UMC Next

November 15, 2019

UMC Next Plan: Liberalize Church, Protect Abusive Clergy, Crush Out Traditionalists

Talk about overkill!

The ultra-liberal UMC Next caucus has released its “Next Generation UMC” proposal for the 2020 General Conference, consisting of 23 petitions across 33 pages.

UMC Next’s Convening Team includes celebrity pastor Adam Hamilton, Tom Berlin (lead submitter of the misleadingly named “One Church Plan” to the 2019 General Conference), Jasmine Smothers (another Commission on a Way Forward member and “One Church Plan” sponsor), Jan Lawrence (CEO of the LGBTQ liberationist Reconciling Ministries Network), Randall Miller (former head of RMN), Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson of North Georgia, Bishop Mike McKee of North Texas, Junius Dotson (CEO of our denomination’s official “Discipleship Ministries” agency), and key deputies of Chicago Bishop Sally Dyck and Florida Bishop Ken Carter.

This group largely consists of some of the most prominent advocates of the so-called “One Church Plan” (OCP). There seemed to be a lot of hubris among many liberals of being confident that their OCP would pass, because they evidently had not bothered to listen much to its traditionalist and genuine-centrist critics.

In response to our denomination’s highest representative body making clear that the OCP was a bridge too far, the UMC Next proposal represents leading OCP supporters refusing to make any compromises, but instead asking for something even more radical.

Here are key component of UMC Next’s “Next Generation UMC” proposal:

  1. Dramatically liberalize church standards on sexual morality while stifling any room for dissent.
  2. Dramatically erode accountability for clergy misconduct on all other standards.
  3. Have traditionalist believers leave.
  4. Repeat the “Way Forward” process.
  5. Potentially dramatically change core doctrine.

 

 

  1. Dramatically liberalize church standards on sexual morality while stifling any room for dissent.

As I have explained earlier, the OCP would have effectively purged theologically traditionalist believers from key denominational leadership positions.

But at the local level, the OCP paid lip service, however limited, to including and respecting us. For United Methodists who follow Scripture and 2,000 years of consistent global church teaching on sexual morality, the OCP would have at least:

  • Affirmed “that their conscience should be protected in the Church and throughout society under basic principles of religious liberty”;
  • Established a right in church law so that no minister would “at any time be required or compelled to perform…any marriage, union, or blessing of same-sex couples” and that district superintendents would not be allowed to “coerce, threaten, or retaliate against any pastor who exercises his or her conscience to perform or refuse to perform a same-sex marriage”;
  • Provided at least a partial mechanism for a pastor who performs same-sex unions or engages in homosexual activity to be moved away from traditionalist congregations in which this was disruptive; and
  • Only allowed same-sex union ceremonies in a church sanctuary if a majority of local church members had voted to approve having them.

In the UMC Next plan, leading OCP promoters have now dropped all of the above protections.  These omissions would seem to convey a strong message about what UMC Next truly believes and wants for our denomination:

  • They do not believe that the consciences of traditional Christian believers should be protected in either the church or the wider society.
  • They would not object if there were some situations in which United Methodist pastors were commanded to officiate at same-sex unions, and faced coercion, threats, and retaliation if they refused.
  • They do not want any of our congregations tens of thousands of congregations to be allowed to decline to celebrate same-sex unions.

Before February, several questioned how sincerely the OCP’s sponsors truly believed in even the OCP’s very incomplete conscience protections, and how long it would have been before they would seek to repeal such protections at a future General Conference.

By now dropping any pretense, Hamilton, Berlin, and other UMC Next leaders appear to be offering an answer.

Anyone remaining in the UMC would be required to pay a heavy price at the altar of LGBTQ liberationist ideology. Annual conferences could not refuse to submit to a partnered gay bishop, and would not have the same right as under the OCP to even temporarily continue orthodox ordination standards. Congregations could expect official repression if they attempted to resist their bishop’s efforts to impose a partnered gay pastor or have same-sex union celebrations in their sanctuary. Petitions #12 and #13 would effectively require all UMC congregations to pay, through their annual conference and denomination-wide apportionments taken from their offering plates, for efforts “to promote the acceptance of homosexuality.”

Furthermore, Petition #2 in UMC Next’s plan would change our denomination’s governing Discipline to establish a new, official value for our denomination of viewing disapproval of homosexual practice as an evil to be combatted alongside racism, sexism, and xenophobia. Notably, this change would come in a section of the Discipline to which, per Discipline ¶101, all United Methodists around the globe must submit, with no allowance for regional variation. Combined with Discipline ¶336, all future ordination candidates would be screened on whether or not they “approve” and agree to “support and maintain” these new liberal values and policies. Not even earlier Simple Plan of the “Queer Clergy Caucus” went that far!

(Quick tip: there is no honesty in attaching the word “centrist” to any caucus or leader whose agenda is to the left of the Simple Plan.)

Two petitions in this plan (#9 and #19) would establish an indefinite moratorium on the processing of all complaints for clergy accused of violating any of our denomination’s current homosexuality-related standards, to take effect immediately in May 2020. This goes further than simply liberalizing church standards for the future.  UMC Next reveals a great deal about its attitude towards clergy’s covenantal obligations to the church when they try to make all clergy who knowingly violated the church standards they vowed to uphold become entitled to a no-questions-asked free pass, regardless of how harmful and disruptive their unforced covenant-breaking behavior has been.

Furthermore, while it is a bit unclear, these two UMC Next petitions could arguably prevent clergy from being held accountable for engaging in homosexual practice even if they did so outside of the context of a monogamous, civilly affirmed same-sex marriage. Both petitions explicitly grant protection not only to clergy living in same-sex marriages, but also, “without limitation” those living in homosexual civil unions or domestic partnerships. And what if a minister’s homosexual practice, for which s/he faces a complaint, was pursued outside of any such committed relationship, or as a form of adultery? UMC Next’s plan says that their broad ban on accountability for LGBTQ clergy “applies not merely to charges that are explicitly based on ¶ 2702.1(b), but also to any charge that the same alleged conduct constitutes a chargeable offense under any other provision of the Discipline, including (without limitation) ‘immorality’ under ¶ 2702.1(a). For readers without a copy of the Discipline handy, ¶ 2702.1(a) is the precise provision making it a chargeable offense for clergy to be sexually active outside the boundaries of being celibate in singleness or faithful in marriage.

Leading up to February 2019, the OCP’s leading promoters assured us that they could be trusted to keep non-celibate gay clergy accountable to the same celibacy-in-singleness-and-faithfulness-in-marriage standard expected of heterosexuals. Yet between this and the fact that over five out of six OCP-supporting delegates also supported the pro-adultery Simple Plan, it would seem that the long-term revision of the church’s sexual ethics would end up being much more ambitious.

  1. Dramatically erode accountability for clergy misconduct on all other standards.

But apparently, the above does not go far enough for the UMC Next crowd.

Obviously, the 2019 General Conference was shaped by our disagreements about sexual morality and underlying theologies. But it was also shaped just as much by concerns about denominational governance, namely, the degree to which our clergy should be held firmly accountable to the church’s moral standards (in line with our Wesleyan tradition), and how much we should have constitutional checks and balances to protect against bishops acting dictatorially.

Apparently, UMC Next wants much less of both, even aside from homosexuality matters.

UMC Next’s plan would rather recklessly, in multiple different petitions, remove standards and policies from the Discipline that are key for ensuring accountability to ALL clergy standards. Other “chargeable offenses” for which UMC clergy may currently be disciplined include adultery, pre-marital sex, crime, spreading heretically false teachings, undermining the ministry of other pastors, child abuse, sexual abuse, using pornography, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, and embezzling. Apparently, UMC Next leaders are willing to sacrifice victims of these other forms of clergy misconduct under the banner of LGBTQ liberation.

In other words, UMC Next’s plan would make it much easier for bishops and others to dismiss and cover-up the complaints and further hurt of victims of all forms of clergy misconduct.  And taking the UMC Next plan at face value, even if they succeeded in passing their other petitions to remove all disapproval of homosexual practice from the UMC Discipline, UMC Next would still want to dramatically weaken accountability for clergy who commit adultery, abuse people, or commit other non-homosexuality-related offenses.

UMC Next’s Petition #17 would even go as far as repealing one part of our church law, in apparent knee-jerk reaction to the fact that it was enacted as part of the Traditional Plan, even though this particular standard now in our church law was first proposed at the 2016 General Conference and was actually endorsed by the liberal Love Your Neighbor (LYN) coalition.

(Quick tip: if you proposals are actually to the left of what LYN groups like the Methodist Federation for Social Action, the Reconciling Ministries Network, or the Queer Clergy Caucus, then you don’t get to call yourself a “centrist.”)

I suppose a more charitable read is that the UMC Next folk primarily submitted their plan as an angry emotional reaction, seeking to broadly repeal almost anything that has been used in calls to hold accountable clergy who violate our denomination’s homosexuality-related standards, and that they simply did not think through the collateral damage. But if this plan is more a matter of angry venting than careful, responsible thinking, then why should General Conference delegates like me take it more seriously than its own writers may have taken it?

  1. Have traditionalist believers leave.

In the late-nineteenth century, members of our predecessor denominations involved in the Holiness movement (which was deeply rooted in Wesleyan theology) complained that denominational officials of similar prominence to UMC Next’s leaders were “crushing out” believers like themselves.

In some ways, UMC Next’s “Next Generation UMC” plan would seem to follow that same ignoble tradition.

UMC Next realizes that a great many theologically traditionalist United Methodists could not in good conscience remain in such a radically reinvented denomination. So UMC Next’s plan offers provisions for individual congregations, on either side of our divides, to have the option of leaving and paying for their properties, and potentially banding with other departing congregations to form new denominations that may have some ecumenical relationship with the UMC. In some ways, I suppose that allowing for congregational exits represents some progress on the part of UMC Next.

However, the exit terms offered are much less generous than what traditionalists have been willing to offer liberals considering leaving. Among other things, UMC Next makes no provision for an entire dissenting annual conference to leave. One UMC Next petition provides for how if a bunch of congregations left to form a new denomination, they might receive a start-up grant of an unspecified amount.  But not even this UMC Next petition guarantees that this “parting gift” would be any larger than five U.S. dollars. In contrast, the Modified Traditional Plan supported by UMAction and other renewal groups at the February 2019 General Conference would have offered a definite sum of $200,000 as a start-up grant to departing liberal conferences.

Furthermore, over the centuries, our denomination and annual conferences have accumulated a vast amount of property, assets, and reserves – all given to a denomination that was officially loyal to traditionalist, biblical, Wesleyan doctrine.  The UMC Next Plan would dramatically change our denomination’s official, operative theology into something very different from the church to which these generations of gifts were given. But then it would effectively seize 100 percent of this for a reinvented liberal denomination, refusing to share these assets with those now in the UMC who actually continued to hold onto historic United Methodist doctrine.

  1. Repeat the “Way Forward” process.

To sort out remaining details, UMC Next proposes a remarkably similar process to the three-year, multi-million-dollar “Way Forward” process our denomination has just been through.

The parallels are rather striking.  Their plan would again create a new special commission, again named by the Council of Bishops, with a suggested limit of 32 members (again), to submit legislation to be considered at yet another specially called General Conference session.

Ironically, in urging the 2016 General Conference to adopt the first “Way Forward” process, one leading “centrist” delegate made the argument that “if you continue to do the same thing, you will continue to get the same results.”

  1. Potentially dramatically change core doctrine.

UMC Next’s petition for a new commission and special General Conference session includes calling for drafting a new denominational constitution that would include the Methodist Articles of Religion—but oddly makes no explicit mention of the Confession of Faith of the Evangelical United Brethren Church. Currently, both are equally protected in our church law as core Doctrinal Standards. The latter includes some clearer teaching than the former on such matters as the coming judgment day and calling both the Old and New Testaments “the true rule and guide for faith and practice.”

But theological liberals are obviously uncomfortable with such historic, orthodox Christian doctrine on we view core questions about salvation and Scripture.

Leading up to the February 2019 General Conference, the OCP’s supposedly “centrist” supporters spared no breath in repeatedly claiming that they were loyal to our denomination’s historic, constitutionally protected Doctrinal Standards. Will they keep making such claims, now that they at least appeal to be publicly flirting with the idea of repealing the entire EUB Confession of Faith from our Doctrinal Standards?

There are lots of serious problems and troubling implications in UMC Next’s plan. But I see no firm evidence for believing that all of the above is anything other than a fair and accurate representation of the true values and hopes of UMC Next’s Convening Team, bishops aligned with this caucus, and other liberal caucuses.


42 Responses to UMC Next Plan: Liberalize Church, Protect Abusive Clergy, Crush Out Traditionalists

  1. John Smith says:

    The Bishops have long shown by their actions that they do not consider themselves accountable to anyone or anything. Further that ordained elders are only accountable to the Bishops and that those in the pews are simply sheep to be sheared (Pope Alexander would be proud). The only thing surprising here is that they are open about it. I believe they suspect they are going to lose GC 2020 and are laying groundwork for the successor denominations.

  2. Reynolds says:

    Y’all need to drop the Indy plan and vote no on all plans. If no plans pass, then by default you have the Indy plan. GC 2020 is going to be a shit show and it is easier to get everyone to vote no so people do not get confused on how to vote. I think you are underestimating the ways they might use tricks to get their way.

    • JR says:

      Not true – the Indy Plan actually has some ‘stuff’ that isn’t already in play.

      No plan passing = exactly where we are now.

  3. David Miller says:

    The Centrists show their true colors in this plan. To end the fighting the UMC needs to be dissolved. This separation can be on generous terms. However, the Traditionalists should retain the name and core functions of the United Methodist Church. I do not understand the willingness by our side to surrender to the Progressives or Centrists who were defeated at the 2019 Conference.

    • JR says:

      I’m interested. Can you describe these ‘core functions’?

      • John Smith says:

        Core functions that require the other side to relinquish claims? Property, pensions and trust funds.

        • JR says:

          So the Traditionalists complete the takeover, the progressives and moderates get pushed out… and you’ll keep funding the retiree pensions?

          That’s going to last about 3 years.

          • Lee D. Cary says:

            Amazingly, you have it exactly backwards, JR.

          • Earlier this decade, the Progressives in the Presbyterian Church (USA) finally succeeded in overthrowing Biblical sexual ethics in the loosening of the requirements for ordained officers and in the redefinition of marriage from one man and one woman to two people of indiscriminate gender.  In effect, the Progressives “completed the takeover,” and the Traditionalists “got pushed out.”
             
            Over the past decade, the PC(USA) has lost nearly 37% of its active membership, and last year per capita giving was only $1,092.59, whereas per capita giving in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and the Presbyterian Church in America was between two and three times as much—Traditionalists give more to their churches than do Moderates and Progressives.  The Office of the General Assembly (OGA) and the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board (PMAB) have been forced to make deep budget and personnel cuts as a result of this loss of income, and a proposed 39% increase in per capita apportionment this year and an additional 7% increase next year made by the OGA at last year’s General Assembly was renegotiated down to 10% this year and 10% next, after struggling congregations (of which there are a great many in the PC(USA)) complained that this would have been too great a burden for them.  However, as a result of this renegotiation, the PC(USA) will deplete its unrestricted reserves by 2021, and so another significant per capita apportionment increase proposal at next year’s GA is inevitable, as is the expected resistance to such a proposal, especially considering that the hemorrhaging membership losses the PC(USA) annually experiences aren’t likely to be stanched anytime soon.
             
            The PC(USA)’s present reality is the future of the UMC, if the UMC Next caucus were to get its way.  Progressives in the UMC are entrenched in denominational positions of power here in the US, just as Progressives in the PC(USA) have been for decades.  This scenario you envision of Traditional Methodists capturing power and forcing Moderates and Progressives out of the denomination is absurd.  Given the incredible amount of scorn poured out on Traditional Methodists by Progressives in ordained office for daring to thwart them from having their way with the denomination, and their determination to have their own way at whatever the cost, the reverse scenario seems far more likely.  And then the UMC will get to reap the same rewards for its toil as the PC(USA) has.

          • Steve says:

            Assuming Wespath is in charge of the pensions, however things turn out, everybody’s pensions should be secure: Google says they have $21 billion in assets. No reason everybody shouldn’t get the pensions they earned even after a split, but of course depending on what side of the split one is on one might have a different pension plan going forward. That’s how it worked out in the Episcopal Church schism, nobody lost their pension that I heard of. Unfortunately, one has to have sustained well paying work to accumulate a meaningful pension, that’s looking increasingly unlikely in liberal denominations given their rapid decline. This may explain the Episcopal Church’s lack of young clergy.

      • William says:

        With the exception of a few agencies, it’s the bloated, expensive, dysfunctional, unaccountable, and going bankrupt bureaucracy. I say — please take most of it progressives and fund it in that you already control it.

        • Lee D. Cary says:

          In 1997, upon multiple inquiries, I and another elder who inquired, were told that the Board of Global Ministries had a quarter of a billion dollars on hand, while they were still collecting apportionment monies from the General Church.

          When asked why so much, the answer was – to cover on-going commitments into the future.

          Suppose it my have been a self-endowment?

    • Lee D. Cary says:

      “I do not understand the willingness by our side to surrender to the Progressives or Centrists who were defeated at the 2019 Conference.”

      Perhaps this may help: The Progressive/Centrist coalition are more aggressive, focused, organized, and intentional with their mission to define the future (what’s “Next”) of the UMC. You traditionalists are what has been, but that is no longer…modern.

      (You might research the role of the Centre Party in 1930’s Germany. As representatives of the Roman Catholic Church, they eventually yielded to a smaller, better-organized, and more aggressive group, and negotiated the Reichskonkordat – a treaty between the Vatican and the emergent Nazi Party. It didn’t work out so well. )

  4. David says:

    There are lots of plans in circulation these days and I would not get so excited at this point. It is quite possible that none will pass.

  5. Dr. Dan Eischen says:

    If this should pass, the UMC will see significant membership and financial losses including this retired pastor which is what proponents of this plan want. So sad that we are going through this for less than 5 percent of the US population for the sake of equality. If I were not still serving a church I would be gone already but am committed to God’s call on my life to preach as long as I can.

  6. vaughn woodward says:

    Stand for truth of the Gospel Brother Dan! My wife and I left COR 14 years ago because of the liberal “Tickling of ears” that weekly came from Pastor Adam Hamilton. As much as I hate to say, try as you may, you are fighting a loosing battle.

  7. Will says:

    It seems likely that the leftist Bishops no longer believe in salvation and the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. If so, what’s the reason for the Church itself. I left the Presbyterian Church because of PCUSA and I can leave a left-leaning Methodist Church as well.

    • Tom says:

      Find a PCA church near you and join us.

      • John Smith says:

        Would the PCA accept refugees from the heterodox Arminian UMC? Admittedly most pew sitters in the UMC haven’t the faintest idea what I’m talking about but your statement makes it seem the important point of contention is sexual ethics and that differing theologies of soteriology are relatively unimportant and an unnecessary point of division.

        • Yes.  PCA membership is open to anyone who can in good conscience answer the affirmative to all five Membership Vows (https://dentonpresbyterian.com/about-us/):
           
          “Do you acknowledge yourselves to be sinners in the sight of God, justly deserving His displeasure, and without hope save in His sovereign mercy?
           
          Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and Savior of sinners, and do you receive and rest upon Him alone for salvation as He is offered in the Gospel?
           
          Do you now resolve and promise, in humble reliance upon the grace of the Holy Spirit, that you will endeavor to live as becomes the followers of Christ?
           
          Do you promise to support the church in its worship and work to the best of your ability?
           
          Do you submit yourselves to the government and discipline of the church, and promise to study its purity and peace?”
           
          Ordained office in the PCA requires additional affirmation of the Book of Church Order and the Westminster Standards, but anyone who names Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is welcome as a member in any PCA congregation, even if they come from an Arminian UMC background.

          • John Smith says:

            Those look like Denton’s vows rather than the PCA but the question is; can a member hold to the Arminian UMC theology and be a member in good standing in the PCA? If so I would suggest the PCA is facing the fate of the UMC. After all isn’t that what this is all about, members of the UMC that reject the doctrine of the UMC?

          • No, these vows are not peculiar to Denton Presbyterian Church, but are the vows specified in §57-5 of the PCA Book of Church Order.  They are also the membership vows of the EPC (Book of Order §8-3.B.3), and long ago they were the membership vows of the predecessors of the PC(USA).
             
            Membership vows are written to ensure that the members of the congregations are genuine believers in Jesus Christ, and the vast majority of churches do not require congregational members to hold to secondary theological issues specific to the church/denomination.  Ordained officers, on the other hand, are thus required.  Thus, it is extremely unlikely that a committed Arminian would be ordained in the PCA (although some Presbyteries and churches in the EPC do make allowances), but there is no restriction against Arminians becoming members of PCA congregations.

        • Bryan W says:

          I left the UMC in 2014 after an ordained Elder stood up at Fl Annual Conference and said, “no one knows when life really begins” and there was loud applause. At the time, I was the Chairman of my Church Council, I filled the pulpit for my pastor when he was away, and I believed strongly that Calvinism was bad theology. I prayed and read some books written by Reformed authors and not Methodists on Calvinism and came to realize that it isn’t wrong. When I left the UMC, I went to the PCA. When my wife and I joined, I agreed with their theology and she did not. We both had a credible testimony of faith and the specifics of the theology never came into question. I didn’t have to formally agree to the theology until I was ordained as a Deacon in 2018.

          Fighting with Progressives endlessly over real estate and pensions is no way to live out a Christian life. The UMC should split (and perhaps take a second look at Whitefield for your theology).

          • John Smith says:

            I love George Whitefield and am currently reading “The Sermons of George Whitefield” (2 vol set). I hope to make it to his grave in MA one day.

    • John Schuh says:

      It seems that the Arian heresy keeps repeating itself. Clerics follow the lead of those with wealth and power, with the Semi-arians trying to position themselves to switch sides. Maybe all churches should draw ministers from people who work for a living , maybe as tent-makers like Paul.

  8. Reynolds says:

    According to UMC Insight, Africa’s Bishops will support a liberal American conference. If that is true, WCA blew it. Way to take a winning hand and lose

    • Lee D. Cary says:

      Reynolds, keep in mind that there is much truth in the saying that the first casualty of war is the truth. It’s also the first casualty in the sort of debate underway in the UMC.

    • William says:

      One way or the other, there WILL BE a traditionalist option through the WCA!!

      • Reynolds says:

        If they lose the vote, WCA will lose all properties. The PCUSA has been ruthless and so has TEC. when liberals have the upper hand, they don’t give an inch. WCA is about to find out the hard way if Africa goes the way of Hamilton and company

        • Lee D. Cary says:

          Follow the money. Ask: Who will be able, when the dust settles, to pay the African bishop’s salaries?

        • William says:

          If Africa goes with Hamilton, that would be a demonstration of the most egregious hypocrisy EVER committed in the Methodist church. They have said over and over that they cannot be bought or bribed. Besides, this central conference for America idea would require two-thirds approval across the denomination. Don’t believe the famous Adam Hamilton has that kind of power. Now, even Hamilton and gang are cozying up to an exit plan whereby the WCA churches, with or without the Africans, could depart with their properties. Why would Hamilton and gang do otherwise since their goal is to run off the American traditionalists and anyone else who disagrees with them with that UMCNext Plan.

  9. Evelyn McGee says:

    Every time I read this kind of STUFF, I can’t help but wonder “What version of the Bible are they reading?” It surely isn’t the one I read.

  10. Stacey Murdock says:

    I am trying to visualize a UMC without Bishops, Jurisdiction role of coordination of mission and training only and perhaps some form of call system for Clergy all under an umbrella of scripture based theology. Nah, too Weslian.

  11. William says:

    Reading back over this report, there are no words to describe the level of deception that Hamilton and gang are attempting. Calling themselves “centrists” is the biggest LIE ever place before the Methodist Church. First of all, there is no such thing as a center position in this schism, that is, if we’re still a Christian church. Going outside Christianity and borrowing secular labels in order to deceive is heresy at best and blasphemy at worst. But, Hamilton, the shrewd politician that he is, knows that he can perhaps fool sufficient numbers of delegates into believing he’s the peace maker, the one willing to find a way forward down the middle. There is no middle ground and he knows it. This is just subterfuge to get a firmer foot in the door to FULLY liberalize the denomination. These people are obviously children of that true Great Deceiver and are trying to carry out his plan of egregious deception on the Methodist Church.

  12. Brandon M says:

    anything called centrist should be labeled LUKEWARM.

  13. Teresa Harrell Moten says:

    BLOOD OF JESUS COVER those who stands for truths from Bible only and when God steps in all untruths and wickedness will cease.

  14. Rev. Dr. Lee D Cary (ret. UM clergy) says:

    William, you wrote: “This is just subterfuge to get a firmer foot in the door to FULLY liberalize the denomination.”

    To bad your comments are not read from pulpits across the UMC to counter much of the dribble being disseminated by UM bishops to their “sheep”.

    Well done, sir.

  15. Adrew Hughes says:

    We must pray for our denomination and all who are involved in this struggle. It’s a spiritual battle not a secular one.

  16. Cameron Gains says:

    The United Methodist Church began a systematic, sadistic, arrogant, destruction of Christ, God, and the Bible about 10 years ago. They would suddenly replace beloved, traditional ministers with gay, female, non-traditional, divisive and confrontational ministers, and the churches would either split, lose members, or close completely. The woman they sent to Webb City, Missouri was a lesbian, a single mother, black, very racist, and hated America. She removed our American flags from the church, did away with our traditional hymns and even forced us to sing ‘we shall overcome’ and listen to her read sermons by MLK instead of Biblical teachings. The church lost half of its membership and the community was divided and fighting. We left the church because it was obvious that the UMC no longer had anything to do with God.

  17. Warren says:

    Your article list Bishop KEN Carter as a UMC Next Convening team member.
    The UMC Next website does not list Bishop KEN Carter as a team member , your thoughts?

  18. Terry says:

    To get a view of our possible future, look at the photos for City UMC of Gary, IN.

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