Press Release: UMC Africa Initiative Consultative Meeting on the Future of the Global UMC

UMC Africa Initiative on February 27, 2020

Earlier today, we received the following press release from the UMC Africa Initiative.  

 

Clergy and lay leaders from the three Central Conferences of Africa, representing the UMC Africa Initiative from thirteen annual conferences, gathered in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 24th to 27th February 2020 to discuss the future of the global United Methodist Church. Our discussion was centered on the proposed Protocol for Reconciliation and Grace through Separation that is expected to come before the 2020 General Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in May 2020.

After vigorous discussion and critique, the leaders of the UMC Africa Initiative have decided to support the passage of the implementing legislation of the Protocol for Reconciliation and Grace through Separation.

Our discussion on the Protocol became necessary because of the concerns it had raised among members and delegates from the three central conferences. Following a critical evaluation of the proposed Protocol and its implications for the UM Church in Africa, we felt deeply disappointed that Africa was not adequately represented at the negotiating table to present the concerns of the African church. We also felt that the Protocol, in its current form, is unfair to United Methodists in Africa due to its alignment of us with the post-separation UM Church by default, its attempt to deprive the traditionalist church in Africa from maintaining the “United Methodist” name and the cross and flame, and its allocation of resources.

Despite these concerns, in the common interest of the global church and the church’s need for an amicable separation, we decided to support the passage of the implementing legislation of the Protocol at the forthcoming 2020 General Conference.

At the same time, the UMC Africa Initiative urges the following amendments to the proposed protocol.

1. That the traditionalist church in Africa may maintain the “United Methodist” name and cross and flame, with modification. For United Methodists in Africa, the name “United Methodist” and the cross and flame have indelible history and legacy. They have become a great symbol and witness to our ministries across our continental connection and bear significant spiritual and legal impact on our missional activities in Africa. The ability to continue using a form of the name and logo would greatly benefit the mission and ministry of the church in Africa.

2. That a vote of 57 percent be the basis for determining the decision of a central conference to join the new traditionalist Methodist Church. We consider it unreasonable for United Methodists in Africa to have to vote to maintain our traditional beliefs. Nevertheless, for the sake of furthering amicable separation, we urge a 57 percent vote to determine a central conference status. This change would yield consistency with the annual conference threshold and place the central conferences on an equal footing with annual conferences in the United States.

3. That the Protocol implementing legislation ensure that every central conference, annual conference, and local church be permitted to vote when it desires to do so under the processes of the legislation without any form of suppression or coercion by anyone.

The leadership of the UMC Africa Initiative reiterates its support for the passage of the implementing legislation for the Protocol for Reconciliation and Grace through Separation.

Signed,

  1. Rev. Dr. Jerry P.Kulah, General Coordinator
  2. Rev. Dr. Kimba K. Evariste, Congo Central Conference Coordinator
  3. Mr. Simon Mafunda, Africa Central Conference Coordinator
  4. Rev. Dr. John Pena, West Africa Central Conference Coordinator
  5. Dr. Muriel V. Nelson, Women’s Wing vice- chair
  6. Dr. Pacis-Alarine Irambona, Active secretary Women’s Wing and Young People Representative
  7. Rev. Forbes Matonga, Member, Zimbabwe West Annual Conference
  8. Rev. Dr. Julius Sarwolo Nelson, Member, Liberia Annual Conference
  9. Rev. Dr. Henriette Lokoto Okele, Member, Central Congo Annual Conference
  10. Mrs. Khuliswa Masiso, Member, South Africa Annual Conference
  11. Rev. Philip Adjobe, Member, Cote D’Ivoire Annual Conference
  12. Rev. Lazare Bankurunaze, Member, Burundi Annual Conference
  13. Mr. Louis Aboua, Member, Cote D’Ivoire Annual Conference
  14. Mr. Rukang Chikomb, Member, South Congo Annual Conference
  15. Mrs. Dorothée Abedi Tulia, Member, North Katanga Annual Conference
  16. Rev. Odongo Wilton, Member, Kenya-Ethiopia Annual Conference
  17. Rev. Bartolomeu Dias Sapalo, Member, East Angola Annual Conference
  18. Chief Prosperous Tunda, Member, East Congo Annual Conference
  1. Comment by JR on February 27, 2020 at 10:48 am

    I agree with those points.

    I’d like to see Rev. Dr. Jerry Kulah renounce the amendments proposed by his Liberian conference, as they run counter to the passage of the Protocol.

  2. Comment by William on February 27, 2020 at 4:12 pm

    Could be that a traditionalist majority block of vote is developing in order to amend this protocol in a more fair traditionalist direction. It should not be difficult for the traditionalist delegates to reach common ground in offering up amendments, beginning with allowing the African churches to maintain the United Methodist name and the cross/flame as they separate into the new traditional Methodist denomination. And, they would likely be able to easily agree on a modified voting threshold amendment for conferences and churches — like simple majority.

  3. Comment by Rev.Carol Alois Ososo on February 27, 2020 at 12:36 pm

    Good deliberations, we support your views and continue focusing on the greater picture of equality on any negotiation and representions right from the start.

  4. Comment by Brad Pope on February 27, 2020 at 6:07 pm

    The African/Liberian conferences seem to be the only UMC groups that have a grasp on reality. I certainly don’t blame them for wanting these tweaks. I just can’t believe traditionalists agreed to this here in the US. It is a deal that doesn’t even pretend to be balanced, it is a finger wag in the face to traditionalists.

  5. Comment by JR on February 28, 2020 at 12:57 pm

    They agreed because they saw the writing on the wall – that they were not going to get a single traditionalist bishop in the US for the foreseeable future, that there were limited funds available and got a reasonable portion of them, and that they’d be allowed to jump with their buildings.

    I would guess that they are also putting a high enough bar in place to plan to be the *only* traditionalist offshoot.

    I would also guess that the WCA actually *wants* a high bar on the separation vote. The more pure the group, the less difficulty in getting them aligned.

  6. Comment by Joe Rech on February 28, 2020 at 12:42 pm

    If must have umbrella UMC then individual churches up to top leadership must be clearly identified as THE Methodist Church or LBGQ Methodists; that way I will know I am not going into a heretical church. THE MC gets to keep the symbol, and the building 3 blocks from our nation’s capitol.

  7. Comment by Rev Gezu Mossissa on February 29, 2020 at 9:13 am

    The African initiatives Were not including countries like Ethiopia South Sudan and other countries to deal with the country representatives so this kind of decision is only for the Liberian delegates not for all in addition to this when they are calling to South Africa we hav3 neve4 been there so from where do they developed this kind of proposal For this kind of decision .majority of the African church representatives have never been with this kind of proposal so it is better to revise and get all countries participating for voting as well as for any kind of proposal forwarded to general conference of 2020 is not including all of us.so let the African initiative leaders be with all Africans including Ethiopia.As a United Methodist church leader in Ethiopia we never accept any kind of personal decision .God likes unity in a diversity .why separation?if so how many African church leaders participated ?be transparent for this kind of decision.we have never decided yet .we are waiting for 2020.

  8. Comment by Rev Gezu Mossissa on February 29, 2020 at 9:23 am

    Let us see with all African representatives again in order to decide .in addition to this we all Africans have different perspectives about this issue so the amendment must be revised and signed by all the African United Methodist church leaders including South Sudan and Ethiopia.

  9. Comment by Gary Bebop on February 29, 2020 at 11:52 am

    I would like to see more African comments here and fewer inanities by American bloviators. Let’s hear what the Africans have to say about the next Methodism. After all, they are a growing church, not a flaccid institutional relic.

  10. Comment by Obang Olumo Okello on April 18, 2020 at 4:32 am

    It is a great news that can guid us in the way that will lead majority fellow Christians in to prosperity, peace and love. We, Ethiopia United Methodist Church agreed to work by following the foot steps of our forefathers John Wesley as pure African Christian who believe the multiplication to fill the earth through one man and one women. We will continue by condaming the law of gays and lesbians.
    In the name of our mighty God.
    Amen.

    OBANG OLUMO OKELLO
    ETHIOPIA UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

The work of IRD is made possible by your generous contributions.

Receive expert analysis in your inbox.