A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby Tim Bonney » Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:31 pm

Sandy wrote:I wonder what kind of grasp Methodist leadership in the US has on how their parishioners in the pews feel about the issue. Timothy pointed out that 67% of the American clergy were in favor of the plan which would have allowed LGBTQ ordination and sanctioning of same-gender marriages, but the bottom line for the church's future rests with what will happen among the membership if the clergy takes steps to separate from the denomination and affirm the pro-LGBTQ position.


The 67% was delegates to the General Conference. That is 50% clergy and 50% laity.

My Administrative Council adopted the following statement 21 to 1.

In response to the decisions of the 2019 General Conference of the UMC the Administrative Council of Indianola First UMC adopted the following statement -

"First UMC Indianola Iowa is an inclusive church for ALL people in our community, liberals, conservatives, LGBTQ+, straight, young, persons of every race and ethnicity, old, rich, poor, whomever.

First UMC loves and cares for EVERYONE regardless of what the UMC does or does not decide….now and in the future."


In my congregation the clear majority is unhappy with the UMC decision.
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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby Haruo » Mon Mar 11, 2019 1:37 am

21 to 1

I'm interested in knowing the thinking of the one nay voter. Anti-inclusiveness? Pro-UMC-obedience? Opposed to the Bolshevistic appearance of unanimous tallies? ¿?
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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby Dave Roberts » Mon Mar 11, 2019 6:25 am

I've been listening to some of my UMC friends and their responses to the recent General Assembly. There are two UMC churches in our small city. Interestingly, one is much more conservative than the other. The people of the first group seem quite happy while the second church which has a small LGBTQ group that is active in the church seems less happy. My suspicion is that the second group might be open to leaving the UMC, but I am not certain.
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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby Sandy » Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:29 am

Most of the contact I've had with members and pastors in the UMC occurred when we lived in Pennsylvania. We had a couple dozen students from three or four UMC congregations in the school and I'd say all of them were as conservative as the school's Christian and Missionary Alliance sponsors. When we first moved there, we were invited by one of the parents of a student in my wife's classroom to a very contemporary church called "CrossFire." It met in a metal building converted from a previous use, about 700 in attendance at the service we attended, they had two, both the same. Pastor preached in jeans and an untucked shirt. I would never have picked up on the fact that it was a United Methodist Church except that I recognized the logo on the wall by the entrance to the auditorium. Knowing the families in my former school from there, I would guess it was pleased with the General Conference decision. The preaching would have been well received in most of the Southern Baptist churches where I've been a member. One of the other UMC churches from which we had several families and students called itself "Country Chapel Church" and I was halfway through my tenure there before one of the parents told me it was a United Methodist congregation. I knew the pastor, and I would guess he's happy with the GC as well as their church.

Around here, the only "Methodists" in our school, about two dozen, are A.M.E. and I don't know if they're connected to the UMC general conference or not.
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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby KeithE » Tue Mar 12, 2019 7:48 am

Sandy wrote:Most of the contact I've had with members and pastors in the UMC occurred when we lived in Pennsylvania. We had a couple dozen students from three or four UMC congregations in the school and I'd say all of them were as conservative as the school's Christian and Missionary Alliance sponsors. When we first moved there, we were invited by one of the parents of a student in my wife's classroom to a very contemporary church called "CrossFire." It met in a metal building converted from a previous use, about 700 in attendance at the service we attended, they had two, both the same. Pastor preached in jeans and an untucked shirt. I would never have picked up on the fact that it was a United Methodist Church except that I recognized the logo on the wall by the entrance to the auditorium. Knowing the families in my former school from there, I would guess it was pleased with the General Conference decision. The preaching would have been well received in most of the Southern Baptist churches where I've been a member. One of the other UMC churches from which we had several families and students called itself "Country Chapel Church" and I was halfway through my tenure there before one of the parents told me it was a United Methodist congregation. I knew the pastor, and I would guess he's happy with the GC as well as their church.

Around here, the only "Methodists" in our school, about two dozen, are A.M.E. and I don't know if they're connected to the UMC general conference or not.

My son said that a couple of LBGT friendly UMC churches in the North Alabama Conference are considering joining up with the A. M. E.

His church is not uniformly friendly with LBGTs - about 50%/50% according to a questionnaire he (Todd) gave out at the Church Meeting about “the isssue” last Sunday night. He has not decided if he will stay in the UMC or not - being pushed more to stay because his wife’s desire to stay on and try for ordination next year. He has experienced some dis-satisfaction from his congregation for the first time but seems to be handling it very well.

Presumably his wife's (Christy) non-confirmation was not due to her LBGT friendly stance on “the issue” but due to “not being Methodist enough in theology”. She has not got her letter yet that might be more specific. Her District Superintendent is saying she is the best small city church minister he has.

They say they are waiting for the “dust settle”, but Christy is more likely to stay.
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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby KeithE » Tue Mar 12, 2019 7:49 am

Haruo wrote:21 to 1


Huh?
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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby Haruo » Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:23 pm

KeithE wrote:
Haruo wrote:21 to 1


Huh?

A reference to the immediately preceding comment by Timothy, so I didn't bother with the quote apparatus.
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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby Tim Bonney » Tue Mar 12, 2019 5:33 pm

Haruo wrote:21 to 1

I'm interested in knowing the thinking of the one nay voter. Anti-inclusiveness? Pro-UMC-obedience? Opposed to the Bolshevistic appearance of unanimous tallies? ¿?


The individual did not share their reasoning. I’d be curious to know too if I can get an opportunity to discuss it with them.

Our congregation isn’t 100% in favor of the statement, but is in great majority from what I can tell.
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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby Tim Bonney » Tue Mar 12, 2019 5:35 pm

KeithE wrote:They say they are waiting for the “dust settle”, but Christy is more likely to stay.


It may take some time for the dust to settle, maybe a couple of years or more.
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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby KeithE » Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:14 pm

Tim Bonney wrote:
KeithE wrote:They say they are waiting for the “dust settle”, but Christy is more likely to stay.


It may take some time for the dust to settle, maybe a couple of years or more.

Yes but it may not take that long for the UMC “winners” to demand signatures to agree with the new ruling.

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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby Tim Bonney » Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:21 pm

KeithE wrote:Yes but it may not take that long for the UMC “winners” to demand signatures to agree with the new ruling.

From a Memphis park


The signature thing was already ruled unconstitutional once. I expect it to be so ruled by the Judicial Council again in April. My suspicion is only a small portion of what was passed will pass constitutional muster and we will be left largely where we were with a few more punitive punishments for dissenter.

There is a lot going on at this point that would cause me to encourage centrists and progressives not to leave just yet.
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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby Sandy » Wed Mar 13, 2019 3:47 pm

It sounds like this comes down to "don't force my church to do something it doesn't want to do," whether that's to be "welcoming and affirming" or to hold to a traditional view. What it sounds like to me is that there are some district superintendents in the UMC who are sensitive to the perspectives of the congregations in their district and are able to find pastoral leadership that fits well with each local church. That might avoid a lot of the problem.

The biggest problem with the whole issue is that even in "liberal" or "progressive" denominations and churches, it is difficult to push against a position that has traditionally and historically been held by the church. The progressive or liberal view must step away from widely accepted views of Biblical authority and interpretation to arrive at their conclusions. Even though there are many churches and denominations that don't subscribe to inerrancy, there are far fewer who will go so far as to say that the writings of the Old Testament, or those of Paul carry less inspiration, weight and authority than the rest of the Bible. I don't believe even the most liberal Methodist church in the world would accept a pastor who continued to be involved in an adulterous affair without repenting and stopping it. And as far as Jesus goes, well, his view of sexuality considers any physical relationship outside of marriage as sinful. The Methodist church's statement of faith doesn't include inerrancy, but it does include statements about the authority of scripture that are counter to the interpretation Adam Hamilton, in one of Keith's posts, used to make his point. I can observe that, even among many of the UMC's clergy in the United States, there are wide gaps in the views on this subject and how the church should handle it.
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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby Tim Bonney » Wed Mar 13, 2019 4:24 pm

Sandy, I don’t have the energy to argue about UMC theology right now. (No negative comment about you intended.) But I believe there are some very solid Biblical arguments with an authoritative understanding of scripture for accepting LGBTQ+ people fully into the Church.

Some day, when I’m less worn with denominational stuff myself, I’d be happy to discuss that more. But suffice it to say, Progressives believe we haven’t had to move any further away from Biblical authority than we had to move to be against slavery or for women in ministry, both of which are hard to argue about from a Pauline perspective since Paul supported women being silent (in some places) and told slaves to obey their masters. We take the Bible seriously, not literally.

Unfortunately part of United Methodism have been infected by a right wing evangelicalism that is not at all a part of our heritage.
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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby Sandy » Thu Mar 14, 2019 2:49 pm

Tim Bonney wrote:Sandy, I don’t have the energy to argue about UMC theology right now. (No negative comment about you intended.) But I believe there are some very solid Biblical arguments with an authoritative understanding of scripture for accepting LGBTQ+ people fully into the Church.

Some day, when I’m less worn with denominational stuff myself, I’d be happy to discuss that more. But suffice it to say, Progressives believe we haven’t had to move any further away from Biblical authority than we had to move to be against slavery or for women in ministry, both of which are hard to argue about from a Pauline perspective since Paul supported women being silent (in some places) and told slaves to obey their masters. We take the Bible seriously, not literally.

Unfortunately part of United Methodism have been infected by a right wing evangelicalism that is not at all a part of our heritage.


It would be a miracle if, in a denominational body, everyone held the same point of view.
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