2019 UMC General Conference

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United Methodist 2019 General Conference

February 27, 2019

So What Did the 2019 General Conference Do?

The United Methodist Church has just concluded its historic, specially called 2019 session of General Conference. The General Conference is our denomination’s highest governing body.

This February 23-26 special session in St. Louis, Missouri, was called for the special purpose of seeking “a way forward” for internal United Methodist conflicts related to sexual morality. Our denomination has long taught both that we love and welcome all people, including members of the LBGTQ community, and that God’s good design is that sexual relations are only for monogamous, heterosexual marriage. However, in recent years there have been growing tensions, with some clergy and bishops openly breaking the rules banning “self-avowed practicing homosexual” ministers and forbidding our congregations from hosting or our pastors from performing same-sex unions.

Competing proposals to this General Conference would have taken our denomination in very different directions.

Those favoring the Traditional Plan (which would maintain our current position and increase accountability for clergy leaders) found ourselves facing one unusual barrier after another. For many months ahead of time, and through much of the final day, it looked like a real possibility that after all this time, effort, and money, we could actually have the result I had called “Option Zero,” of not passing anything. At one point this afternoon, a leader of a liberal caucus who is also a delegate gave a fiery speech denouncing the “hateful” Traditional Plan and openly admitting that he and other liberal delegates were pursuing any-means-necessary tactics to run out the clock for the sake of making the General Conference unable to pass proposals with which they disagreed. So much for the Golden Rule.

The conference showcased the very deep divides in our denomination. It was particularly odd to see liberal leaders call evangelical United Methodists hateful, “a bunch of evil folks,” and all kinds of names, and then at the same time see these same liberal leaders promote their primary liberal plan as reflecting their desire for “we’re better together” unity with us. There was plenty of loud, angry protesting. So much hurt all around. It was a rather stressful day.

I will likely have more to say about such things in the near future.

In the meantime, I know United Methodists back home are wondering what was actually decided and done by this General Conference.

It is no small thing that a majority of delegates defeated the “One Church Plan” to liberalize church teaching and standards, by a final vote of 449 to 374 (54.6 to 45.4 percent). This was a dramatic rebuke of the way in which the Council of Bishops has tried to lead our denomination for the last several years. If this plan could not get passed at this General Conference, with all of the focused money, energy, institutional support, and marketing thrown behind it, it is hard to see how a plan like this could ever pass at future General Conferences, which beginning next year will have fewer American delegates and more from the Global South.

Then we adopted a partial version of the Traditional Plan, by a final vote of 438 to 384 (53.3 to 46.7 percent).

Now here is where it gets a bit confusing. The Judicial Council had previously declared that some parts of the Traditional Plan impermissibly conflicted with our denomination’s Constitution, while others were fine and constitutional. Several of us orthodox delegates had a series of amendments we were trying to offer to the Traditional Plan that would address the Judicial Council’s concerns. But the cynical “hours of delaying tactics” (in the words of the United Methodist News Service) by an organized bloc of liberal delegates, along with the already rather cramped schedule and some unhelpful moves from bishops (again, more on all of that later), severely limited the time available for serious work of perfecting the Traditional Plan. So we ended up passing an omnibus package of a mix of some provisions that have already been declared unconstitutional (and so we cannot expect them to take effect) and others that HAVE been declared constitutional (and so which do become our church law now). Unless otherwise specified, anything adopted at General Conference becomes church law in our denomination of January 1 of the following year.

Here is what WAS passed in the Traditional Plan that the Judicial Council has already upheld as constitutional, and so which will be our new church law before too long:

First, we enacted a Traditional Plan petition (#90032) that clarifies the definition of what we mean when we say we forbid “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” to be ministers, candidates, or appointed pastors in our denomination. It was widely understood what the church meant by this. However, for many years, liberal bishops and others had treated this as a loophole, and claimed that unless even openly partnered gay ministers said the precise words “I am a practicing homosexual” or answered uncomfortable direct questions about their regular “genital contact” with someone of the same sex, then there was “no evidence” that they had actually violated our moral standards. Through such word games, some clergy in some liberal areas have been allowed to remain in good standing while knowingly violating our moral standards. This petition closes this loophole, by saying that from now on, anyone who “is living in a same-sex marriage, domestic partnership or civil union,” or “who publicly states that she or he is a practicing homosexual” automatically meets the definition of who is in violation of our ministry standards, with no required further questions about “genital contact” or awkward reliance on whether or not someone says the magic words. This will make enforcement of this longtime standard much simpler and easier to prove than it has ever been.

Secondly, we enacted another Traditional Plan petition (#90044) that limits the ability of bishops to dismiss complaints against clergy accused of wrongdoing. Our process for disciplining wayward clergy begins when someone files a complaint with his or her bishop. However, in recent years, we have seen liberal bishops simply dismiss complaints against clergy who violated sexual-morality standards with which the bishop did not agree. Such abuses of their ability to dismiss complaints had the potential to let each bishop unilaterally both nullify any part of our standards for clergy with which they disagree and also perhaps protect personal friends from facing accountability. But now this petition forbids bishops from dismissing complaints unless the complaints have “no basis in law or fact.” This petition also requires that any time bishops dismiss a complaint, they must share a written explanation with the person who filed the complaint, something which bishops had not always readily done. And all of this also applies to complaints against bishops.

Thirdly, we enacted another Traditional Plan petition (#90046) that reforms the “just resolution” process (the UMC equivalent of out-of-court settlements) that had been subject to such abuse by liberal bishops in recent years. This petition prevents how some liberal bishops had arranged “just resolutions” for violations of our sexuality standards that completely cut out the person who filed the complaint (the complainant) from the process. This new church law makes the complaint filer a party to the process, and requires that “every effort shall be made to have the complainant(s) agree to the resolution before it may take effect.”

Fourthly, we enacted half of another Traditional Plan petition (#90045) on “just resolutions.” This one requires that all just resolutions must “state all identified harms and how they shall be addressed.” This is an improvement over how previous “just resolutions” with clergy who violated our sexuality standards have avoided any pretense of addressing the concerns of the complainants.

Fifthly, we finally adopted another, particularly significant Traditional Plan petition (#90042), that has been filibustered for seven years since the 2012 General Conference, which requires mandatory penalties for clergy found in a church trial to have violated our covenant against performing pastorally harmful same-sex union ceremonies. Specifically, it requires that for a first offense, ministers must face a minimum penalty of a one-year suspension, while for any subsequent offence, they must be permanently removed from ministry. The idea behind this is not to inflict pain, but rather to prevent people from abusing the status of a United Methodist minister, and to ensure that there is a serious deterrent against our clergy harming people by violating this standard. Previously, disobedience to our standards has doubtless been encouraged and increased by the confidence liberal clergy in some regions have had that they would not face serious consequences.

Sixthly, we adopted another Traditional Plan petition (#90047) that establishes a church right of appeal. This is a key accountability measure evangelical reformers have been seeking for many years. Basically, if you had a case of “jury nullification,” in which a church trial refused to enforce certain church laws with which they disagreed, even when the facts of this church law being violated were clear, previously there was nothing that could be done. But now, for such extreme cases, there is be a right for those seeking accountability to appeal if there were clearly “egregious errors of church law.”

Seventhly, we enacted another Traditional Plan petition (#90043) that explicitly requires district committees on ministry and boards of ordained ministry to conduct a “full examination and thorough inquiry” into every ministry candidate’s compliance with our standards, forbids them from recommending any candidate who does not meet our standards, and requires bishops to prevent candidates who obviously violate our standards from being approved in clergy session.

Eighthly, we enacted another Traditional Plan petition (#90036) that establishes a duty of bishops to refuse to ordain or commission clergy candidates if these candidates are openly gay or if the board of ordained ministry (the group who reviews ordination candidates in each annual conference) has not provided certification that it has conducted the required full examination of whether or not this candidate meets our standards. This petition also prohibits openly gay candidates from being consecrated to become bishops, even if these candidates are elected by vote of their jurisdiction. There was an unfortunate unintentional error in the version of the Traditional Plan that was submitted, of omitting the key word, “practicing.” One of the amendments I and other traditionalist delegates wanted to make to the Traditional Plan would have fixed this to be clear that the barrier was only against openly “practicing homosexuals,” and not against persons who may be same-sex-attracted but who are committed to traditional Christian doctrine and a celibate lifestyle. And this amendment would have been made, were it not for the filibustering led by “Mainstream UMC” leader Mark Holland and others. This should be fixed at the 2020 General Conference.

All of the above petitions have been now enacted by this General Conference and have already been declared constitutional by the Judicial Council.

Additionally, we enacted a ninth Traditional Plan petition (#90037) which directly addresses the problem of how some boards of ordained ministry in some annual conferences have refused to screen candidates for their compliance with our expectation that United Methodist clergy abstain from homosexual practice. This new church law requires that before individuals can be appointed to the annual conference board of ordained ministry, they must be willing to uphold the entirety of our ordination standards. It also requires bishops to certify that they have only nominated people to this board who will uphold all of our ordination standards. An earlier version of this petition was ruled unconstitutional by the Judicial Council because of how it only focused on our ordination standards related to homosexuality. However, this petition was amended from the floor to broadly include such concern for all of our ordination standards (including but not limited to those on sexuality). While this amended petition is now being challenged before the Judicial Council, the updated version certainly seems to satisfy the Judicial Council’s expressed concerns.

There were also a few other noteworthy actions.

By a majority vote, we enacted a petition that establishes a process for how congregations can gracefully leave our denomination with their property, if they desire to leave “for reasons of conscience regarding a change in the requirements and provisions of the Book of Discipline related to the practice of homosexuality or the ordination or marriage of self-avowed practicing homosexuals as resolved and adopted by the 2019 General Conference, or the actions or inactions of its annual conference related to these issues which follow.” This was no small feat, given the fierce opposition of bishops and liberal caucuses as well as the factual inaccuracies in the floor debate.

This petition is currently a bit of a confusing legal situation. The petition’s language explicitly states (but not in what it adds to the Discipline) that it is to be “effective as of the close of the 2019 General Conference.” But the Judicial Council had hastily issued an advisory review of an earlier version of this petition, and six of the Council members bizarrely claimed that it was unconstitutional unless it required the permission of a two-thirds vote of the annual conference to let any congregation leave. Three other Council members sharply disagreed in a brief, must-read Dissenting Opinion (which can be read by scrolling to the bottom of this page). Before this petition was adopted, there was only time to make one of the two amendments needed to satisfy all Judicial Council concerns. As a delegate, I was in the pool to make the second amendment, but I was never recognized by the presiding bishop (who, to be fair, was dealing with a lot of stressful filibustering from many other delegates) before this was adopted. In any case, this puts our denomination’s highest governing body on record as supporting some sort of gracious exit for congregations to leave our denomination with their property if they find that they cannot live with United Methodism’s current approach to sexuality matters, in hopes of avoiding the ugly property lawsuits seen when congregations have departed from other mainline denominations over similar conflicts.

We also adopted another pair of petitions that help ensure the financial viability of pensions for retired clergy, including by requiring relevant fair-share payments from any congregations who may leave the UMC.


148 Responses to So What Did the 2019 General Conference Do?

  1. Abel Adamson says:

    Nearly the entire U.S. Council of Bishops conspired to ram the “One Church Plan” down the collective throats of all of United Methodism. They engaged in deceit to do so and the outcome was an overwhelming repudiation of all they had sought to accomplish. In the United Kingdom, when the Prime Minister advocates for changes which are rejected by Parliament, a vote of no confidence is taken in order that a new Prime Minister may be seated. I believe that every member of the U.S. Council of Bishops who advocated for overthrow of traditional Christian values as spelled out in our Book of Discipline, should be subject to a vote of no confidence and removed from their episcopal duties immediately.

    • Robert Mann says:

      Add pastors like Adam Hamilton who have knowlingly allowed violating pastors to be on his staff.

      • EDM says:

        Some of the suggestions posted sound like they are straight out of the Spanish Inquisition. Where’s the love?

        • Geary Rowell says:

          Given the actions of the minority your comment is laughable! Where was the “love” on the final day?

          • Shirley Morris says:

            They were trying to unite but actually made fun of and slapped in the face by the traditionalist! Enough said!!’

          • Roy says:

            Remember Jesus in the temple? You know, when Injustice perverted the house of God.

          • Hediru says:

            But EDM has made a good point. This is not the Spanish Inquisition. Ever hear of this thing called grace? Give the bishops and prominent leaders the chance to accept these changes and support them – or choose not to. If they choose not to, then they can leave. Let them repent. All this time, we conservatives have been taking the high road. We have been accused of being unloving, bigoted, and hateful. Yet, all the hate has been spewing from the left. We have shown love to those who disagree by holding our tongues. Let us continue to show love by offering grace.

        • Joe says:

          You can love someone while recognizing and rejecting their errors. Not everyone is qualified to be a pastor or bishop. To relieve an unqualified person of a job could possibly be the most loving thing to be done. It could be argued that allowing the disobedient or unqualified to be a pastor or a bishop was not a loving act but a very unloving act. Where was love for the scripture’s teaching and for the entire church when these unqualified ones were made pastors and bishops?
          One of the great weaknesses today is a failure to recognize that certified doesn’t always equate to qualified. If the UMC has swung too far in a direction that was wrong, tough love would be to take the action to return to that which is right.

        • With held says:

          Wheres your self control? Its not about love vs hate. Obviously there are liberal groups who want God&man to accept their selfish desires, lust&covetousness who hate all references to it in Gods infallible Word. God loves alcoholics, but He will not tolerate their behavior&choices. God wants child molesters to repent and be saved. Are we supposed to overlook the desires a child molester has to harm children in the name of love? What about rapists&sex traffickers? If you toss out one reference to sexual sin, you’ll cave on all references to it. I wont worship in a church that wont stand against sexual sin in their sanctuaries. It was the sin of the ancient churches&it led to destruction.

    • Clay Pace says:

      I totally agree! Time to drain the swamp.

    • jz wonton says:

      Put this in for next Gen Conf for inclusion into Book of Discipline!

    • Charles Wittenbrook says:

      I agree

    • Gwen Mendenhall says:

      Agreed!

    • Melissa says:

      I am disappointed and disgusted that First UMC Richardson is hosting Adam Hamilton on March 27th. More in the continuing downward spiral of liberal theology.

    • Teresa says:

      I applaud you for standing firm on the word of God. A denomination that goes against Gods teaching on sexuality will be the denomination that covers up child molesting, rape, sex trafficking&porn. These groups that pushed this agenda on the churches want to hear the love God, love neighbor sermons, but they don’t want to hear the sermons on sin&self control. Self control was the last fruit of the Spirit to be mentioned, the same way thou shalt not covet was the last comnandnent. God saved the best for last. Self control is tne glue that holds all the othe fruits in place. Just like all the other sins we commit are related to covetousness. Will the UMC conference vote to remove all references to self control? If so, its an out of control church&I wont worship in a church that cant guarantee me i’m safe from sex offenders in its sanctuaries. I dont have to put up with this in the Wesleyan Church. The Wesleyans have remained steadfast.

    • Barbara Paye says:

      So much for “open doors, open minds snd open hearts.” Conservative Methodists have denied methodism from using that foundation. Jesus never condemned homosexuality, but he did condemn divorce. How many of you self-acclaimed saviors of the Methodist church are divorced? Could it be that you “talk the talk” while failing to walk the walk”

  2. John Smith says:

    That the Bishops’ plan (misnamed the One Church Plan) was defeated is good. I withhold my opinion on what was passed until I see if it will be enforced. If enforced there is some hope but will the enforcement be continued during the inevitable splits, departures and decline in membership? If the UMC can stay true great. If not, expect the cycle to repeat itself.

  3. David McKay says:

    It was quite disheartening to watch the deliberations via live stream and note the deep, enduring, and irreconcilable differences between the delegates. The pain and anger in the voices of progressive delegates was quite real and bodes poorly for the future of this reform. It reminded me of the Pyrrhic victories slaveholders won with the Dred Scott Decision or the political price Truman paid when he tried to break the steel union strikes. I expect that our “brothers” on the left will see this step as illegitimate and the actions of evil Evangelicals and foolish, unenlightened Africans. I expect that they will NOT avail themselves of any gracious exit and will instead flout the new rules even more aggressively than the past rules and will strive to so insult and dishearten our brothers and sisters in Africa as to drive them to leave the denomination. They will embrace colonialist tactics in order to create anger abroad to engender an active desire for formal independence.

    They know that a substantial majority of American Methodist delegates voted with them. We lost this vote before it was ever taken.

    • Dale Sigler says:

      Western jurisdiction, at the very end, had leaders that stood up and basically said they would not comply. I am one of the older orthodox and I will wait to see what WCA comes up with, but my wife and I are ready to leave. As soon as I can find an orthodox Wesleyan congregation in our area that isn’t UMC we will probably be leaving.

      • With held says:

        I have been attending a Wesleyan Church&a local UMC. I started attending bible studies at the Wesleyan Churche when I realized that an unrepenting child molester could walk in off the streets and be baptized in a methodist church with no questions asked. The same child molester would be welcome to take Holy Communion. I dont think communion is Holy any more&I wont be participating in it, nor will I be a part of any more phony umc baptisms

    • Lee D. Cary says:

      “…foolish, unenlightened Africans”

      Well, that pretty much deletes any objective value to your comments. Sounds kinda racist, too. (Where’s the love, David?)

    • Nancy Brantingham says:

      Are you comparing those United Methodists who follow Bibliical teaching to slaveholders? This is insulting to all those whose ancestors fought a war to end slavery, as well as people like me whose ancestors were active in the Underground Railroad. When you make these allegations, you lose all credibility.

  4. Rod Groom says:

    John, thank you for all your hard work, clear thinking and cogent writing.

    Blessings!

  5. Bill T says:

    How did you get around the stonewalling and bring the Traditional Plan to a vote? However it was done it has to be brilliant.

    Well done.

  6. Mark Shearer says:

    First. I have always been a member of the UMC and remember very clearly the 2000 GC dust-up over these same issues. I *believe* that the GC Body held firm on the BoD language on sexuality and gay clergy etc. but from what I can glean from this weekend’s GC, those earlier meetings lacked any teeth to actually enforce the BoD and lead to Bishops and Pastors ignoring or selectively enforcing the sexuality principles… so in GC2019, we not only re-affirmed the Biblical stance on marriage and practicing clergy but we added the needed enforcement tools to better ensure the BoD is being adhered to.

    Sorry for me trying to really generalize all that went down… here are my questions:

    So, the bottom line is all the major declarations and re-affirmations of the Traditional Plan was held Constitutional by the Judicial Review folks… and it’s ‘just’ some of the disaffiliation petitions that will need to be ‘fixed’ at the 2020 GC?

    And the TP and petitions that you outline above that are Constitutional aren’t or can’t be ‘magically’ overturned by the Judicial Review folks in April, right? Either way, re-affirming the Traditional Plan and its stance on marriage and sexuality are done, right? Like we don’t anticipate some sort of ‘coup’ by the Judicial Review folks, do we?

    Thanks so much for your fine reporting on this conference. I recently found the IRD and JuicyEcumenism.com since really digging in to this Conference. The Live feed was great, the legislative tracker on UMC.org was great, generally I think UMnews.org was ‘fair’ in their coverage with just a few tinges of left-of-center bias and as you said above, it seemed to me that all the presiding Bishops did a fine job of respectfully running the conference at all points. I certainly am happy with the GC outcome, and happy that we re-affirmed the Biblical Authority that is and has been rock-solid for millennia and because of the access of the LiveFeed and sites like this one, I truly feel more connected to the UMC than I have ever felt. Like real ownership and belonging.
    Thanks for your hard work and I have now added this site to my list of ‘daily checks’ (along with the Drudge Report and others) for news and writings on the UMC and theology in general. Keep up the great work!

  7. Kevin says:

    Looks more like a symbolic vote than an actual policy change. It will be contested and no telling what the Judicial Council will do. Any attempts to fix it at GC 2020 will be stymied by an endless series of amendments. Now that the delegates know how to use Roberts Rules as a weapon our entire process of governance can be brought to a standstill. And that lesbian bishop is not going anywhere anytime soon. There will continue to be same sex marriages. Gay clergy will continue to be ordained. So what have we accomplished?

    • John Lomperis says:

      Respectfully, what you are saying is simply not accurate. Please re-read the article. All of the 8-9 parts of the Traditional Plan listed above are now new things enacted in church law, and have already been declared constitutional, twice, by the Judicial Council.

      • Lisa Vandenberge says:

        I wonder about enforcement as well. I understand that the law now has “teeth” and has been deemed constitutional, but how will the UMC actually go about defrocking/firing Bishop Oliveto (and other clergy)? The Western Jurisdiction (and Adam Hamilton) have already made public statement indicating that they intend to continue being inclusive and have no intention of leaving the UMC. Thank you for your helpful articles.

      • Lisa Vandenberge says:

        I wonder about enforcement too. For example, how will the UMC actually defrock/fire Bishop Oliveto now? How can we expect this to play out? The Western Jurisdiction and Adam Hamilton have both issued public statements that I interpreted as an intention to remain fully affirming of LGBT+ people and having no intention to leave the UMC.

      • Kevin says:

        We will see what happens when the JC gets its turn. And even if upheld how do you compel the bishops and BoM’s to comply? We may have just passed another set of standards and rules to ignore.

  8. As a former United Methodist, I am so thankful for the strong men and women who defeated the sinful and apostate attempts by liberal factions to reject Biblical Truth in favor of the passing fancy of social mores. Congratulations on a battle won. Keep guarding the faith. – David L. Winters, Author of Taking God to Work: The Keys to Ultimate Success

  9. td says:

    Thanks for your work on this.

    Our local concern is that our Annual Conference (Great Plains) will now decide to take the whole annual conference out of the UMC- leaving our local church with little chance to remain with the UMC. Can anyone address this issue?

    • Mary Rivera says:

      TD that is confusing to me too. I’m in Florida, and our bishop, Bishop Ken Carter, is likely leading the group of conferences that will exit. What is the benefit of that? Just satisfying his personal arrogance? Praying for our church!

      • td says:

        Mary, I assume that, from their perspective, they can alleviate the injustice and harm that they see in the church’s rules and teachings by leading their annual conference out of the UMC. If they accomplish the task of removing the whole annual conference, then they would have the added benefit of already having a “ready to go” church structure, clergy, and personnel to use.

        I don’t agree with it, I am just saying that could be the logic behind the move.

        • Ted says:

          The might be able to remove the “conference” but what good is that if the membership does not follow in significant enough numbers to make it fiscally viable?

          • Teresa says:

            There are a lot of independent denominations all over the usa who dont have to bow down to church conferences & bishops rule. They are able to budget & stay fiscally viable. The power of a church is Not in the number of programs it has, but the prayers of the people. People are willing to tithe a portion of their income if they believe the church is honest and ethical and preaching the truth. I personally do not trust a denomination thats pushing a liberal minded sex agenda.

      • Jim says:

        Mary,
        Jesus Christ nor any of His apostles were Methodists.
        There are believe it our not congregations outside of the denomination that are teaching the Word of God in it’s entirety. This is something WAY too many of the UMC pulpits have not done in a very long time. Hence, things are where they are right now.
        My wife and I left in 2016 and believe me it is for the better. To spend this much time (back to 2000 and longer) debating if it’s okay for a man to marry another man and commit abominable acts, is if you think about it, insidious.

        • Teresa says:

          Amen. You cant go wrong by saying God is the same yesterday, today&forever. The groups pushing this rebellious agenda are saying that God doesnt have the power to change lives, take away sinful desires, and lead us to Godly repentance. This leads to an out of control church & it will lead to destruction. The Wesleyans have remained steadfast & their churches are seeing explosive growth & believers baptism. I was baptized last year in a Wesleyan church at 58 years of age, Because of false teachings in the UMC, I was not “allowed” to be baptized in the umc that I attend. Why? Because I was baptized as a child not by my own choice, but because of peer pressure. I wasnt saved and I wasnt repenting when I was baptized the first time&it was wrong, according to God’s words regarding baptism. I sought out a Godly Wesleyan minister who counseled me and agreed to baptize me. We sat down and studied the Scripture. I was baptized as a believer because I wanted to reconcile this issue Ive felt guilty about all of my life. Its hypocritical of the umc to hold fast to a rule abt baptism thats not Biblical, but are willing to turn their back on Gods teaching on healthy sexuality

    • Reynolds says:

      Your church would have to vote on whether to stay or go. No one else can make that decision for you. I think the Bishops will be surprised how many people in the pews will stay.

      • td says:

        Thanks, Reynolds. It is confusing. If the annual conference did vote to leave, would there be an automatic vote at each local church? Would there be a 2/3 majority needed by the local church to stay within the UMC? Would the annual conference and bishop have to approve the leaving of a local church from the annual conference with a 2/3 vote?

        I am pleased that this scenario is less chaotic than the OCP, but it is going to get very complicated in areas where the whole annual conference “succeeds” from the UMC- and local churches disagree with this decision, but may be denied the chance to stay in the UMC (which did not change its teachings or doctrines).

      • Tom says:

        ” I think the Bishops will be surprised how many people in the pews will stay.”

        This is a good point. While the leadership of the church and many of those on the US coasts speak very loudly for the left, they are in a minority. If all members of the UMC were allowed to vote (rather than just hand-picked delegates), the voting would be far more lopsided in favor of orthodox belief.`

        • Bobbi says:

          Interesting, because I believe that if individuals voted instead of delegates it would be more progressive. Most Americans realize that our modern understanding of LGBTQ people is very different than anything mentioned in bible times.

    • Steven Joseph Soller says:

      I’m not sure that an entire Conference or Jurisdiction leaving is even possible. I do know that churches may leave….ad if the Conference is amenable they may “let them off the hook”, even without a gracious exit plan. So I could well see (I’m in a church in the Mountain Sky conference, headed by THE Lesbian Bishop, in the Western Jurisdiction) the church petitioning, the Bishop & conference just letting them all leave, and then they leaving to head up a new denomination, or planning to join an existing one better suited to their theology.

    • Larry Gerst says:

      The bottom line is that everyone who wants to depart should be graciously allowed to do so. Let us resolve to handle this 180 degrees differently than the Episcopal Church has.

      • Reynolds says:

        I would agree with that statement. The Episcopals act more like gangsters. They kick people out the churches and sell it to nonchristians. They are the worst of the lot. The head of that church screams Love Love Love but does not practice it one bit

        • Tm says:

          The epicopals like the catholics lied and covered up years child sexual abuse in their churches. They failed to correct that problem. Its going on in all churches, including the UMC. So now these same churches are pushing homosexuality as a norm. Sexual sin will be the demise of the church. That includes lust, fornication and adultery.

    • Geary Rowell says:

      TD, your local church probably isn’t the only one that would not want to leave if the conference did so. Your church and other like minded churches would be allowed to join another AC that would become available to you.

      • td says:

        Thanks. But i have been around long enough to know that this group of people will not let traditional churches out of a seceding annual conference without a fight. Most rural and small town churches are in such dire straights that no one will be intetested in fighting what their annual conference decides.

        My fear is that our great plains annual conference is beholden to adam hamilton- and he will take the annual conference and start his own denomination. After all, he started his own church before he joined it to the umc- and has never been rotated out of it. Never. Cult of personality, you think?

  10. Dawn says:

    Well done then, thanks so much for this cogent update, and especially thank you for your service!

  11. Keith says:

    John, do you have a “reader’s digest” version along with your permission to use, which a church could print for it’s members?

  12. James Stone says:

    I was raised and confirmed as a child in the Methodist Church. Since then, my wife and I have belonged to many different churches as we moved around the country. I am now considering coming back to the Methodist Church. I am very much encouraged by the vote to move forward with the Traditional Plan. Nevertheless, I am nervous that this is NOT a final decision. I am also nervous that even if this decision holds, accountability will be watered down or simply ignored. At present, I cannot with confidence rejoin the United Methodist Church. I hope that conclusion will change in the near future.

    • Tom says:

      I’m with you James; while the decisions made in 2016 and 2019 are very encouraging, I’ve been watching this dog and pony show for too long to think this is over. I certainly view the UMC as a whole much more favorably than I have in the past, but until the leadership of the church (both in the episcopacy and the general agencies) sees significant turnover, these battles will continue to be fought for the foreseeable future.

  13. JR.Ewing says:

    The approval of the traditional plan is good news, but only if it is actually enforced.

    My fear is that the progressive congregations and ministers and bishops will continue to do what they have done for the past 20 years: ignore church law and its clear guidance and claim anyone who wants that law enforced is a “bigot” who is “unloving” and “unwelcoming”. They need the conflict. They want the conflict. They think the conflict is a heroic expression of God’s will. Why would this particular conference change anything for them?

    Ultimately, I am afraid the traditionalist congregations will have to leave the church and start over, which fortunately was made easier this week with the “gracious exit” provisions that were passed. Because the progressives aren’t going anywhere.

  14. Brian Wagner says:

    Thank you John for all your hard work, dedication and honest reporting! Keep up the good work. My wife and I have complained for years that the process for screening potential pastors was seriously lacking. I’m glad that also was addressed. I’m happy about everything that was passed, and I hope it is enforced. There will be a decline of membership, but a good one. I’d rather have a smaller biblically based church than a bigger wishy washy church. Blessings

  15. Josh says:

    John,

    God bless you for your servant heart on these Kingdom matters. It is deeply appreciated. To God be the glory!

  16. Robert Mann says:

    Thank you in the most heartfelt way John ‘Mic Drop’ Lomperis.

  17. Gail Brackett says:

    As a former member of the ELCA, I applaude what you have accomplished, especially the right of any congregation who doesn’t agree to leave with their property. May God bless your efforts to maintain the traditional beliefs that have carried your church through from its beginning. Society has changed tremendously in the last 20 years, but God remains the same and his word is the same as well.

    • I have been Methodist all of my life and believe the Biblical standpoint, The Traditional Plan. Our small church has many older members that would be devastated with the One Church Plan.

  18. Karen Millar says:

    Thank you, John, for all your hard work before GC2019, during, and post Conference. I am was so exhausted and disheartened after yesterday afternoon and evening that it was hard to remember what we did that will not be declared unconstitutional by the JC. Thanks for reminding us that God did some awesome work. Blessings!!

  19. Linda McLaughlin says:

    Thank you for helping me understand what’s happening…This has been a great time of prayer..and I know God will lead us…as long as we listen to Him. It seems a good part of the fight reverts back to money, and truly God doesn’t need it, but we need to give, so please everyone let us listen for His guidance…..with love

  20. Steven Joseph Soller says:

    John, I am in a particular situation and have little understanding of the requirements of the UMC Judicial System. I am laity at a church in the Mountain Sky conference, which is headed up by “Bishop” Karen Oliveto. For almost 2 years, since Judicial Council Decision No. 1341 in April 2017, I believe that the Western Jurisdiction Committee on Episcopacy has been sitting on this, taking no action I can ascertain. I am wondering if I (and other traditionalists in this Conference) have any ability to influence this though some form of complaint? Thanks for any guidance or direction you may be able to provide.

  21. Marilyn says:

    For the last four days I’ve been completely mesmerized by this conference. Following the Roberts Rules of Order reminded me of a minuet. The formality almost ruined any true input or meaning. It was also clear that those opposed to the Traditional Plan were well-versed in the use of Alinsky tactics. When the rumor of monetary pay-offs for votes was suggested I knew the smears were abounding. I can’t see any good coming from this meeting. The smears and accusations of “hate” were coming from one side. I can agree with putting up a strong fight for what you believe in if it is done without an attempt at character assasination. It was a very sad display of the deep division within the UMC. Maybe that was necessary in order for people to make decisions on their future course of church involvement.
    Thank you, John, for this report. The report and comments are very helpful to me in trying to get over this very disappointing three days!

    • td says:

      Marilyn, I agree. But we also have to keep in mind that the people who were heavily invested in changing church teaching in these matters were not prepared emotionally for a possible defeat- so in many ways were witnessing the stages of shock , denial, and then anger on the last day. To be fair, many people supporting the traditional teaching we better prepared emotionally had things not gone the way it did- most traditional believers were mentally prepared with the notion that it was time to form a new denomination if the church’s teachings were changed on this issue.

      • Marilyn says:

        td, you are very kind in your assessment of those who lost and generous in your excuses for their bad behavior. We have become somewhat used to this kind of reaction from those who do not get their way. Name-calling and false or unfounded accusations should not be excused although disappointment and anger are strong motivators. Pulling the “victim” posture is becoming old hat. I felt that those who were chairing the meetings showed great understanding and did well to keep the proceedings under control in spite of the constant attempts to disrail it. Wish we could sit together and discuss this. There is still so much to be done!

      • Diane D says:

        That is because one side was on the path to inclusivity for all of God’s children and the other side is standing for division and exclusion. That is why it is so painful to see this outcome. We believe that you are made in the image of God. And we believe that homosexual people/families are also made in the image of God. People on this thread are comfortable calling members of the ‘other side’ an abomination …and then wonder why we react in shock and pain. We don’t believe there is an ‘other side’. We believe all are made in the image of God and that all are welcome at Gods table without having to suppress who they are, and who they love.

        • td says:

          No, we do not believe people are an abomination. We believe that people are created as humans. And humans sin. And that believers are called to avoid sin and seek forgiveness when they sin.

        • Tm says:

          Being created in the image of God is not free license to sin against Him. God&Jesus knew no sin. If we are truly like Him then we would abhor sin. His word teaches us to flee from sin, not embrace it. If this is what you believe are you going to embrace sex offenders, rapists, child molesters, porn producers, sex traffickers, drug dealers&muderers? What about aulterous husbands. Do you accept&overlook their lustful behavior because they are made in the image of God? Why would anyone in their right mind want to attend a church like that. It wouldnt be spiritually fit or safe.

  22. Very informative. Thank you for breaking this down! What parts of the TP were ruled unconstitutional? And, why is there no effort to amend the constitution to allow for those provisions? Your insight would be appreciated.

  23. Larry Gerst says:

    Great job, John. God bless you. Take a well-deserved time of rest: you deserve it.

    Chris Ritter has another excellent summary of #GC2019 on HIS site:

    https://peopleneedjesus.net/2019/02/27/gc2019-update-5/

  24. Timothy P. Jenney says:

    Methodism is my family’s tradition, though we have long since left because of many churches’ liberalism. We were encouraged by these decisions. I and many of my biblically conservative friends are now wondering if it might not be an opportune time to return to the UMC. I find it odd that no one has talked about all of us who have left over the years and the possibility of our return, just those who might leave going forward. The 2019 UMC GC might just spark both a revival and a return!

    • Jim says:

      Tim,

      You’re forgetting a very important thing IMHO. As I wrote above, the pulpit of the UMC is save a few exceptions, not teaching he scriptures. They are telling nice on the ears stories to congregations encouraging the people to live a good life and do good. I spent 13 years in what would be described as a conservative congregation (for most of that time) and not once, did I hear a sermon that called the sinner to repentance. The closest it came was to beat around the bush vaguely. Leave tradition behind you and stay put if you’re being taught the full council of God.

      • Wayne says:

        The term “unconditional love” of God is slowly ruining churches. That term is no where in the Bible but seems to be all that is preached on now. God is a righteous God and is JUDGEMENTAL. God will send unrepentant sinners to Hell, but no one will preach on this anymore.

        • Kristin says:

          The term “unconditional love” has been distorted. Just because you love someone does not mean that you approve of their actions. We unconditionally love our children, but we still have rules and expectations and discipline them accordingly. It doesn’t mean we love them any less.

    • Teresa says:

      All churches need revival and to return to preaching&teaching the whole Bible genesis to revelations. There are Answers in Genesis. We need to hear all of Pauls letters and all prophesy. We also need to be spending more time in our own personal devotions&prayer, so that we won’t be confused or deceived by those teaching a Gospel that isn’t the Gospel at all.

  25. Julius Thompson says:

    I have been a Methodist since birth: A.M.E. Zion and United Methodist. I feel the church is not the welcoming spirit-filled church I grew up in, but one of ideology, rancor and people spewing their venom of under-cover hatred. The church is God’s church and we are in the image of God, not some man-made “Thing.” After seventy-plus years I am seriously considering leaving the United Methodist Church!!!!

  26. Jennifer says:

    The Pastor of the very Progressive First United Methodist of Ft Worth just sent out an email that basically says the whole conference was bad, the Traditional Plan is unconstitutional and they will not do anything different.

    https://mailchi.mp/myfumc/reflections-on-general-conference-2019?e=d749c582b2

  27. Mary Jones says:

    Thank you and all the others who made this possible.

  28. RW says:

    Thanks, John for this expeditious smarty report and especially your work since 2016 to help keep this denomination Christian. I was very disappointed to read Adam Hamilton’s words essentially calling for a year of protest and planning to overturn the good work at GC 2020. I suppose my Bishop is in the same frame of mind. I look forward to seeing these folks actions come into the sunshine. In my local church how can I best deal with the rainbow stole folks who will emulate Hamilton?

    • Tm says:

      Stay in your Bible. Put on the whole armor of God. The Word is your sword. That way you wont be confused or deceived by those teaching a false Gospel. Stay on your knees in prayer. PUSH pray until.something happens. FROG Fully rely on God. These same groups are causing division in all denominations. It is evil to defile God’s Word and His house.

  29. senecagriggs says:

    A gallop pole estimates the LBGTQ as 4.5 percent of the population. They will never be able to pay the bills of a church; support the ministries. And frankly, most of them probably have no great desire to even attend a church. They will not be the backbone of a church. I’m not sure where the progressives go from here.
    _______

    majority of LGB adults are religiously affiliated, according to a new Pew Research Center study. But they are much less likely to be Christian than the general public and are more drawn to smaller, non-Christian denominations.

    About 5% of the 2014 Religious Landscape Study’s 35,000-plus respondents identified themselves as members of the LGB population. Of that group, 59% said they are religiously affiliated. But only 48% of them reported belonging to a Christian faith group, compared with 71% of the general public.

    • Ted Hiley says:

      Many of the LBGT supporters are there for political reasons, not because of their sexuality…..so the stats on the LBGT members or clergy are likely not accurate. JMO but it will take some time to see the effects of the graceful exit.

    • David says:

      There is at least one gay denomination, the Metropolitan Community Church, that claims over 200 congregations.

  30. Cheryl says:

    As a former United Methodist, I watched as much of the GC2019 live coverage as I could. I was glad to see the Traditional Plan officially adopted, along with petitions to help keep bishops more accountable. I guess I’m still just a bit murky on exactly how/who holds them accountable. Up until now, they have just ignored the BoD and scripture altogether. It would seem to me, the foxes are still running the henhouse, for the most part. What am I missing?

    It is sad to see what has been taking place in the denomination I was born into 64 years ago, but even if this plan is successful I will not be going back. My reason is much the same as Jim’s reason in a prior comment. It was a gradual thing, but eventually the UMC simply quit teaching scripture. We got “feel good” messages from the pastor (a couple pastors were the exception, but neither is still active in the UMC) based on whatever liberal Author’s book the pastor was currently reading…..all geared to the social gospel. Those of us who wanted true Biblical teaching were left to our own devices, so we found churches who did just that.

    I was particularly dismayed by the final statement from the floor of the GC yesterday by a woman from the Western Jurisdiction who boldly and loudly proclaimed that they would be continuing to go against the BoD and thus this new TP because they feel they are being successful. She invited other churches to revolt along with them. SO, just how successful this new TP will actually be remains to be seen. Again, who is going to hold them to it?

  31. J. Lee says:

    I am not a life-long United Methodist, but I am a life-long Wesleyan. I have been a pastor in the UM church since 2012 coming from another Methodist rooted denomination and I will give the UM church high marks in bureaucracy. I am a highly conservative and hold very solidly to the authority of scriptures, but the church I pastor, with my agreement are getting out of this mess. This is a war and sadly it is not going to end with this conference. For the LGBTQ community of the church and those who support them this is their civil rights movement and this GC was their Selma. They equate sexual behavior in the same category as race and ethnicity so there is a principle for them in this that is beyond the understanding of biblical authority or the sacredness of God given gender assignment. As I watched the this special GC while my heart was broken for the church. I was also reminded of Paul’s message to Timothy in his second epistle chapter 3.
    But it is my sense that the liberals are not going to go away. They will conference and solidify there coalition and come back for another round. But this attack on biblical authority and attempt to advance cultural mores upon the church are not exclusive to the UM Church and other churches are beginning to feel the pressure of the cultural demands on them as well.

    • Tm says:

      Homosexuality is a desire just like murder, stealing, getting high or drunk, molesting a child, raping a woman or committing adultery. Ppl who are pushing this agenda are saying that God is limited by our desire, when His word teaches he can take our desires, renew our minds&make us new creatures. This entire agenda is being fueled by ungodliness, selfishness, covetousness&lust. Ppl trying to convince God&man that sin has no consequences. Sounds like how Satan works.

    • Teresa says:

      What we arent being told is how many of these ss marriages are even lasting? Someone who has no guilt or qualms about homosexuality has no guilt or problem with adultery or divorce. How many of the gay men are carrying the HIV? Whats next, will the UMC take up collections to pay the medical bills for the minority that elect to have gender reassignment surgery, a 1 million $procedure with a life time of hormone replacement therapy and other drugs for a person to survive in a body that God did NOT create

  32. Thomas Kyle says:

    Thank you for your great work, John! It’s great to see that the majority of GC19 delegates took a stand for God’s Word!

  33. April User says:

    It’s interesting that there were several opportunities for prayer during General Conference. Those leading in prayer prayed for God’s will throughout the proceedings. But, in the end, the progressives did not like how their prayers were answered and some threw tantrums. Just like immature children. How can they make disciples when they themselves show so little of what is considered a disciple? Or maybe that a hallmark of that kind of thinking and orientation…

  34. Andrew Hughes says:

    Whatever happens, God is in control, and liberals cannot resist his will. Ultimately His church will prevail. Thank you for your faithfulness brother Lamperis.

  35. William says:

    John — THANK YOU!

    The vote was more than for the traditional plan. It was a rebuke, as someone else said, a no confidence vote for the liberal bishops and their support team. After all the money, organization, lobbying, delegate packing, secular support, media support, plus what had to be all sorts of tactics to influence (intimidate) delegates, they still couldn’t get their beloved ‘one’ church plan (of deception) across the finish line. In cooperate America, they would all be terminated. In our church, they stay like parasites pretending to be in charge since there is no excommunication process to get rid of them as heretics. Our bishop, a supporter of the one church plan, made a nice little pretentious video as if this is no big deal and we’re now to go forth in ministry and mission. Sure thing, bishop. Dream on in your delusional little cushy, cozy, unaccountable world.

  36. Bruce Willis says:

    Sadly, nothing will change. The western jurisdiction will not deal with the openly gay bishop. The bishops by and large are progressive. They will continue business as usual. There needs to be a clear cut split.
    They have no intention of enforcing the discipline. Unless it benefits their agenda. THE BISHOPS ARE THE PROBLEM.

  37. William says:

    Heather Hahn, UM News Service, sees passage of the Traditional Plan as rather inconsequential, with what appears to be Oliveto in the center of the photo.

    https://www.umnews.org/en/news/gc2019-maps-uncertain-way-forward

  38. Eric J LeFevre says:

    John:

    I was watching on live stream, and after the videos got posted, and I have a question:

    How serious is the referral to the judicial council for the supposed violation of Article XXII? Reading the whole passage (the presenter only read half of it to the floor), makes it abundantly clear that it deals with clerical celibacy enforced by a church hierarchy ala Catholicism. If the supreme court can read a right to abortion into the Constitution on thinner pretenses, than do we have to worry about the Judicial Council reading same sex marriage into the Book of Discipline?

    • John Lomperis says:

      That was not serious, but was a desperate move. If the guy making that motion had done his homework, he would have seen that the Judicial Council already made a binding ruling on that very question, and did not rule in the liberals’ favor.

  39. Pudentiana says:

    By their fruits you shall know them. Any fair-minded observer could see which were the true Christ followers in the mix. Obfuscation, accusation, manipulation, abuse of power, whining, mockery, disrespect, dishonor, lying, threats, prideful boasting, all and more were on display in the proponents of the “One Church Mob. Did they ever ask the question, “What would Jesus do?” Assuredly, not sodomy.

  40. Steve Zinser says:

    If this were a baseball game, the home team went ahead by 2 runs in the bottom of the 7th inning. Game’s not over. They are now at bat. We need solid pitching and strong, alert defense.

    • Al says:

      Absolutely. The very first thing my liberal umc pastor sent out was a note which ended such. “The plan will be reviewed by Judicial Council because it is already known to hold many unconstitutional elements. It is quite possibile it will fail there, meaning nothing will have changed from where we currently are.” Don’t look for anyone in the left to waver or back away. I’m certainly not holding my breath for any substantive change to the right anytime soon.

  41. Lee Cary says:

    Excellent summary. Thank you.

  42. Skipper says:

    We have reaffirmed Christian teaching from the Bible! This should lead to an end of defiance. Once again the majority of Methodists has spoken, this time in a louder voice, that we respect God and His plan of Created Order, male and female. “We affirm that God’s grace is available to all.” I hope to see the sexually confused come to understand why we consider homosexuality “incompatible with Christian teaching.” And that through the Power of God, they can be healed. Jesus calls us to be holy because our Father in heaven is holy. Let us do that together.

  43. William says:

    Bishops and clergy who continue to downplay, equivocate, double-talk, sound bite, get in front of mics, and convolute this vote SHOULD LEAVE. If they are unable to publicly state that they will abide by the decision of General Conference and enforce it, they SHOULD LEAVE and take their flock with them to another place. And those who agree with and publicly affirm that they will abide by this decision and enforce it should start DEMANDING that those who will not SHOULD LEAVE. General Conference has spoken. Traditionalists were poised to leave if the one church plan passed. Now that the Traditional Plan passed, progressives should either repent or pack their bags, shut up, and leave. The Episcopal Church has a welcome mat out, for example. Go and merge with them or one of the other liberal denominations and LEAVE THE UMC ALONE.

    • Teresa says:

      The Lutherans Episcopals and Presbyterians pandered to the rainbow coalition. Once it was passed, where did the rainbow coalition show up next, the UMC? Well guess what? It didnt help those denominations. Their churched sit half empty or 100% abandoned on Sundays. God will not bless a House that defiles His word. What was the downfall of the ancient churches, sexual sin. God said He would vomit them out of his mouth.

  44. April User says:

    I have added a 4-letter word to my list of “bad” words that raises my ire: harm. So tired of hearing progressives inside and outside the church lobbing that word around. Gosh, we sound just like the culture around us.

    • Steven Joseph Soller says:

      To be expected, as that is exactly what this is all about…to conform the Church to the world. Which is NOT what I always thought it was for.

  45. Kendall Yule says:

    As the next step, the General Conference must deal with UM seminaries which harbor far-left views. They are defiant and openly hostile to the Traditional position. 1) They are not accountable to anyone, and 2) they reproduce and reinforce far-left clergy.
    It’s silly to reinforce the Traditional position while not tackling the pillar of the far-left. Keep UM seminaries in line by 1) have the University Senate strip them as a UM seminary, 2) de-fund them, or 3) start new seminaries.
    They won’t stop fighting, neither should we.

    • Teresa says:

      Duke University nothing but a keg party school with a sexual assault on women rate higher than all other colleges. And most of those assaults go unreported because the victims are afraid to come forward because of retaliation by the athletes committing the crime and the culture that protects the ppl in power. Not much different than the umc. Nothing but a bunch of vague policies with no teeth regarding what should be done to protect women&children from sex offenders in their churches, but not what actually is being done. Call it what it is for once- a sin against women, men, children God&his church. PAUL says any church that condones sexual immorality prostitutes the entire body of Christ.

  46. Tom says:

    John –

    I just wanted to thank you for your work. From where I was sitting I could feel the daggers aimed in your direction whenever you rose to speak.

    The double-talk and projection coming from the left side of the aisle was astounding, as you mentioned. For all the talk of love and acceptance, they have very very little to spare for anyone who doesn’t celebrate their choices with unconditional acceptance.

    Conversely, I don’t know any evangelical there who was cheering or otherwise celebrating. We knew this was going to be painful, and that no one was going to leave GC2019 as a “winner.” I truly hurt for those who feel slighted by this reaffirmation of the church’s stance – sin is painful. Living a sinful lifestyle and trying to reconcile that with God’s word is cognitive dissonance at its worst. But the solution isn’t to give in and say everything is permissible – it’s brokenness and repentance. I doubt many of those on the left will come to that point anytime soon, but our God is a God of miracles.

  47. William says:

    Now I understand why my parents won’t step inside a church any more. You people are so narrow minded, so full of prejudice, judgement, and hate that you make my computer sizzle.

  48. Gary Bebop says:

    There is an old hymn: “The Fight Is On.” How true it is. We must endure the hardships that faithfulness to Jesus Christ entails. I’m sure John Lomperis is committed to the fight, but Christ is calling the rest of us to gird up.

  49. Terry says:

    In the event the UMC should become more evangelical, or a new evangelical Wesleyan denomination should arise, I wonder what it will be like. Will we continue to ignore what Scripture teaches about the seriousness and pervasiveness of sin? Will we continue to use the very weak talk outlines from the Walk to Emmaus for our understandng of justifying and sanctifying grace? Will we continue to treat the holy life as optional and impossible, at least for the average Christian? Will we continue to proclaim a “gospel” that includes little more than God’s willingness and ability to help us with our perceived (“felt”) needs? Will we continue to ignore the truth of perfect (holy) love, and that it goes both ways? Will we continue to believe that the only true sign of a successful church/pastor is the number of nickels and noses brought into the church? Will we continue to act as if getting a non-Christian to join the church is the same as leading a person to life-altering encounters with the living Christ? Will we continue to refuse to try to understand WHY God says that same-sex activity is not acceptable? We may wind up with a general evangelical church (like those found in typical evangelical denominations), but we will not be Wesleyan. If we will not be Wesleyan, then why bother to hang on to what we’ve got or form a new general evangelical church?
    There are lots and lots of very successful general evangelical churches already around!

  50. Donald says:

    Congratulations, my Traditional and Evangelical colleagues!

  51. Tom says:

    I hope the new rules will be strictly enforced. The Liberals and their actions in the UMC are a good example of the Apostasy Jude spoke of. They are part of the same Liberal/Progressives trying to take down America and it’s Constitution and must be defeated.

  52. Abel Adamson says:

    The following is a reflection by Cal-Pac Bishop Grant J. Hagiya that was emailed to all conference clergy.
    It is unbelievable and completely incomprehensible to me… My first impression is that the Bishop’s approach is not unlike the animals in George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.”
    He is living in an alternate universe. That is why the accountability is needed. Because of your “geography “ you must have certain beliefs? I shouldn’t be so surprised but I am.
    “Hello, I’m a Regional Methodist. Surely you have heard of United Methodists? Well, we’re not them. We prefer our own geographical theology that ignores Orthodox Christian heritage and mocks all those who hold those values dear. Yup! Just call us the Reggies.”

    Bishop Hagiya’s reflection follows:

    I greet you in the name of Jesus Christ!

    By now you have probably all heard that the General Conference Special Called Session is now over, and the Traditional Plan prevailed (53% – 438 votes to 47% – 384 votes). Although it does have repressive ramifications to our LGBTQI community, the Judicial Council has ruled much of it unconstitutional. At the same time, this decision is also symbolic in its implications because it signals a turn of the United Methodist Church to a more judgmental and political entity that is against inclusion and for exclusion.

    With this conservative turn, I have been deeply conflicted. The question is, “can I stay in a repressive and oppressive church with integrity?” After a sleepless night, I came to a new resolve. I believe I must stay in the UMC and lead our people within the geographical context we find ourselves in the West. We have been living the One Church Plan for decades, and I don’t see why we should change that about us. We live and let live and it is totally consistent with the theology of John Wesley.

    We cannot turn back at this point. We have come too far to make this conservative stance. In fact, I don’t think that it is possible for us. I believe that even our more traditional churches have a deep tolerance based on our geography. I believe they know that we accept their theology and hopefully, we treat them the same as everyone else: with respect and dignity.

    Now that the General Conference Special Called Session is over, it is time that we focus on what God is calling us to: Our mission and ministry in the very name of Jesus Christ! Nothing is more important than this. Nothing must distract us from this central purpose. Nothing must stand in the way of our ministries of compassion and care!

    What I am calling us to do is to learn what God is trying to teach us through this Special Called Session and get to the business of being the church. We need to focus on making disciples of Jesus Christ. We need to engage our local neighborhoods and surrounding communities. We need to feed the hungry, house the immigrant, heal the sick, and preach the Good News.

    It is important for us to confess our sins and shortcomings: Too many have been hurt and harmed in our theological wars. Too many have been hurt and harmed by being objectified by the church. Too many have left the church because they have not been welcomed or cared for. If there has been anything I have done personally that has offended or harmed, intentionally or unintentionally, I ask for your forgiveness. I pray that we will all seek such confession and forgiveness.

    Most of all, we must turn to each other for healing and care. It is time to put our arms around each other and heal from harming each other. It is time for us to have hearts of peace and not hearts of war. It is time for us to support each other and care for each other.

    Being away so long in St. Louis has drained and exhausted me. I long to come home and be back in ministry with all of you. I long for home where I belong.

    Be the Hope,

    Bishop Grant J. Hagiya
    Los Angeles Area Resident Bishop

    • Tom says:

      Translation – I don’t have the courage of my convictions to leave and set up elsewhere. I’d rather coast to retirement on the backs of all the orthodox UMCs who pay my salary unknowingly.

      • TJ says:

        Perhaps it’s time to start withholding the money from the “home office”. Selective payment of apportionments or something?. Trying to figure out how to support my local church without paying for those in my denomination who are leading us astray.

        • Teresa says:

          Apparently these liberals have not heard of Biblical hermeneutics or exegesis. We are to pull out of Gods Word and then apply it to our lives, not read into Gods Word, pick and choose only the things that dont call us to repent or the things that correct and reprove. These liberal bishops wont stop until they completely removr all references to Pauls letters, the 10 commandments, Revelations, Leviticus. There are 66 books in the Bible. I want to hear sermons about Tamars shame. What happened to all the players in her story. What happened to the unnamed concubine in Judges? The UMC isnt teaching young boys that this isnt how you treat girls. The umc is not teaching the teens about healthy dating relationships?Why because theyre too busy walking on egg shells, afraid they may offend the rainbow crowd by mentioning the word sin. If your friend was an alcoholic or a drug addict or an adulterer, wouldnt you love your friend enough to tell him that what hes doing displeases God. That God can change him if he surrenders his will to God

      • William says:

        Yep — straight from a classic heretic. He actually used the words “integrity”, “sin”, and “Good News”. He must have been in his rubber suit sitting in his rubber chair as he wrote this. At some point down the road, General Conference will have to take up petitions of removal.

      • Bruce Willis says:

        Tom you hit the nail right on the head the ocp was and is about the age old problem. Worship of money.
        They were more interested in protecting the institution of the umc than they were the local church or staying true to the word of God.
        It was and always has been about money.

    • Charlie Brown says:

      In Jesus time there was a “Sanhedrin “. It knew it was right but God had other plans. His plan today is that His people called Methodist have found His way. By putting forward a “One Church Plan” the Bishops showed that they have lost a true direction. Basically anything goes. It doesn’t occur to them that people don’t follow but one path at a time. Lack of top down direction on a true path has led to loss of members and financial support, but the Bishops fret over loss of the LGBTQ community. Clearly those who can’t live with the General Conference decision are in the wrong place.

  53. B. J. Haines says:

    “… I must stay in the UMC and lead our people within the geographical context we find ourselves in…” Pretty sure those were the last words heard in the region of Sodom and Gomorrah. Maybe THAT’s the point God was trying to make to you during the GC, eh?

  54. Roberta says:

    When will people stop talking The Church and start talking about Biblical teachings? The Bible is very clear about what is ok and what is not. The UMC has become a social and political club…

  55. Jay Sands says:

    Thank you traditionalists! Harm is the wrong word for what is going on. We accept everyone with love, but they must understand that they are asking to become part of our faith…not the other way around. God’s word is clear on what sin is, whether homosexual or heterosexual…when you come to the Lord you must repent and it hurts. Harm is not what we are doing, that implies we are intentionally doing it. What we are doing is pointing out that God has set forth His statutes…that will never change. What kind of message does it sent when we bring people who are living in sin and then marry them for a lifetime of sin? We have to get things straight…otherwise we lose all and also cause others to lose salvation. Thank you God for raising up our African brothers and sisters and help us repent in America.

  56. eric pone says:

    I just don’t see how this is enforceable save for the conferences that have Bishops who choose to enforce the provisions. This seems like just a continuation of the current standoff. The one provision that could have enforced this was declared unconstitutional by the JC. So I don’t see a change from the status quo save for the Bishops enforcing this. I don’t see too many doing this and the Traditionalists don’t have the majority on the council. Sooo yeah this seems like a was of time. Personally, I am waiting for the Centrist/ Progressive option to formally come into existence before I see a sanctuary again.

    • Mike says:

      Eric,

      It’s very simple, as I wrote on another article here: we can influence the Bishop’s by withholding apportionments. If it becomes clear in the next few months/year that Bishops, A.C.’s or other offices in the church aren’t following the will of the General Conference, the local church can defund them.

      I know this scares many local churches and pastors, because they’re afraid the Bishop will “punish” them by moving their pastor (if they like their pastor, or if he/she supports their decisions), but I can tell you, local churches have much more leverage than they realize; they just need to be loving, but firm, and stand up to their conference leadership when it is not being faithful. Money talks. Money is the main reason the progressive’s are staying. If you defund them, you take away what they love most, and you take away their power and influence.

      This should be done prayerfully, and with full communication, but it is how the church will have to move forward if we want the Bishops, AC’s, and agencies to play ball according to the rules of the game…rules set and approved by General Conference.

      • Mike says:

        It’s like the ants versus the grasshoppers in the movie “A Bug’s Life.” The local church is the ants, and they are the ones who are feeding the grasshoppers, not the other way around!

        So the local church simply needs to realize that they are actually the center of power and influence in the denomination – when that finally happens – and they exercise their leverage – a lot of things can be changed.

      • Teresa says:

        Which is why we should refund planned parenthood and clinics aborting babies being born alive. You can see all the politicians running 4 office that voted for partial birth abortion. Only in America is it legal to kill an unborn baby or born baby, but if you spank a child thats being obnoxious and defiant in school, you can get arrested for child abuse

    • Jay Sands says:

      Do we have a provision to have a body of believers vote to have a clearly unbiblical bishop in our ranks? It seems very inappropriate that entire churches must suffer underneath a wayward bishop. Once signs of a bishop has become wayward, we need a process to remove them from leadership. Then maybe they will remind themselves they are not free agents with our people.

  57. TJ says:

    Just read a letter from my Bishop and it appears the Bishops are looking for reasons to do NOTHING. He is now waiting for the Judicial Council to rule on the constitutional issues. The traditionalist plan means no basic change in the Discipline re the sexuality stance….so Bishops don’t need a Council opinion to just do what they should have been doing for the past ten or more years. …just enforce the BOD. ..should be pretty simple.

  58. Gary Bebop says:

    This is a great comment thread following up on John Lomperis. Traditionalists would be wise to “get organized” via WCA (Wesleyan Covenant Association) and its cohorts, and not to pursue wild idiosyncratic strategies. Traditionalists tend to be very independent, resisting political organization, but this is not the hour for “outlaws” and independent operators who will not take counsel This is the hour for coming together. There is strength in coordination. Remember, the Bible says, “Plans are established by taking advice; wage war by following wise guidance” (Proverbs 20:18).

  59. Karen Ritter says:

    And yet the Book of Discipline still does not condemn slavery, which also would include sexual trafficking.

    • Teresa McNeill says:

      The umc has yet to take a clear firm stand agaisnt sex offenders and protecting women&children against sexual abuse in all its forms. The umc is no better than the catholics and episcopals who covered up years of sex abuse in the church by clergy, lay ppl, and ppl who were allowed to be baptized into their churches. Its a sin against God and it prostitutes the entire body of Christ. Im just waiting for those bishops in their clown costumes and priest collars to man up, stand up and speak up. Its time for all churches to stand in spiritual warfare&say we will not tolerate this sin against family, church, women and children. No more. #silenceisnotspiritual. #churchtoo #metoo The UMC has turned a deaf ear and blind eye to all sin. The ministers arent even allowed to say the word sin from behind their pulpits

  60. Sam says:

    My local church has a group of activists in it who are now determined more than ever to bring our local UMC church under the Reconciling Ministries Network. The other main UMC in our area is already in the RMN, and I am worried that our church will follow. We have a mix of both conservatives and progressives in our local church, but I worry that people will “fold” to satisfy those pushing for the RMN in order to keep our church together. My wife and I will not remain in our church if that happens. Does it take a congregational vote to force a church into the RMN, or can our local board just implement it without congregational involvement? It seems like the GC has simply stirred up the activists to push harder than they would have otherwise and I’m worried for our local church.

  61. Melany Edge says:

    While I am very pleased that the vote from this conference still demonstrated there are more traditionalist views than progressive, I am also not going to hold my breath waiting for any of this to be enacted. I have personally watched and at times taken part in this battle for 25 years and I know that these folks are not going to stop and they will not leave. They are on a mission to end what they believe is hatred and bigotry.
    That was clearly demonstrated from the live feed at the end of GC 2019. My question is this: will the proposed exit strategy allow for traditional churches to leave the UMC with property in hand? Some of us know in our hearts that God would not want us to continue anymore to be associated with this strife…..in fact, we believe that God simply wants us to flee from this, to walk away, to separate, to not be unequally yoked anymore. Will the exit plan allow for traditional churches to withdraw from the denomination and become independent?

    • Jim says:

      Melany,
      You raise a great point. I believe as you do, that God does not want His faithful to be yoked with non-believers. There should be a plan that supports congregations like yours a path to disassociate while retaining property. This is a sifting is the wheat and targets. The issue isn’t resolved and these bishops will kick the can down the road for years to come under the ridiculous notion that more dialogue and understanding is the answer.

  62. richard schulte says:

    the only bad thing is that the people who broke the rules are still in power to enforce the rules. how do you think that’s going to work out?

  63. Steve Marlatt says:

    I was kicked out of the Methodist church in 1992 because the pastor said, “We really don’t want your kind here.” And now, after St. Louis, the church has said ‘We really don’t want your kind here.’ Justify it all you want, but it is hateful.

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