April 30, 2019

Strings Attached: Liberal California United Methodists to Redirect Giving Away from Non-LGBTQ Affirming Ministries

The California-Pacific Annual Conference (Cal-Pac) within the Western Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church (UMC) is creating options for congregations upset with General Conference 2019 to selectively redirect their apportionment giving away from non-LGBTQ affirming ministries.

In a letter sent throughout the conference, Bishop Grant J. Hagiya and president of Cal-Pac’s Council on Finance and Administration Howard Hudson clarified how apportionments work and outlined how individuals or congregations might resist General Conference’s decisions by redirecting their connectional giving.

“Most of the churches are just angry with the support of the Traditional Plan and do not want to support the General Conference and larger church in their own mind,” Hagiya told UMNS. The letter also acknowledged the “hurt and pain” that General Conference caused and called withholding or redirecting apportionments important acts of resistance against an unjust system.

Hagiya and Hudson clearly hope to avoid having local churches stop giving apportionments altogether, which would strain the budget of the annual conference, reminding their churches that 76 percent of their apportionments stay in the conference, one that is very progressive overall. Last year, California-Pacific was in the bottom fifth of US annual conferences in terms of percentage of apportionments paid.

For the remainder of apportionment funds that go to general churchwide funds, Cal-Pac is setting up an alternative World Service fund and alternative General Administration Fund. After receiving a breakdown of the denomination-wide World Service fund from the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA), the annual conference’s Council on Finance and Administration (CFA) will select ministries they approve to receive money. There is no provision in UMC church law for the CFA to redirect apportionment funding based on these types of values judgements.

It is revealing to see this colonial-like approach to relief, with the conference planning to share their wealth with the poorer parts of the global church only with conditions. Liberian United Methodist leader Rev. Jerry Kulah said at February’s Special General Conference that he and his fellow Africans would not sell their birthright in Jesus Christ for American dollars and “never, ever trade Jesus and the truth of the Bible for money.” Sadly, it appears likely that some United Methodist churches out west will intentionally refuse to fund growing biblically orthodox African churches.

Refusing help for needy overseas missions because the global church upholds biblical standards on human sexuality is a very poor Christian witness. As many United Methodists pursue an amicable end to current debates over sexuality, overseas churches should not be punished for upholding the same gospel that U.S. missionaries first shared with them.


33 Responses to Strings Attached: Liberal California United Methodists to Redirect Giving Away from Non-LGBTQ Affirming Ministries

  1. Jen says:

    I find it interesting how the left likes to call conservatives names, imply we don’t like certain groups of people and we’re insensitive to the feelings of others yet withholding funds, alienating and full on racial discrimination is apparently acceptable when you don’t feel like upholding your end of the agreement. The irony would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

  2. Pat says:

    It is time for Methodist leadership to be held accountable in the Book of Discipline and those who ignore the rules, policies, procedures must be held accountable. Until this happens. The liberal/progressive Methodists will continue to spend time and dollars to disrupt and destroy the Methodist church as founded by John Wesley.

    • Rev. Dr. Lee D Cary says:

      “It is time for Methodist leadership to be held accountable in the Book of Discipline and those who ignore the rules, policies, procedures must be held accountable…”

      BRAV0, Pat!!

      But who/what is going to do that holding accountable?

      Annual conferences are, essentially, fiefdoms. There is no functioning enforcement mechanism up to the task.

      Without enforcement of accountability, an internal, non-violent, ideological, ecclesiastical war is inevitable. It has, in fact, started.

      The vote at the 2019 General Conference in St. Louis was the UMC’s Ft. Sumter. The big difference is that the armies – overwhelmingly made up of laity – are under no obligation to hang around to see how it ends.

      There is no equivalent response that represents “desertion”. Many in the armies will just worship the same God in Christ elsewhere.

  3. Scott says:

    So Cal-Pac is already setting up alternative general agencies and is encouraging the churches in it’s area not to support the denomination. So why don’t they do the honorable thing and leave the UMC and form a new denomination. They already are forming it, why have a separate denomination inside an existing one. They should have the faith and courage to do the right thing and go out on their own. I’m sure the rest of the Western Jurisdiction and New England would join them. Hopefully they will let the traditional, Bible believing churches go and join another area.

    • Rev. Dr. Lee D Cary says:

      ” So why don’t they do the honorable thing and leave the UMC and form a new denomination.”

      Good question, Scott. Here’s one answer:

      Progressive, theological modernists don’t seek to establish anew – they aim to subvert what exists – i.e., to overcome and replace. It’s just how they roll.

      • Dan Heatherly says:

        I apologize if this seems too political…but in the politcal realm, a noted member of the Twitterati identified the standard progressive mode of operation (and it seems to fit here) as

        1. Identify a respected institution.
        2. kill it.
        3. gut it.
        4. wear its carcass as a skin suit, while demanding respect.

        It seems that progressive Methodists will never leave to form their own denomination but instead are adamant about killing and gutting the existing UMC and wearing its carcass around and demanding we show it the proper respect.

  4. Paul W. says:

    Once the UMC split happens, I expect that the Western Jurisdiction will become our largest and most successful mission field within the US.

    • L. Cary says:

      Who’s the “our”?

      • td says:

        The “our” means the traditional faith UMC- as opposed to the western jurisdiction who would probably take all their churches into a new denomination.

        • Scott says:

          Don’t count on all the churches in the western jurisdiction going with the liberal groups. Having served in a very liberal conference I can assure you that there are plenty of traditional churches and members in the west and north. They just keep their mouths shut so they are not castigated for traditional belief. Especially the local pastors. Much of the west is quite traditional when you get out of the coastal cities, where all the power is.

          • Paul W. says:

            I fully agree, Scott. Once the spilt happens, I expect a huge number of church plants throughout the WJ fully committed to Scriptural Holiness. Joined by those of you who are suffering now under apostate leadership, I pray for a great harvest!

          • td says:

            I agree, but the WJ will want a situation that takes all of their churches with them- and makes it difficult to remain in the UMC.

  5. William says:

    Aside from this new age race laced colonialism, the god they now worship is the idol-LGBT movement. All else is filtered through that. They are in the initial stages of a new denomination. Heads up Adam Hamilton — you better move fast and get control of this so that you can serve as the first president of this first “bishops” group. Oh, after the general church abolishes these dysfunctional agencies and boards, that benefit mostly themselves and their personal agendas, and redirects those funds to missions, then our poor brothers and sisters can be better served than they are now.

  6. Andrew Hughes says:

    So Sad. Through all things ultimately God will bring healing and restoration to the faithful church. Paul wrote along similar lines… “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award me on that day, and not only to me but to all who have loved his appearing” (2Timothy 4:7).

  7. Diane says:

    Most people on either side of the fence vote with their feet and money. no one should be surprised or sad.

  8. Lynn Higginbotham says:

    Quite telling that proponents of the LGBTQIA+ movement argue from the standpoint of feelings versus establishing a solid scriptural foundation for their approval of a sinful behavior that God has already ruled on. Sinful behavior that God has called an abomination and sexual immorality should never be presented as an okay life style for anyone claiming to be Christian. Those behaviors, just like all other sinful behaviors, should be repented and turned from in obedience to Jesus Christ, our Holy Lord and Savior. We are all sinners saved by grace. We should all be humble enough to admit that and seek to be obedient rather than openly defiant and destructive of the church. We should not be those who are seeking to steal, kill, and destroy. The truth in the word of God is so simple and easy to understand for those truly seeking to know the will of God. Jesus doesn’t really care about anyone’s money. It’s their salvation that He is all about!

    • Diane says:

      Oh sure. Gay people who “repent” & enter into marriages with someone of the opposite sex come to realize – after deceiving themselves and their spouses – that they’re not heterosexual. The deception and stress puts these marriages/families at risk. Please read the stories on the Straight Spouse Network, an international support group that’s been in existence for straight spouses who learn – eventually – that they married a “faux heterosexual,” ie. Someone who’s lesbian or gay. The Straight Spouse Network estimates that 85% of these marriages, termed “mixed orientation marriages” end in divorce. That’s a lot of broken families. It suggests that God wills destructive and broken families when gay people “repent”. Hardly a deity worth worshipping.

      • Lynn says:

        Diane, you demonstrate just what I said. Your comments have no force of scripture behind them, just worldly complaints. You merely lament that sinful behavior is sinful behavior, just as our Lord and Savior says. You comment as though it is up to people to determine acceptable behavior, but you are wrong. Our Creator and Holy God is solely responsible for the universe and all that is contained in it. Your laments and complaints are against God, not fellow human beings. God tells us all things are possible for Him, so He can certainly provide the answer and solution for any sinner who comes to Him for forgiveness and salvation through Jesus. So Christians will trust Him and place their faith in God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Those who are not truly Christian will not do that. God knows the difference, and tells us we will know them by their fruit.

        • Diane says:

          For forty years, leaders of “ex-gay ministries” claimed that the thousands of lesbians and gay men that came to them for help were “cured”. In an about face, they finally admitted a few years ago that “change is possible” is a fraudulent claim.

          To claim homosexuality is a choice is to claim that all humans are intrinsically bisexual and at some point decide to be heterosexual or homosexual.

          Just FYI, Lynne, I’m not bisexual and I bet you’re not either. If you are, please describe to me the time and day when you woke up and decided to be a heterosexual.

          • Diane says:

            Innately, not intrinsically

          • td says:

            The choice is a choice between actions- between sinning and not sinning. The sin is not in having same-sex sexual desires; the sin is in choosing to engage in sex acts outside of a heterosexual marriage and then not repenting- and then claiming that those acts are an intrinsically holy way of life.

        • Jim says:

          Diane- spare us the crap that the individual is nothing but a helpless victim. The majority of married males struggle in their minds with thoughts of women who are not their spouse. We are called to restrain and avoid temptation. In your worldview I suppose we should all be unfaithful and plead victim status.

      • Libby says:

        Gay people do not have to marry straight people. Nobody forces them to do that.

  9. brandon says:

    i remember when bishop carcano said the africans had a lot to learn about lgbtq+lmnop. someone in the “progressive” branch is gonna slip one of these days and call them savages, then we’ll see the groves come off their loving grace ministry for all, lol.

    • Diane says:

      Excuse me? Apparently your thoughts lean in the very direction you find laughable. You may as well have used th “n” word and then laughed.

  10. td says:

    Truly, the UMC is in schism- no one has to follow the rules. Why should I even bother donating what I pledged? Why should a church pay for the pastors they don’t like or fix the roof leaks at their parsonage?

    Once we decide to not recognize the decisions of the only bodies that we have entrusted to make those decisions, then we are no longer a Church. When we decide that each and every entity can nullify any official Church decision, then we most definitely are in schism and headed towards civil war.

  11. Jeff Spaulding says:

    The so called Progressive wing of the church is like blood sucking leeches. They attach themselves to a host and suck them dry, leaving them to die. Then they look for a new host and all is repeated. Progressives have sucked the life blood out of the UMC by the 47 year running battle within the UMC. 47 years of falling attendance and membership. The leeches need to be removed to save the life of the Church before it’s too late, if it isn’t already.

  12. Steven Soller says:

    I belong to a “moderate” UMC Church in the Western Jurisdiction, specifically the Mountain Sky Conference (yes, THAT one)….and I have been “redirecting” some my giving AWAY from my church, conference, and jurisdiction for the past 4 years. Ever since my “pastor” got on a BLM Social Justice crusade, started pushing the gay and lesbian lifestyle “choice”…and then with “Bishop” Oliveto’s elevation, I’ve basically started giving a pittance (less than 10% of what I used to give) just to keep the lights and heat on, and otherwise I take that money and give it to Pro-Life, Pro-Children, Pro-Family groups and organizations. My church hasn’t been able to pay it’s full apportionments in years, it’s over $300k in a budget hole this year ($78k just in the first quarter)….and doesn’t look like it will get any better. Will it cut and run with the WJ and MSC when push comes to shove? Have no idea. 2/3rds is a significant hurdle….but they’ve been driving off traditionals for years, so it’s not insurmountable.

  13. Gary Bebop says:

    Document after document, manifesto after manifesto, bishop after bishop, agency after agency, providing a record as decisive as DNA, testifying against itself as to rebellion against General Conference governance.

  14. Renee says:

    “Divergent Thinkers” is a much better description for liberals in the church than “Progressives”.
    progressive would ordinarily represent heading toward a good or better thing. In theology and in the UMC that is not the case. Being obedient to Jesus and to God’s holy word is what’s important.
    Why not begin calling that movement
    “divergent thinking”!?

  15. Greg says:

    OK, so they are doing what the churches on the other side had been doing and now it is suddenly unethical. Where is the condemnation of the churches (and people) who did so for other reasons. To be clear, I am not making the comment because I agree, but because there seems to be a different litmus test for folks depending on how you view their theology and behavior – which is hypocrisy.

    • td says:

      The reason is that some traditional churches were withholding funds because a number of annual conferences were choosing not to follow the rules of the UMC. The progressive churches and annual conferences are withholding because they didn’t have enough votes to change the rules at the special general conference.

      In either case, however, i think it is wrong- they don’t have the authority to withhold what they are obligated to pay unless they don’t have the money. General conference is the body that has the authority to decide- and our institutuonal bodies should abide by that decision because our UMC is supposed to follow its own rules. There is no right to local nullification.

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