COMPARING PATHWAYS
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Pathways >No change
One Denomination, Many expressions
Work within GC to Divide or Dissolve
Work Outside to Divide or Dissolve / Individual Dissaffiliation / Other
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Considerations v Stay under 2019, 2020 DisciplineUS Regional Conference UMNext PlanAll BelongMissionary Conferences Bard Jones Plan Indianapolis PlanN.E.W. Plan Plain Grace PlanUM Communion Jurisdictional Re-DrawJurisdictional Option Federated ChurchesEncourage Local Churches to Dissaffiliatte Autonomous ACsWestern Jurisdicton?
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Proposed by Current polity (55% of GC2019)Connectional Table UMCNext- Dotson Western Jurisd. delegatesNorth Central JurisdictionBps Bard and Jones Invited group- MillardUM Forward- WilliamsF. HolbrookChris Ritter B. Girrell and S. Delmore Bill Lawrence (Perkins) B. Girrell local movement Lewis Center/ WeemsWestern Jurisdicion
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Summary Websitehttps://tinyurl.com/y46nzz8ohttps://tinyurl.com/y3twjsuohttps://umcnext.com/proposal/https://allbelongumc.org/https://tinyurl.com/y3fhyxhghttps://tinyurl.com/yxejfxlwhttps://um-forward.org/our-movement-forwardhttps://tinyurl.com/qvow7tyhttps://tinyurl.com/yxvg8qd7https://tinyurl.com/y5lyfq8phttps://tinyurl.com/uzhdk2zhttps://tinyurl.com/y236pr7v
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Supported by WCA, Traditionalist movement, Good NewsConnectional Table, some centrists UMNext, some centrists, gets big press Progressives, left-leaning centrists, some LGBTQ, Western Jurid. delegation mixed groupmixed groupmixed group- includes some conservatives and some progressives UM Forward, many of the queer clergy caucusNewer plan; support less clear mixed groupmixed groupNewer plan"New England Discerners," lots of individual churchesIncludes our option "NEAC becomes its own denomination"
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Selling Point Denominational theological uniforityKeeps UMC; US contextuality and autonomy strengthens "center/progressive" which is the majority of USRemoves harm and creates inclusivity in the Book of Discipline keeps the traditionalist UMC together; gives "gracious exit" to progressivesShort timeline, compromise that progressives, centrists, and WCA agree onfull liberation for one of the resulting denominations Creates new expressions of Methodism and preserves some of The UMC, without presuming the same discipline, shorter timelinekeeps some level of connection while maximizing autonomy; tries to address needs of central conferences Offers an option to be used if GC passes nothing (or nothing helpful to dissolve/divide) It's constitutional keeps local churches together in the event of a need to vote for a particualr denomination/ expression not waiting for GC to change
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Oppositionprogressives, much of NEAC, LGBTQ peopleprogressives find it wouldn't resolve the problem/allow LGBTQ people to serve; traditionalists may still object to being LGBTQ inclusive in other regions of the denomToo similar to One Church Plan and its limitations; progressives, LGBTQ folks, strong opposition from Our Movement Forward and from traditionalists WCA, Trasitionalist movement, Good News, General Conference progressives find it wouldn't resolve the problem/allow LGBTQ people to serve, but could be a transitional stepcentral objection: there's a way for churches/clergy to vote to stay if their AC leaves, but not for progressives in traditionalist conferences to individually leave? division of assets favors traditionalists under current membership models central objection: not developed by a very representative body- no known Central Conference, queer, or POC representationpresumably all traditionalists and most centrists; central objection: long timeline, further fragments the non-traditionalist by dividing liberationists, progressives, and centrists. Biggest objection is that it is not well known. Similar to Bard-Jones and Indianapolis; seems more equitable. Requires approving a new constitution; may be challenging to secure votes for that. central objection: what if Judicial Council rules that an AC can't take property with it? What happens to churches isolated from their nearest like-minded neighbors? Does not anticipate/plan for dividing the denomination if necessary local churches who choose to do this would need bylaws, agreements, etc., may complicate things unnecessarily central objection: are local churches able to survive alone? does this leave other NEAC alone holding the bill for something they can't sustain? Can any churches afford to dissaffiliate, given the pension costs? central objection: are annual conferences big enough to survive alone?
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Brief all churches/clergy come into conformity with the current Discipline, agree to abide with future Discipline. Pass GC legislation to create a US Regional Conf akin to Central Conferneces in power. Allow Discipline to be regionally amended. Pass legislation to allow for social principles to be included in amending. Similar to One Church Plan, utilizes another called session and another study team. Different regions or expressions decide their position. Dovetails with US regional conferencePass GC legislation to remove "incompatibility," and related discriminatory/chargeable offense sections, undo Traditional Plan, increase inclusivity; includes constitutional amendments Pass legislation to allow Jurisdictions to create missionary conferences, and make progressive missionary conferences, which can amend the Discipline for their region. Pass GC legislation to allow for annual conferneces to become autonomous bodies, after paying their portion of unfunded pension liability. Local churches and individual clergy can vote to stay UMC. Short Timeline. Pass GC legislation to create 3 new denominations. The center/progressive one holds most of the current asset and liability/retains UMC. ACs decide their position with churches free to disaffiliate if they disagree with the AC creates four new denominations: conservative, centrist, progressive, liberative, all part of a worldwide communion. Uses a transitional council and professional arbiter to divide assets etc; imposes moritorium on trials; boards and agencies become independent 501c3sPass GC legislation (no consitutional amendments) to create new expressions of Methodism in full communion and shared missional support with The UMC. Annual conferneces and individual churches can decide which expression to affiliate with The UMC becomes a Communion of different denominations, which are free to set their own vision, and presumably their own rules regarding ordination, marriage, etc. Has a Governing Council of 60-100 people which replaces GC and GCFA; compatible with Indy Plan. Use Jurisdictional power to redraw confernce boundaries, creating conferences that are of one mind as possible. Conferences leave/disaffiliate with property and can re-form into a new connection. Dovetails with missionary conferences. Just like what I developed, without the part about the resulting annual confernces possibly disaffiliating local churches who have to vote to affiliate with a denomination out of two or more options would instead let the member roll divde between those options, and then federate with those two or more denominations.Using the (currently unresolved due to voting irregularity) procesudres created by GC2019 and NEAC2019, have individual churches disaffiliate and be free to do their ministry. Pass (presumably) constitutional amendments to make annual conferences completely autonomous from the GC and one another Rumor has it the WJ submitted legislation to just remove the incompatiblity, funding ban, ordination restrictions, chargeable offenses regarding homosexuality
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Needed Legislation 11 petitions. Clarify local church dissaffiliation after the voting irregularities, adds annual conference disaffiliation, strengthens/retries things ruled unconstitutional previously Constitutional amendments to create a new Regional Conference, or make Jurisdictions and Central Conferences similar; but if this fails, there could be a leg committee dealing with only US issues23 peitions. Commission appointed by bishops reports to a called session in 2023, to approve a plan for denominational restructure. petitions to delete "incompatibility;" peteitions to remove language in candidacy, chargeable offenses, etc Allow JCs to create missionary conferences (or GC must do so), expand the portions of the Dicipline that can be amended 5 petitions to allow ACs to exit, to clarify how pension is funded and how the name and insignia of UMC can be used. Divisions of assets, legislation that dissolves the denomination into new ones-- does that mean constitutional amendment? 1 peition that adds a section to implement the transitional plan and describe the new denominations 20 pieces of legislation describing affiliation, new expressions, division of assets, etc. Pass an entirely new Constitionnone needed; prefer to clarify that ACs can dissaffiliate and keep property in trust. none needed none needed. fix dissaffiliation, then only needs to pass votes at the local church and AC level. massive constitutional amendments no idea
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Known legislation11 petitions to strengthen/clarify. https://tinyurl.com/y3lp55sehttps://umcnext.com/legislation/https://allbelongumc.org/what-we-proposehttps://tinyurl.com/y4bxaxfthttps://tinyurl.com/y3wms5ethttps://tinyurl.com/y2sh3trr
https://planegrace.com/the-plain-grace-plan-submitted-september-13-2019/
https://tinyurl.com/yxvg8qd7https://tinyurl.com/yxugpgzsnone needed none needed. none needed, beyond fix to dsiaffiliation.
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Can it Pass? GC, yes. Already has unclear. Passed GC before, but failed constitutional amendment process. Maybe, maybe not; vote might be similar to One Church Plan (47/53) Almost definitely not. unclear. Would a conservative-controlled GC allow this seeming loophole? Possibly; had itially high support, now waning. High probability in some form, given broad support, short timeline, negotiated with WCA, centrist, and progressive.probably not - seek non-legislative means to implement; needs amendment to moritorium section possible.Unknown Does not need to pass GC. Does not need to pass GC Does not need to pass. Doesn't need to pass. Almost definitely not.
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Trials? yes, can start 1/1/20moritoriumeliminatedyes, unless your AC departssilentmoritoriumsilent silent not for those who leave
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Ordination? no lgbtq clergy; set by GCeventual hope that criteria to be set by US Regional conferenceProhibition removed; Every annual confernece decides criteria Prohibition removed depends on resulting denominations/autonomous bodieseach new denomination decides- centrists remove incompatibility and restrictionsmay not discriminate (in liberative church); depends on resulting denomination each new "expression" would presumably decide would be determined by resulting annual conferences and new denominations if applicable unclear what happens to credentials of clergy if they leave too
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Marriage? no officating/hosting same sex weddings eventual hope to be set by US Regional conferenceomits "between a man and a woman" from church-wide definition of marriagechanges definition of marriage to include same sex partners as well depends on resulting denominations/autonomous bodieseach new denomination decides- centrists and progressives allow may not discriminate (in liberative church); depends on resulting denomination each new "expression" would presumably decide would be determined by resulting annual conferences and new denominations if applicable yes, for those who leave/form new denomination
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Funding Ban?yes determined by regionremoves ban removes bansilent silent may not discriminate (in liberative church); depends on resulting denomination silent silent preumably yeas for those who leave/form new denomination
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Disaffiliation? yes, of churches and annual conferencesyes of churches, no for annual conferences no provisionyes, of ACs although by another name; churches and clergy can disagree with their AC and remainyes- ACs decide which denom to join, local churches can vote otherwise for themselves. dissolution, with individual ACs and churches able to vote to decide their outcome. yes, although it prefers to call this "affiliation" with the new rather than focusing on the disaffiliation part prioritizing disaffiliation by annual conference, with each church being able to belong to a conference that matches its convictions yes
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Theological Commitments prioritizes a conservative biblical authorityprioritizes connection as a Methodist/ Christian teaching prioritizes inclusion and justice prioritizes connection and contextual ministry Prioritizes theologically conservative UMC holding the institutionPrioritizes parting amicably and quickly, compromise, harm reduction Prioritizes justice, liberationletting go of the old, amicable separation, fairness Prioritizes peaceful solution with some maintained connectionPrioritizes minimizing harm. prioritizes liberation
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Financial Considerations cost of trials, progressive churches seeking disaffiliation "unburdens" the GC from US-specific matters; GC could meet for shorter times; working with Wespath to have all the calls for multiple special sessions, mediators, and commissions. Uses Wespath prefered proposal and if disaffiliating churches stay with Wespeth, minimizes disruption to benefit pool. cost of traditionalist churches seeking dissafilliationannual conferences must pay their unfunded pension liability if they wish to leave the (traditionalist) UMC, legal fees, large numbers of progressives leaving will destabilize pension legal fees? special sessions? unfunded liability transfers to new denomination. see asset allocation at: https://peopleneedjesus.files.wordpress.com/2019/09/2556.12.d-asset-allocation-proposal.pdf transitional council, called session, realignment of investment to address harms of colonialism etc some special sessions, organization of new expressions, division of assets must be fair (but not everyhting needs to be sold), uses Wespath's prefered plan (2019) financial impact depends on how the resulting autonomous confernces/ denominations end up, how many share Wespath liability, etcJC special sessions if needed, liberating "stuck" churches or clergyfunding pensions and other benefits, loss of shared liability, potential need to pay back or fogive loans, relief, etc.financial impact depends on how the resulting autonomous confernces end up, how many share Wespath liability, etc
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Legal/Structural Considerations trials, loss of membership, disaffiliation, non conformity overall structure of denomination wouldn't changeoverall structure doesn't change, but allows for many churches to exit if they wish overall structure of denomination wouldn't changerequires that the "Global Discipline" allow for things like Social Principles to be amended, and this has been a tough thing to pass. lots of unknownconcern for the default for Central Confernces (which is dissaffiliation and might not be constitutional), lots of structural change. can this be implemented without amendment to constitution?Silent on Central Confernces? would be hard to make happen if only some pararaphs pass. shakes the current system, but would put a different legal/structural system in place. depends on Judicial Council and upholding the trust clause if ACs or the UMC cease to exist. overall structure doesn't change, but potential legal struggles resolving property and assets. huge constitutional hurdles
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Impact on NEACMajority of members of NEAC do not seem to find this tolerable Might work for a majority of NEAC local churches; preserves the known but allows LGBTQ people here. Might work for a majority of NEAC local churches; preserves the known but allows LGBTQ people here. Frustratingly idealistic; would be wonderful if it could happen, but not probable enough to really plan for thisNot sure what would be the outcome if the "missionary confernece" were bigger than the remaining annual confernece. Seems like it would be very expensive for NEAC- we presumably would disaffiliate as an AC, but sme churches and clergy would remain. Might work for a majority of NEAC local churches; minimizes change but allows LGBTQ people here, and allows conservative churches an outMight work for a majority of NEAC local churches; congregations and clergy would be able to affilaite as needed, but we'd lose some conenction to each other Might work formost NEAC local churches; minimizes change but allows freedom for different groups, allows Conference to move together or in part into something new. Might work for a majority of NEAC local churches; traditionalist congregations and clergy would be able to affilaite elsewhere Might work for a majority of NEAC local churches; minimizes change but allows LGBTQ people here. Concern that this works for the churches that disaffiliate only if they are large enough and sustainable enough. Churches that don't disaffiliate are potentially exposed to increased liability, pension costs, apportionments, etc. Loss of connection in the movement. Concern that NEAC is not viable alone.
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Impact on LGBTQ folks trials, defrocking, loss of dignity and humanity queer folks in supportive areas are safe; others aren'tqueer folks in supportive areas are safe; others aren'twould allow and protect queer folks in the church and in minsitry limited locations and abilities to serve; still part of a denomination that is discriminatory. queer folks in supportive areas are safe; others aren't, but that's not in our denomination; we can only "save our own" queer folks in supportive areas are safe; others aren't, but that's not in our denominationDeveloped by POC+Q+T people and centering the voices of these communities. queer folks in supportive expressions would be safe; other's aren't but that's not our denomination, and there is opportunity for them to affiliate with a safe expressionqueer folks' protection depends on the vision/policy of their annual confernece; confernces need not be geographic so queer folk in conservative places could still find a different AC. queer folks in supportive Conferences are safe; others aren't, but that's not in our denomination. There is a safe Conference in each area in the USqueer folks in supportive areas are safe; others aren't.queer folks in supportive areas are safe; other's aren'tqueer folks in supportive areas are safe; others aren't, but that's presumably not in our denomination
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Impact on local churches No policy change, but progressive/reconciling churches find sharp decline, traditionalist churches find decline due to ongoing infighting. On the outset, it may not seem like much changes. The downside to that is that the infighting continues within the US Regional Confernece On the outset, doesn't look like much change for centrist and progressive churches; traditionalist churches presumably disaffiliate Widespread loss of traditionalist churches makes denomination even more topheavy/ unsustainable; this financial burden filters down. Continued internal strife in denomination; some local churches may find themselves more free to practice their ministry local churches have to vote on where they will afiiliatelocal churches have to vote on where they will affiliate/what to do if they don't agree with their annual conference's choice local churches will have to vote on where they affilliate local churches may have to vote on where they affiliate local churches have to vote on where they will affiliate/what to do if they don't agree with their annual conference's choicelocal churches have to vote on where they will affiliate/what to do if they don't agree with their annual conference's choicecurrently, large cost to local churches seeking to disaffiliate; remaining churches then support a more top-heavy, unsustainable denomination
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Impact on clergy Retirement takes a hit as multiple churches close or leave denomination. Continued internal strife in denomination Continued internal strife in denomination. Unclear how many traditionalist churches would find this untenable and leave, weakening retirement stability. widepresd loss of traditionalist churches impacts retirement stability if they do not continue with Wespath Widespread loss of traditionalist churches weakens retirement stability. Continued internal strife in denomination; some clergy may find themselves more free to practice their ministry clergy in progressive conferences have a choice to stay or go; clergy in traditionalist conferences do not appear to unclear if clergy have a smooth pathway to transfer conferences/denominations as well as the churches do. clergy are free to affiliate where they can prctice ministry more freely unclear if clergy automatically affiliate with their annual conference, or if they can elect different affiliation some clergy may find themselves more free to practice their ministry some clergy may find themselves more free to practice their ministry loss of conenction with colleagues, loss of churches/entering a new denomination or lack thereof weakens retirement stabilty. Uncelar what happens to clergy serving churches that disaffiliate.
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credits: Information compiled by Rev. Becca Girrell
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New England Annual Conference
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Delegation, Open Spirit Task Force
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(opinions are mine)
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Some summary information found from Chris Ritter:
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https://peopleneedjesus.net/2019/09/26/gc2020-nine-plans-and-what-to-think-about-them/
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