What's going on with the United Methodist Church?
Recently there have been significant rumblings within our denomination regarding churches who are formally considering disaffiliation from the United Methodist Church because of matters regarding human sexuality.
If a church wishes to disaffiliate from the UMC they must formally enter into a time of "discernment" with a formal letter to the district superintendent. The church must vote 2 / 3 in favor to leave the denomination.
The UMC has been arguing over the belief around human sexuality for about 50 years. With changes in our culture, the issue has become more of a topic of conversation. Covid caused the postponement of the General Conference where proposals were set to come before the governing body to change our stance. With the delay and the concern for changing views in our society, conservative leaders in the UMC on May 1, 2022, formed a new denomination called the Global Methodist Church (GMC).
What about the UMC? Has anything changed?
The Book of Discipline, our governing policy has not changed regarding human sexuality. Changes regarding these views can only come from the General Conference. The General Conference is the decision-making body for the Denomination. The General conference has delegates from every Annual Conference across the globe.
This meeting is set for the summer of 2024.
The UMC is a Big TENT Church. We are made up of people who interpret scripture differently and enjoy different worship style, but we hold these common core beliefs:
The Apostles Creed. (Articles of Religion and Confession of Faith) are not in question.
Grace (prevenient, justifying, and sanctifying)… We have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. God extends love to us anyway.
A high view of scripture.
The Quadrilateral helps us interpret scripture: Tradition, reason, and experience.
We are Holy Spirit-led.
Personal Holiness and Social holiness go together. Acts of service go with Personal piety.
What about Colonial Hills UMC?
Are we considering disaffiliation?
At Colonial Hills there have been no conversations or recommendations toward disaffiliation. We are a loving mix of moderates, traditional AND progressive Christians. We are compatible with folks we don’t agree with, and we don’t want to lose our focus… we seek to keep Jesus the main thing we fix our eyes on.
My personal hope for the United Methodist Church as a denomination on the other side of this disaffiliation situation (schism? split?) is a renewed commitment to our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The local church (and extension ministries) is where this happens… My hope for our congregation is a renewed focus on being the light of Christ in our community - as we continue to welcome and care for all people.
My hope is that 'discernment' for Colonial Hills UMC is a process of learning and listening for the best ways we can be known by our love.
Discernment for us is not about who we choose to exclude, or even wondering about distancing ourselves from those who don't see things the same way we do.
As a church we affirm that all people are welcome at Colonial Hills United Methodist. May 'Discernment' for us be about prayerfully considering how we can work and serve alongside our neighbors to transform our community through Christ’s love.