out to its membership and the community in and around DeMotte on a daily basis.
The only body of the United Methodist Church that can make any decision about the future of the denomination is the General Conference of the UMC. They meet every 4 years. This year the General Conference will meet in Minneapolis from May 5 – May 15. More than 800 delegates from all over the world will gather to consider a plethora of proposals.
The New York Times and other national news outlets in their reporting referred to a proposal written by 16 individuals, bishops, pastors, laity, from conservative, centrist, and progressive sides of the denomination. These individuals are said to represent a number of groups in the UMC. They had pro bono help from Mr. Kenneth Feinburg, who oversaw the 9/11 victims’ compensation fund, in crafting a proposal titled “Protocol of reconciliation & grace through separation.” This proposal still needs to be put in a legislative acceptable form that can be submitted for consideration at the upcoming General Conference.
The protocol, in short, proposes that: The UMC splits in two new denominations, one traditional and one progressive.
If you have questions about this, please contact me and we can sit down and talk about it.
I cannot stress enough that this is only a proposal by a limited number of individuals, and that at this time it has not been brought to General Conference which is the only body that can make changes to the UMC Book of Discipline.
At last year’s Specially called General Conference in St. Louis the General Conference voted to uphold the current Book of Discipline which maintains traditional Christian teaching about human sexuality.
This is not a time to give up on the work we do together and the love we show together.
Together let us continue to be DeMotte UMC, a Christian Community reaching out with caring hearts and open doors. We desire to Worship God, Bring people to Jesus, Include them in his family, Develop them to Christian Maturity, and Prepare them for their life mission.
Remember: “The best of all, God is with us!”