(1-9-20) This is another Stateline Network EXTRA Two Sides To Every Story posting.
United Methodist Church bishops and leaders are proposing a split into more than one denomination in a bid to resolve years of debate over LGBT clergy and same-sex weddings.
Following is a story from the United Methodist Church
Key elements of the group’s proposal include:
- The General Council on Finance and Administration of The United Methodist Church would provide $25 million, over four years, “to the traditionalist Methodist denomination established pursuant to this protocol.”
- The new denomination would give up further claims to United Methodist assets, including those of general boards and agencies.
- GCFA would escrow $2 million to help other potential new denominations.
- To support communities historically marginalized by racism, GCFA would allocate $39 million over eight years to strengthen Asian, Black, Hispanic-Latino, Native American and Pacific Islander ministries, as well as Africa University. Of that total, $13 million would come from funds the separating traditionalist denomination chose to forgo.
- After the 2020 General Conference, set for May 5-15 in Minneapolis, there would be a special General Conference for the remaining denomination. “The protocol also references a plan which calls for a special general conference of the post-separation United Methodist Church. The purpose of the Special Session would be to create regional conferences, remove the current prohibitions against LGBTQ persons, and to repeal the Traditional Plan,” said a press release from the negotiating group.
- A (non-U.S.) central conference would be able to choose with a two-thirds vote to affiliate with a new Methodist denomination. The vote deadline would be December 31, 2021, and if no vote is taken the conference remains in The United Methodist Church.
- An annual conference, whether in a central conference or U.S. jurisdictional conference, also could vote to affiliate with a new Methodist denomination. A vote of 20 percent or more at an annual conference session would be needed to have the disaffiliation vote, and a disaffiliation vote would have to pass by 57 percent.
- The disaffiliation vote deadline is July 1, 2021.
The leadership body of a local church considering disaffiliation could determine a threshold of a simple majority or two-thirds for the vote on whether to separate. Decisions about disaffiliation must be made by December 31, 2024.
- A local church affiliating with another Methodist denomination “pursuant to the protocol” would keep its assets and liabilities.
- The pension plans of The United Methodist Church would remain in place for all current clergy and lay employees, even if they affiliate with another Methodist denomination under the protocol.