Submitted Questions -- Page 2

If I choose as a Clergy person to join the Global Methodist Church and I am serving a UMC that chooses not to disaffiliate, will my appointment be immediately terminated?

Any United Methodist Clergy that joins the Global Methodist Church is essentially surrendering their credentials and will not be allowed to stay in their appointment.

What will happen if pastors in IGRC choose to join the GMC and there is an even greater lack of pastors to serve churches? Is it possible for GMC pastors to be appointed to serve UM Churches as pastors from another denomination?

There is no agreement between the GMC and the United Methodist church for sharing clergy. The General Conference has not recognized the formation of the GMC because the General Conference has been postponed.

Can we develop a clergy/laity guide "#understanding how to have the conversation" with three or four questions that congregations and pastors are invited to discuss, list available resources, and resource people?

Frequently asked questions will be placed on our Conference website and will be updated as needed. Websites and articles will also be posted and updated so that folks can have access to information from the Annual Conference, General Church and from Wespath.

What are the legal implications of disaffiliation? For Pastors, the members, and the property?

Any individual laity, or clergy, can leave the United Methodist church at any time they choose to do so.  A person can terminate their relationship with a local congregation and a pastor can surrender their credentials at any point they believe that they are no longer in harmony. Disaffiliation usually involves a disciplinary / legal process of negotiation regarding property and assets for the church body to be able to separate from the United Methodist Church. All United Methodist assets are “held in trust” and belong to the denomination.

I am sure this is a common question, but in the event of disaffiliation -- what happens to church property? We are trying to plan building projects accordingly. Thanks!

Disaffiliation will only occur when a local congregation requests to do so and enters the process outlined in our Book of Discipline.  I will not seek to lead the IGRC to disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church under my leadership.

The churches I serve are wanting more information on what their options are. They have traditional beliefs and want to remain that way, so where does that leave them?

There are many traditional congregations throughout the IGRC that desire to remain as United Methodist. There is no one pushing traditionalist away from the denomination that they love. The General Conference has not met and there are currently no decisions that are needed.  Any traditional believing congregation, or pastor, that chooses to leave at this point are leaving prematurely.

How would a local church disaffiliate?

The process of disaffiliation is a process, outlined in our Book of Discipline, where the whole church engages in the process and votes at an authorized Church Conference to sever ties with the United Methodist denomination. The Church Conference is led by a District Superintendent. The decision to disaffiliate is taken to the Annual Conference for final approval.

A church can disaffiliate by asking the District Superintendent, or the Annual Conference Disaffiliation Team to assist them in the process of disaffiliation. It is important that this first step is not ignored as it will save time and local church resources.

How are you going to create the structure so churches and pastors can explore this question without the polarization and pressure already seen on Facebook and elsewhere? Some of us would like more light and less heat but it is hard to have those discussions when judgment already seems to be passed if you raise the issue.

Facebook is not the forum that I would recommend for any serious discussion regarding the future and direction of The United Methodist church.  Churches and pastors can contact their District Superintendents directly to receive information regarding disaffiliation. The IGRC Disaffiliation Team is willing and available to discuss the steps involved. All of these conversations will be held with sensitivity, mutual respect and conducted with Christ-like behavior.

Can a congregation become a Union Church or a Federated Church - UMC and GMC just as there are Union Churches UMC and UCC for example?

At the current time that possibility does not exist. Only General Conference, upon request or by submitted legislation, can change the policies and practices of the denomination.

Can you have Mike Potts publish a list of unfunded pension liability for every church, or at least email it to every church so we can make informed decisions?

Pension liability is a fluid number and changes.  Mike Potts is in the process of providing up-to-date information that should be educational and helpful. This information will be posted on the Conference website.

Will Bishop Beard work to facilitate the provisions of Par. 2548.2 with the GMC?

The Book of Discipline paragraphs that will guide our disaffiliation progress are 2553 and 2548.2. The Council of Bishops have a task force that continues to work with the GMC representatives. There is no formal agreement because the General Conference has not been able to meet and ratify any such agreement.

What exactly is the IGRC pension liability by the different calculations available (market rate, etc.)? Is payment of property expected from an exiting church? Why or why not? Must exit costs be paid up front?

Information regarding pension liability is being gathered and will be posted on the Conference website.  There is a disaffiliation process and a team that can help answer all questions pertaining to disaffiliation costs. All churches seeking to exit will need to pay their fair share.

What is the timeframe for disaffiliation to take place? When will my local church vote to disaffiliate or not?

There is no timeframe for disaffiliation. There is no need for any church or pastor to decide to separate from the United Methodist Church because there are currently no separation plans that have been approved by General Conference.

Why is this issue persisting after the last GC vote? What is the position of the IGRC?

I am assuming you are talking about issues of human sexuality. LGBTQIA+ issues remain at the forefront in our society as well as front and center in the United Methodist church because some of our brothers and sisters see this as an issue of justice and fairness. Many believe that the UM church should lead the way in advocating for justice and should not contribute to the harmful practices against others.

As you can imagine, there are a variety of positions throughout the IGRC. As Bishop I have consistently stated that while we are not a “one size fits all Conference,” we will abide by our Book of Discipline. I believe that there is room at the table for all of us to gather as children of God.

What is the impact or picture you anticipate for the local church in the UMC and given the perspectives of other bishops, do you expect it will be harder to leave if they wait until after the 2019 provision expires or for 2024?

One of my concerns is that the current push toward disaffiliation is premature and unwarranted.  There is no reason for any congregation to make the decision to separate currently.  The General Conference will meet, and the delegates will craft a plan that will be shared with Annual Conferences and local congregations. There will be an opportunity for study, dialogue, debate, and to determine which course of action is best for congregation. Each church will be able to determine its own future but will only be asked to do so when there is a detailed plan that has been approved by the General Conference.

Please address how disaffiliation would affect pastoral pension and health insurance.

This question will be answered in greater detail by our financial team. My simple answer is that if we follow the recommendations of the IGRC Disaffiliation Team, there should be no disruption in either the pension or the health benefits.

We share a pastor and parsonage but have separate churches. How would this work for us if each congregation chose a different path? Thank you!

Churches choosing to disaffiliate are choosing to “no longer be United Methodist.” The church charge would cease and the church that remains as a UM congregation would maintain the pastor if he or she retained their status as a United Methodist clergy. If the church could not afford to move forward on their own, a new alignment would be formed with a nearby UM congregation.

CAN THERE BE A REGIONAL FORUM TO PRESENT THESE ISSUES WITH A SENSE OF BALANCE? When I posed the question at an earlier forum it was suggested that our GC delegates could be available upon request, but I do not believe that would provide a balanced discussion.

We can and will have a series of meetings across the IGRC. We will do this when there is something of substance to share and to discuss. We will arrange for presenters of varying positions to be part of a panel of folks sharing so that we can have balance. We will ask our elected delegates to be a part of this process.  We will add any voices that can contribute to the conversations where diversity is lacking.

We hear a lot about the legal ownership of UMC property in trust, that you can't "just take your church property and go," I believe we as a congregation can break the "trust" because of the decades-long malfeasance and misfeasance of certain of leaders and seminaries which lead us to this controversy. Please comment.

The “Trust Clause” in the Methodist Church has never been broken! The Trust Clause exists to protect property and assets so that local churches can continue in mission and ministry without fear that any one individual or small group can lay claim to the building or property and stop the UM church from being a local presence. The Trust Clause allows for the United Methodist Church to continue its outreach. Beware of lawyers claiming that they have broken the Trust Clause because those claims are simply not true.

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