The time for protests and provocative actions at General Conferences is over. The time for anger and resentment is over. The time has come for the dissolution of the United Methodist Church. This petition has been submitted to the Petition Secretary of the General Conference.
This has been quite a learning experience for me. I have never before submitted a petition to General Conference. As the final days before the submission deadline were drawing near, I was able to read other petitions, in the appropriate format. Technically, this petition may be in the appropriate format. However, once this petition is compared and contrasted to other petitions, I have discovered I have some work to do in how I prepare any future petitions for any future denominational body!
Colleagues and friends have read this petition. I appreciate their insights. Their questions were beneficial to me. Though, I believe that a group of people would be a better producer of a petition to any UMC General Conference!
My plan may be rejected. That is alright. The process of developing this plan has reminded me about the good that God has done through this Wesleyan denomination called the United Methodist Church. I still believe the theology and doctrine of my beloved church is appropriate and Biblical. The grace of God has worked through the theology and doctrine of the UMC.
This plan, if accepted by the Petition Secretary as properly formatted for the 2020 General Conference, has a future that involves a Legislative Committee. The General Conference Legislative Committee that works on the division/dissolution of the UMC may take parts of this plan and add it to parts of other plans regarding denominational demise. Of course, this plan may die in the Legislative Committee. If the plan is read by the Conference Delegates, then at least they will be aware of the ideas of some within the UMC regarding the future of this denomination.
Without any further delay for you, go ahead and read the “Rationale” and the “Petition.” May we heed the direction of God in the present UMC as we prepare for the future. God help us all.
Rationale for Proportional Dissolution Petition
Being the United Methodist Church is not feasible. Each local church decides their future in a Progressive Methodist or a Traditional Methodist denomination. Once local churches decide, then Annual, Jurisdictional, and Central Conference assets, property, and unfunded pension liabilities are proportionally divided. Proportional dissolution gives successor denominations a solid foundation.
Whereas, the United Methodist Church has been divided in understanding the Biblical foundations of our faith and the foundations of human sexuality;
And, whereas, the United Methodist Church has spent forty-seven years of its now fifty-one years of existence battling between a traditional Christian understanding of marriage and a progressive Christian understanding of marriage;
And, whereas, many Bishops of the United Methodist Church are unwilling to support, defend, and promote the Theology and Doctrine of the United Methodist Church, and the Ordination Standards of the United Methodist Church;
And, whereas, many Annual Conferences and their respective Boards of Ordained Ministry, are unwilling to support, defend, and promote the Theology and Doctrine, and the Ordination Standards of the United Methodist Church;
And, whereas, the continuing decline in membership and worship attendance across the United Methodist Church in the United States of America shows a lack of commitment to the Bible and to the Book of Discipline by Lay and Clergy leaders of the denomination;
And, whereas, the trust between Bishops and clergy has been broken in the several Annual Conferences of the United Methodist Church, due to of the Progressive/Traditional split in the denomination;
And, whereas, other Christian denominations have divided because of the Progressive/Traditional understandings of marriage and ordination standards, and the lack of protections for Traditional Clergy and local churches in those progressive Christian denominations;
And, whereas, the trust of the United Methodist Church has been broken, as evident between lay and clergy, Annual Conferences and local churches, and among the Jurisdictions and the Central Conferences;
Be it resolved, that the Declaration of Union (¶ 1) be considered null and void;
Be it further resolved, that Title to Properties (¶ 7) would be carried by the Local churches of the United Methodist Church into either a Progressive Methodist denomination or a Traditional Methodist Denomination, as each Local Church decides through a process of consensus. Local churches unwilling to decide between either of these choices shall pay one full year of Conference apportionments and the respective portion of the Unfunded Pension Liability, with the one full year of Conference apportionments to be divided proportionally between the successor denominations;
Be it further resolved, all ordained and licensed clergy in good standing shall choose to serve either a Progressive Methodist denomination or a Traditional Methodist Denomination;
Be it further resolved, that each Progressive or Traditional Local Church keep their property, assets, and their respective portion of the Unfunded Pension liability, as they transition into the respective successor denominations;
Be it further resolved, that Wespath (¶¶ 1501-1509) shall service the pension needs of both denominations, including the assignment of the Unfunded Pension Liabilities to the successor denominations, the successor Annual Conferences and their respective Local Churches, of the several Jurisdictions and Central Conferences;
Be it further resolved, that the General Council on Finance and Administration (¶¶ 801-824); the Connectional Table (¶¶ 901-907); General Board of Discipleship (¶¶ 1101-1126); Division on Ministries With Young People (¶¶ 1201-1212); the General Board of Global Ministries (¶¶ 1301-1315); the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (¶¶ 1401-1423); The United Methodist Publishing House (¶¶ 1601-1641); the General Commission on Communication (¶¶ 1801-1808); the United Methodist Women (¶¶ 1901-1918); and the General Commission on United Methodist Men (¶¶ 2301-2303) have all property, assets, and liabilities proportionally divided among the successor denominations, as allowable under the law and according to restrictions on endowments;
Be if further resolved, that the General Board of Church and Society (¶¶ 1001-1011); the General Commission on Archives and History (¶¶ 1701-1712); the General Commission on Religion and Race (¶¶ 2001-2008); the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women (¶¶ 2101-2109); and JUSTPEACE Center for Mediation and Conflict Transformation (¶¶ 2401), contract their services with either or both successor denominations as each denomination decides to use their services. The respective General Boards, Commissions, and Agencies may have a proportionate leadership board derived from the successor denominations;
Be if further resolved, the Bishops of the United Methodist Church can choose either successor denomination to serve, but shall not serve both, and shall preside in the sessions of their respective conferences (¶ 52), and their salary and accompanying benefits would be adjusted to meet the financial capacity of the successor denomination;
Be if further resolved that the Annual Conferences and Jurisdictional Conferences divide property and assets proportionally along the lines of how the local churches decide to align with the successor denominations. The Annual Conferences and Jurisdictional Conferences may sell any or all Conference properties to meet the new reality of the successor denominations, including, but not limited to Wesley Foundations, Conference Centers/Offices, Conference Camp and Retreat Centers, etc.;
Be it further resolved, the clergy in good standing will choose which successor denomination to carry their credentials, with these requirements:
- Elders, Deacons, Associate Members and Local Pastors maintain current status in their respective successor denomination
o Local Pastors will have their license granted as set forth in ¶316.2-.4
- Elders or Ordained Clergy from Other Denominations may not be recommended or approved (¶346.2) until the successor denominations decide to do so upon the appointment of the several Elders, Deacons, Associate Members, and Local Pastors,
- Refrain from appointing Supply Pastors and Certified Lay Ministers – until all Elders, Deacons, Associate Members, and Local Pastors are appointed in the successor denominations;
Be it further resolved, that the Doctrinal Standards and Our Theological Task (¶¶102-105) of the Book of Discipline be maintained as written until the successor denominations can change or amend their own Book of Discipline once the dissolution of the United Methodist Church is complete;
Be it further resolved, that the remainder parts of the Book of Discipline, not already mentioned in earlier sections of this Resolution, including the Ministry of All Christians (¶¶ 120-143), the Social Principles (¶¶ 160-166), and Organization and Administration (¶¶ 201-2719), be maintained as written until the successor denominations can change or amend their own Book of Discipline upon the completion of the dissolution of the United Methodist Church;
And be it further resolved that the timeline for all local churches, Annual Conferences, Jurisdictions, and Central Conferences to make a consensus decision to be part of the successor denominations by December 31, 2023. This includes allowing the Central Conferences to complete their decision-making within eighteen months after the May 2020 General Conference.