Trustees announce updated disaffiliation process
SPRINGFIELD – The IGRC Board of Trustees announced today a streamlined process for disaffiliation that will enable churches a much quicker means for processing requests.
The new process enables all professing members of the congregation from initial inquiry through a final church conference to participate in the process. It specifically is designed for churches requesting to disaffiliate under paragraph 2553 of The Book of Discipline (2016) and reflects best practices that have been utilized in the previous three disaffiliating congregations while addressing the needs of the present.
“Prayerful time was put into this new process providing churches a more streamlined process in the disaffiliation requests,” said Tonna Percival, chair of the IGRC Board of Trustees. “The IGRC Board of Trustees have designed this process which follows the disaffiliation process under paragraph 2553 of The Book of Discipline(2016).”
The financial terms are as follows:
- The local church’s share of pension liability at market rate. This figure is computed quarterly by Wespath, the board that administers the pension program of The United Methodist Church. The local church’s share is calculated by taking the church’s current apportionment total and dividing it by the Conference’s total apportioned budget amount, and then multiplying this percentage by the Conference’s total unfunded pension liability.
- Two years of apportionments – the current year and the following year. Any amounts already paid are deducted from this total. See www.igrc.org/apportionments for your 2022 and 2023 amounts.
- A 10 percent additional assessment calculated upon the aggregate total of the church’s share of pension liability plus apportionments. This assessment seeks to cover the costs of releasing the Trust Clause and transferring the assets pursuant to the terms of the disaffiliation settlement agreement.
Upon receipt of a request to explore disaffiliation, the District Superintendent will guide the church through an inquiry process in which all members of the local church will be fully informed and have opportunity to ask questions and provide input. After this initial period of information-gathering and discernment the local church will determine whether to formally engage in the disaffiliation process. The church will be required to send a formal written request to the Bishop to begin the 2553 disaffiliation process.
Conference leaders will meet with local church leaders to present the disaffiliation agreement authorized by the Conference Board of Trustees. The details of the steps to prepare for the official Church Conference will to be outlined so local church leaders can move the process forward. A 2/3 majority affirmative vote by the Church Conference is required for approval of the disaffiliation agreement. If approved, the final steps toward the Annual Conference will begin to be executed.
Every church currently engaged in conversation about disaffiliating from the UMC will have plenty of time to accomplish the requirements of the new process before the deadlines to get on the agenda of one of the two Special Sessions.
If a church opts to engage legal counsel, they may do so but need to understand the same financial terms will be shared with their attorney as it would if a church opts not to seek legal counsel. In the case of those that have disaffiliated or are in process, a settlement was reached in three to four months with those that negotiated for themselves while the length of time has now stretched beyond 15 months where an attorney is involved.
The process of developing the process is in accordance with Judicial Council Decision 1379, which indicates disaffiliation of local churches is not mentioned among the enumerated powers of the General Conference, “…the final decision concerning exiting local churches belongs to the annual conference as part of its reserved rights” (¶33 of Constitution). The Conference Board of Trustees is the governing board that oversees property issues of the annual conference.