The North Central Jurisdiction (NCJ) Hispanic Caucus within the United Methodist Church has formally endorsed the Traditional Plan, submitted to the February 2019 General Conference as one of the three main alternative “ways forward” for our denomination’s debates over sexual morality.
This resolution was introduced and supported by this caucus’s main leadership.
The three main proposals submitted to this upcoming specially called General Conference session as part of the report of the Commission on a Way Forward would take our denomination in three very different alternative directions on questions related to homosexuality:
- The misleadingly named “One Church Plan” (as well as the “Simple Plan” submitted separately) would liberalize church standards for marriage, ordination, and expectations of bishops to an even greater extent than the liberalizing policies that resulted in the splitting apart of the Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and Presbyterian Church (USA) denominations;
- The Connectional Conference Plan would offer a creative compromise, but seems to have gained little traction, thus far;
- The Traditional Plan would maintain our denomination’s current traditionalist, biblical standards of welcoming all people while disapproving of homosexual practice and other forms of extra-marital sex, ensure effective accountability for clergy who choose to defy the moral standards they have already vowed to uphold, and allow gracious exits for congregations and groups to leave our denomination and take their property with them if they feel that they cannot in good conscience remain United Methodist and honor our covenantal standards against same-sex union ceremonies.
It was the third of these plans that was endorsed at the NCJ Hispanic Caucus’s 34th Annual Gathering in late September. The theme of this year’s Gathering, held in Monroe, Wisconsin, was Transformed to Transform the World. It included dozens of lay and clergy delegates from Hispanic/Latino congregations from several states across the North Central Jurisdiction.
Among other things, this Annual Gathering included a factual presentation of the content of all three of the main plans listed above. Afterwards, the dozens of assembled Hispanic pastors and lay delegates voted nearly unanimously to endorse the Traditional Plan, reportedly with only a handful of dissenting votes.
The resolution also reported the fact that the NCJ Hispanic Caucus has, at previous Annual Gatherings, endorsed a traditionalist theologically and moral position on matters of human sexuality.
Individuals involved in the NCJ Hispanic Caucus have said that they find that the people in our denomination’s Hispanic/Latino congregations generally tend to be more traditionalist in their theology, and that if something like the One Church Plan were to be adopted by the 2019 General Conference, then a number of such ethnic congregations, in the Western Jurisdiction and elsewhere, would leave the United Methodist Church.
It has seemed that a lot more attention has been given to an assembly of our denomination’s national Hispanic caucus, MARCHA (Methodists Associated Representing the Cause of Hispanic/Latino Americans) voting in early August, with a much more notable degree of dissent, to endorse the One Church Plan. But other Hispanic United Methodists have countered that this stance is not representative of the majority of Hispanic United Methodists, and noted that this vote reflects some self-selection, as MARCHA’s theologically liberal direction has discouraged more theologically traditionalist Hispanic United Methodists from being involved. Furthermore, the resolution to endorse the liberal plan was curiously scheduled for the last day of MARCHA’s four-day assembly, which was a Sunday, by which point a number of participants had already gone back home.
Rev. Rosita Mayorga, Chair of the NCJ Hispanic Caucus, was quoted by the United Methodist News Service as saying that MARCHA’s pro-liberalizing resolution “will have a negative impact on our congregations, since most are charismatic.” She made this statement after MARCHA passed its resolution, but before the NCJ Hispanic Caucus passed its own resolution.
MARCHA was invited to offer comments for this article, but no response was received after several days.
The North Central Jurisdiction is one of the five jurisdictions into which United Methodism is geographically divided in the United States. But the NCJ Hispanic Caucus is the oldest and most well-established jurisdictional Hispanic caucus in our denomination. It has been having annual assemblies for over three decades.
The full text of the NCJ Hispanic Caucus’s resolution is as follows:
Resolution Regarding the Position of the Hispanic/Latino Caucus of the North Central Jurisdiction
34th Annual Meeting of the Caucus
Regarding the Three Plans On Human Sexuality To Be Presented At
The Special Session of the General Conference
The United Methodist Church
February 23-26, 2019
Whereas, the Hispanic Caucus of the North Central Jurisdiction in its several past Annual Meetings has affirmed its conservative position in regard to human sexuality;
Whereas, the Hispanic Caucus of the North Central Jurisdiction affirms the present position of the United Methodist Church regarding human sexuality;
Whereas, a commission “Way Forward” was named by the Council of Bishops at the request of the 2016 General Conference to study and put together a plan to guide the United Methodist Church in the future as a denomination in regard to human sexuality;
Whereas, the Commission has finished their work and presented three plans to be considered, and the Council of Bishops has presented the three plans to the delegates to the Special Session to be studied and considered to adopt one of them on February 23-26, 2019;
The One Church Plan
The Traditional Plan
The Connectional/Conference Plan
Therefore, the Hispanic Caucus of the North Central Jurisdiction in its 34th Annual Meeting held in Monroe, WI on September 21-22, affirms its support of the Traditional Plan in order to maintain the present position on human sexuality of the United Methodist Church as contained and expressed in the Book of Discipline.
Presented by the Executive Committee of the NCJ Hispanic Caucus on Friday, September 20, 2019 in the Annual Meeting and adopted by those present.