SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church reached a financial and property settlement with the former Xenia United Methodist Church. The Xenia UMC was originally organized in 1832. The former United Methodist members have organized a new congregation known as Xenia Christ United Church, Inc.
Under the terms of the settlement, the Illinois Great Rivers Conference will relinquish its interest in the real estate located at 102 W. 3rd Street, Xenia, to the Xenia Christ United Church, Inc.
Xenia is approximately 30 miles northeast of Mt. Vernon in the Kaskaskia River District. The Conference received an undisclosed payment that included the church’s share of pension obligations for former United Methodist clergy who had previously served the church, as well as current apportionment obligations.
Bishop Frank Beard said, “In an effort to honor Christ, we were able to sit down, discuss our differences, and recognize that we were on two different paths. To conclude in the best interest of all, a peaceful separation was warranted.” Bishop Beard serves as the episcopal leader of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference of The United Methodist Church. “We were able to demonstrate effective Christian conferencing. I believe we, even in separating, have honored Jesus Christ.”
The Conference and the church chose to avoid the costs, expenses, and uncertainties of litigation by entering into a settlement agreement that became official on July 18. The Xenia Christ United Church will remove all references to the United Methodist Church from its property, including the “Cross and Flame” logo. The Conference will release the assets from The United Methodist Church Trust Clause.