Last month Bishop Carter said, “The United Methodist Church (UMC) is not splitting. There are no plans for it to be divided. No one has been asked to leave the UMC. All churches and clergy are invited to stay. My hope is everyone will stay. The UMC is a big tent that includes us all because we have a big Gospel.”
Unofficially, people are talking about forming new denominations. However, of the nearly 31,000 congregations that make up the UMC in the U.S., only about 100 churches have left the denomination. Why? Because the UMC is too conservative for some and too liberal for others. Three left the Florida Conference in June.
Several proposals have been put forward to try to satisfy the groups who want to leave the United Methodist Church. The proposal that is most popular is called the “Protocol” for short. It allows churches to leave the United Methodist Church and take their property (which belongs to the annual conferences of the UMC and not to the local churches). Under the Protocol no financial penalties would be assigned to the church. The Protocol also allocates millions of dollars for other denominations to use to organize.
The Protocol and the other proposed plans have yet to be voted on at the General Conference (which is the only group that can approve changes for the UMC). The General Conference was supposed to have taken place in May of 2020 but has been delayed twice because of Covid—until August of 2022. Nothing has been decided at this time.
Anticipating the passage of the Protocol, some conservatives have gotten together to lay the groundwork to form another denomination. They have chosen the name Global Methodist Church (GMC) for this new denomination. As far as I know, no churches or clergy belong to the GMC because it has yet to be officially launched as a denomination. First Church and the 650 churches that make up the Florida Conference are all still part of the United Methodist Church.
None of our leaders at First Church has talked about leaving the UMC in our meetings. The Church Council voted at our June 29 meeting not to make any decision regarding our relationship with the UMC unless at least 75% of the church agrees. As a congregation we do not want to make any decision without a significant majority of the congregation on board. There needs to be broad consensus.
Please pray for the UMC. Thank you.