A dramatic General Conference delay imposed by majority faction of the Commission on the General Conference.

Why Further Delay UMC General Conference?

John Lomperis on March 14, 2022

In a relatively closely divided vote last month, a predominantly American faction of the Commission on General Conference chose to block the United Methodist Church’s General Conference meeting before 2024. General Conference’s further delay is now the fifth major change since the event was originally scheduled for May 2020.

To be clear, this was an extraordinarily cynical, credibility-shattering decision, driven by a political pressure campaign from institutionalist bishops, caucus activists, and denominational agency officials.

This dramatically escalates a pattern of certain United Methodist leaders disregarding such values as following proper procedure and treating others as they would like to be treated, in order to dramatically filibuster our denomination’s processes and shut down vital United Methodist business.

The reasons expressed for this delay lose credibility when we review the facts of how the Commission operated. 

In a must-read, whistle-blowing exposé, one Commission member resigned in protest over how he had previously trusted that the rest of the commission members as well as General Conference staff “were doing all they could to ensure the postponed General Conference would be held as scheduled this summer,” but now he “no longer believe[s] that to have been true” and has “lost trust in the integrity of the process.” The objective facts make clear that the Commission’s majority faction and its apportionment-salaried staff chose not to do their jobs of working hard to ensure General Conference could happen this year with fairness and integrity, if at all possible.

The official press release announcing General Conference’s further delay, along with propagandists defending this decision, make three basic arguments for why General Conference allegedly cannot be held in any form in 2022, or even 2023. One is professing concern for keeping delegates safe from COVID-19. A second concern is non-U.S. delegates securing travel visas. Third, the press release and others rely entirely on one very incomplete study to suggest that General Conference could not be held in any virtual, distributed, or hybrid format.

On the first, the reality is that COVID-19 will not completely disappear, but the world is moving on with a lessened, managed threat. The World Health Organization has reported that Europe may soon transition into a sort of “ceasefire” with the virus, while even beleaguered Africa is now on track to get COVID-19 under control in the continent this year.

Accordingly, travel and other restrictions are easing. Major denominational assemblies and international conferences are back to meeting in-person this year, including the very liberal United Methodist Women 2022 Assembly. The majority of American United Methodist annual conferences, including the relatively urban Northern Illinois Conference and the would-be host conference of Minnesota, are expected to meet largely in-person this year. Even in a video defending this filibuster, liberal leader Tom Berlin let slip his excitement about how “the pandemic effects are lifting” in his area.

Remember, leaders and delegates from some parts of Africa requested help accessing potentially life-saving COVID-19 vaccines, which would enable them to attend General Conference legally and safely. Amazingly, leaders of the Council of Bishops and the Commission on General Conference (both groups dominated by liberal, institutionalist Americans) refused to help with this African plea for assistance!

If New York Bishop Thomas Bickerton, president-elect of the Council of Bishops and the Council’s representative on the Commission, had supported either group helping, he likely could have made it happen.

We even saw the same leaders and caucus activists not only stridently oppose “any effort” to help African delegates who asked for help, but even denounce anyone else who tried to help them! 

This is not the behavior one would expect from anyone sincerely concerned with protecting delegates from COVID-19.

In any case, African leaders had publicly reported to the Commission the results of a detailed, months-long survey, which found that about 90 percent of African delegates had been vaccinated against COVID-19, with the remaining 10 percent “expected to take their vaccine shots before May, 2022.”

Furthermore, Commission insider Joe DiPaolo now reports that at its January meeting, the Commission asked for its own report on how many delegates had received Covid-19 vaccines (required to enter the country). But Gary Graves, the openly biased Secretary of the General Conference, suspiciously chose to wait until less than 48 hours before the Commission’s fateful February 24 meeting to even begin seeking such information. In DiPaolo’s words: “It is hard not to conclude that the staff never took the request seriously and were scrambling at the last minute to cover themselves. Despite the short notice, however, Graves reported that he had received about 500 responses, with more than 90 percent indicating they had received at least one vaccination….”

The surprise rush to make such a drastic, final decision in the Commission’s February 24 meeting, rather than in the Commission’s March meeting as had been widely expected, makes little sense from the outside. Unless, perhaps, those predetermined to delay General Conference feared that if they waited another month, COVID numbers would continue improving, restrictions would ease further, and “COVID safety” would become a less believable pretext.

As for the second reason, securing enough visas to prevent massive disenfranchisement of non-American delegates is a genuine concern.

But it is not a new concern. This is a major challenge, requiring some frantic scrambling and calls, for every General Conference. Thirty-one African delegate seats were lamentably vacant at the last General Conference. While the pandemic brought additional challenges, travel restrictions have been easing, and United Methodists from formerly “difficult” countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo have received U.S. visas within less than a month. 

Some have wildly tossed out a statistic that supposedly up to 30 percent of delegates from non-U.S. central conferences may not have been able to get U.S. visas to attend General Conference. But where did this number come from? Amazingly, DiPaolo reports that “no supporting analysis or documentation” was presented when this statistic was promoted to the Commission.

In a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy, the Commission’s majority faction effectively complained that long wait times in some countries meant that if they were to now issue required invitation letters to non-U.S. delegates, some may not get visas in time. But the Commission and its staff have known since February 2021 the 2022 General Conference dates and location. Yet, DiPaolo reports (basically confirmed by African leaders) that the staff chose to never issue invitation letters to delegates. If they had done their jobs and issued letters months ago for delegates in countries now experiencing long wait times, then this would probably not be the same issue it is now.

Furthermore, DiPaolo reports that the General Conference staff acknowledged that some non-American delegates already have multi-year visas to enter America while others had figured out how to get visas from neighboring countries in which wait times were shorter—but the staff offered the Commission no detailed analysis of how such possibilities might be used to maximize full global participation!

For its part, the leadership of the Africa Initiative, the widest, most representative network of African United Methodist leaders, reported that challenges for Africans securing visas to travel to the United States have now “been significantly resolved.” In its open letter to the Commission, the Africa Initiative urged the long-delayed General Conference to finally be held this year, declaring: “Absolutely no one should use Africa’s perceived challenges as reasons to further postpone 2022 General Conference. We are ready to participate!”

Furthermore, it has been reported that non-American Commission members, especially those from Africa, overwhelmingly favored letting General Conference happen this year. 

If visa challenges in bringing delegates to America were more than just a convenient pretext, why not hold General Conference in another country with less restrictive border policies? After all, the Africa Initiative letter offered for General Conference to be held in Africa if it became unfeasible to meet in the States, and shared that they had already researched possible venues.

The lengthy announcement of the Commission majority faction’s decision did not even acknowledge this possibility.

So in delaying General Conference, the Commission’s ideologically institutionalist, mainly American, mainly white majority faction chose to disregard genuinely representative voices of African leaders, paternalistically declare what was allegedly best for them, and rely on undocumented propaganda as well as their own chosen failures to do their homework.

The professed concern for full African participation is curious, when some of the very same Commission leaders, General Conference staff, and others responsible for this new General Conference delay having clear track records of disrespecting, marginalizing, and effectively disenfranchising African leaders in denominational decision-making, as an ongoing pattern.

One major secondary effect of this General Conference delay, doubtless appreciated by the majority faction, is that, for at least two more years, this dramatically keeps Africans in their place by preventing denominational leadership positions from being geographically re-allocated to reflect Africans now officially have an outright majority of our global denomination’s membership.  Among other things, this filibuster keeps African voting membership on the Commission itself limited to 28 percent, and prevents Africans from even getting the five additional bishops to which they were entitled to receive in 2020 (and even that shift would still keep African representation on the Council of Bishops below 30 percent).

In any case, in 2022, the rest of the world is demonstrating that major international conferences can now be held in safe and inclusive ways.

The 2022 Winter Olympics physically gathered some 2,874 athletes, from a much wider range of countries than General Conference delegates, in addition to staff, coaches, and nearly 100,000 spectators. But the best minds in the UMC bureaucracy could not figure out how to gather 862 delegates and a dramatically smaller number of others?

The Episcopal Church, whose lead liberal United Methodists often seek to follow, is holding its General Convention in-person this year. While a larger portion of Episcopalians are in the United States, that is also an international denomination, with an entire diocese in Taiwan, as well as multiple dioceses and hundreds of congregations in Latin American countries.

Meanwhile, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the very international Seventh Day Adventist Church, are pioneering new ways of holding their equivalents of General Conference in hybrid formats this year.

Could the Commission not have learned from what other large denominations are able to do?

It appears that the Commission’s leaders and staff never seriously bothered to research such possibilities.

Which brings us to the third issue, of how the Commission’s majority faction relied entirely on a single report by a technology study team to rule out the possibility of overcoming travel challenges by holding General Conference in a hybrid, virtual, or distributed format.

But that technology study team report was woefully incomplete. It makes broad, vague, and sometimes debatable assertions with little to no documentation. It even judges one main challenge to be “difficult, but not impossible.” That report is also ridiculously outdated, having been finalized in February 2021 and citing concerns that were explicitly limited to 2021.

It cannot be overstressed how much the world has changed since then. In addition to what is already mentioned, our close sister denomination, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AMEZ) Church successfully held a summer 2021 General Conference in a hybrid format, after the naysaying report. The AMEZ also includes a significant African constituency. In Firebrand magazine, Dr. David Watson shares details of how this other large Methodist denomination was able to make a hybrid, international General Conference work, and save money.

Reportedly, Kim Simpson, the Commission’s very partisan chair, was given contact information for a key AMEZ leader, in order to learn from their experience. But neither Simpson nor any other representative of the Commission ever contacted him.

Furthermore, I am reliably told that Bishop Thomas Bickerton was sent, and acknowledged receipt of, information on how the AMEZ denomination was able to successfully hold an international, hybrid General Conference in 2021.

DiPaolo reports that neither Simpson nor Bickerton shared with the full Commission even the fact that they had been given such information.

Simpson refused to answer questions for this article. Bickerton did not immediately respond to my request for comment.

So one significant factor in the newly imposed General Conference delay was the fact that key leaders of the Commission had information on how a sister denomination had been able to hold a successful international, hybrid-format General Conference, but they chose to not fully investigate this, but instead chose to withhold this information from other commission members! Let that sink in.

If this further delay was not a cynical, politically driven filibuster, and the Commission leadership and staff were truly committed to doing their jobs by letting General Conference happen this year if possible, one would expect them to act very differently.

So if the publicly claimed reasons for this further General Conference delay do not add up, then what might be the real reasons? 

There appear to be two main driving forces. These are also the most logical explanations for how the same people who pushed to filibuster General Conference so stridently opposed helping African delegates who sought help accessing Covid-19 vaccines (an effort which, among other things, removed one major pretext for delaying General Conference again).

First, the 2022 General Conference was likely to pass the carefully negotiated “Protocol” separation treaty, and a sub-faction of the most strident caucus activists, bishops and other institutionalists were increasingly panicking. The Protocol would force major, painful, one-sided concessions exclusively on United Methodists who support our denomination’s official doctrinal and moral standards. But for some liberal United Methodists, it appears that no amount of sacrifices (financial or otherwise) they impose on others are ever finally enough. A prominent coalition of liberal caucuses even criticized evangelical leaders wanting General Conference “take place without further delay” and oddly connected this to protesting the Protocol’s financial settlement. But the reality of the Protocol’s financial settlement is that it would split the inheritance from our currently shared denomination so that liberals would permanently take over some 85 percent of our denomination-wide unrestricted net assets, then this changed to 88 percent, and then to 92 percent. Yet institutionalist liberals pushing for this anti-Protocol filibuster effectively screamed that they are the ones being asked to give up too much.

So in a word, greed.

Second, we cannot ignore the wider context of liberal anger, vengeance-seeking, and even hatred against theologically traditionalist General Conference delegates (especially from Africa) and caucuses since the 2019 General Conference’s adoption of the Traditional Plan. This has included wealthier, predominantly white American liberals imposing blunt “collective punishments” against African United Methodists. Liberal leaders demonstrated a special level of contempt for African General Conference delegates when they effectively declared that they would rather help anyone else on Earth access potentially life-saving vaccines than those people.

The mere fact that traditionalist leaders and caucuses were publicly eager to hold General Conference this year seemed to be enough to turn many liberals against the idea.

The negative impacts are far from one-sided. Some liberals will now leave the UMC in exasperation.

For the sake of orthodox believers who decide to separate this year, I support the Global Methodist Church launching this May and am happy to work with the GMC.

But a great many more will stay or even feel trapped, and the Commission’s decision will provoke much greater conflict.

Any liberals reading this should abandon any delusions of being rid of traditionalists like me after May 1.

As long as a significant traditionalist constituency remains and official United Methodist doctrinal and moral standards remain traditionalist, we at IRD/UMAction are committed to staying and continuing to advocate for these values within the United Methodist Church, and for accountability for clergy and other church leaders who betray the church.

We can build on the work we have done with others to pass the Traditional Plan in 2019, when so many thought that that was impossible.

We ultimately need a more comprehensive solution than the Discipline’s inadequate current processes.

If any good-faith partners for peace remain, we at IRD/UMAction are still willing to work to adopt the Protocol as soon as possible. But once again, if there turn out to be no remaining liberal leaders willing to compromise for the sake of mutually laying down our swords, then we traditionalists may have little choice but to once again push through our own solutions, without the glaring injustices of the Protocol.

3/17/2021 UPDATE: An earlier posting of this article had reported that after African leaders requested help for their delegates being able to access COVID-19 vaccines, “the Council of Bishops … refused to help with this African plea for assistance.” But it is not clear if every individual member Council of Bishops as a whole was made aware of this specific request. The facts remain, however, that top leaders of the Council of Bishops were made aware of this plea and chose not to help, and that the Council of Bishops as a whole never helped directly address the obvious need of COVID-19 vaccine access for General delegates from vaccine-poor countries. The wording of this article has been tweaked to better reflect these nuances.

  1. Comment by David on March 14, 2022 at 1:31 pm

    Perhaps the time is long overdue for Africans to have their own church.

  2. Comment by David Livingston on March 14, 2022 at 2:59 pm

    We were never under any illusion that you would be leaving the denomination. Your desire to cause turmoil is too strong for that.

  3. Comment by Reynolds on March 14, 2022 at 3:42 pm

    John,

    I happy to see that truly understand who you are dealing with. They want a war that the cannot win unless the orthodox surrenders. I still believe the liberals will use tactics to delay a vote on the Protocol in 2024. You will need to pass language that makes them want to leave. I understand this is not the battle the WCA wants but you have to fight the battle you are in. I am glad to hear that you will not leave orthodox churches behind without a fight. If the orthodox churches stick together the fight will be over in 2028. No war goes as planned and always last longer than anticipated. If you mind and will are in it for the long haul, GMC will prevail. Again it is only another 6 years.

  4. Comment by Gary Bebop on March 14, 2022 at 4:06 pm

    “The heavens are brass” in response to John’s arguments, and no matter how precise and cogent the arguments may be, there invariably will be a commenter who will reduce everything to “our African problem,” as though Methodism could be saved from civil war by snipping Africa from The United Methodist Church. the balderdash of such a comment is astonishing.

  5. Comment by Michael Reaves on March 14, 2022 at 5:11 pm

    The author has a talent for making an argument that everything the UMC does is conspiracy-driven against Good News/WCA/GMC. Of course, he’s been at this for a long time. Bravo.

  6. Comment by td on March 14, 2022 at 5:30 pm

    Personally, traditional supporters of the protocol should take seriously the idea that maybe, just maybe, it is possible that the holy spirit is working against adoption of the protocol. Or at least proposing a reconsideration. If gc does not meet until 2023, that means the protocol will be at least 3 years old. Will it even be an agreement by then? Will it be relevant?

    Perhaps both progressive and traditional united methodists need to seriously consider if there are existing established churches that actually more fully meet their needs and the world’s needs- and within institutions that actually follow their own rules and actually teach their teachings.

    If it weren’t for the relationships and property within existing um churches, there probably would be little reason to keep the umc afloat. The umc has not had unifying beliefs for decades. Truly, progressives would probably find a better home with episcopals, Lutherans, presbyterians, and unitarians; traditionalists would probably find a better home with catholics, Anglicans, free methodists, and nazarenes.

  7. Comment by MJ on March 14, 2022 at 6:19 pm

    “Perhaps the time is long overdue for Africans to have their own church.” – David

    Actually they do, David. It’s called the United Methodist Church.

  8. Comment by Anthony on March 14, 2022 at 6:38 pm

    1. What are the names, church addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers of the 24 members of the Commission on the General Conference?

    2. Where is the directory of the staff employed by the commission, their headquarters, and contact information?

    3. The vote was 14-9 to postpone with one abstention. What was the breakdown of the individual votes?

    WE PAY THEIR SALARIES AND EXPENSES AND DESERVE NOTHING LESS THAN ACCESS AND DIALOGUE WITH THEM.

  9. Comment by Lee Cary on March 14, 2022 at 8:44 pm

    “To be clear, this was an extraordinarily cynical, credibility-shattering decision, driven by a political pressure campaign from institutionalist bishops, caucus activists, and denominational agency officials.”

    John, you pen this as though it comes as a surprise!

    The lesson of this Methodist saga is this: That which progressives cannot compromise nor wholly own they seek to destroy.

  10. Comment by Rev. Wade Compton on March 15, 2022 at 1:06 am

    John,
    Thank you so much for once again ripping the thin mask off of the motives and reality of liberals. What did you find? Lies, deceit, manipulation, obfuscation, etc etc.
    What does one always find when you pull off their masks? Lies, deceit, manipulation, obfuscation, etc, etc.

    The great tragedy for the Orthodox believers and Christians within the UMC is that they treated the liberals as fellow believers with different opinions in spite of the mountain range of evidence over all of these 5 decades to the contrary. Now, when the last dagger has been premeditatively placed in their backs they appear to have awakened to the reality that always stood right before them.

    How foolish the nine pre-conference Global gatherings for the commission on the way forward! How foolish the idea that liberals would abide by the decisions of the general conferences of 2016 or 2019! How foolish the spending of 6.7 million dollars on these gatherings! How foolish the idea that the college of Bishops in the western jurisdiction would pay any attention to the decisions of the judicial council! How foolish to try and get the bureaucracy of the umw to change their leopard spots to give options to Orthodox Christians! How foolish to fall into the deceitful games calling for, “Holy Conversations”! How foolish…!
    unitedmethodistabsurdity.com

  11. Comment by Steve on March 15, 2022 at 10:42 am

    I don’t see how waiting for more traditionalist votes from Africa to be at GC is an anti-traditionalist move.

    I get that some traditionalists want to leave the UMC now for the GMC that say they will have the same Book of Discipline the UMC has except for the removal of the trust clause. Of course, there are other Methodist denominations that offer the same for traditionalists.

    This all seems bizarre to me. It is obvious that the progressives are losing and they know it. They are holding on to whatever they can. But they can’t stop the inevitable. Unless the traditionalists give them what they want – leave.

  12. Comment by Gary Bebop on March 15, 2022 at 4:47 pm

    I was surprised to see a swift kick from David Livingston posted here. He’s one of the Methodist illuminati, someone self-qualifying to guide the narrative. That’s the true vocation of the institutional mandarin in 2022: preaching the narrative.

  13. Comment by td on March 15, 2022 at 5:48 pm

    David livingston- perhaps the turmoil is caused by church leaders that refuse to follow their own rules and refuse to teach the faith.

  14. Comment by Pat on March 15, 2022 at 6:16 pm

    Thank you, John for the article. The false prophets in leadership positions in the UMC are doing all satan is having them do to destroy the real UMC, remove traditional pastors and of course the greed is very apparent.
    The goal is to keep the property, manipulate the local church and when all falls apart financially, will sell the closed church properties to keep afloat for a few more years.
    If the new Global Methodist Church uses the top/down management approach and the local church and district levels have no control, the GMC will fail as well.
    The intentional delay is an open attempt to destroy any hope for the GMC and may succeed as many local church members will leave due to the delay and the fact traditional folks in leadership positions are not able to enforce the current book of discipline and remove all the false prophets and leaders of the UMC. Breaks my heart, but there are many Bible preaching, John Wesley churches with different names and I fear member exits to those churches will rapidly increase sooner rather than later.
    It is no longer about the UMC, but about we, as members attending a Bible believing church where Christ and His father God, our creator lead.

  15. Comment by Anthony on March 15, 2022 at 6:55 pm

    John — will you please talk with us regarding this release from PNJ:

    “The Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church has distributed to its members a “Sample Comity Agreement between the UMC and the Global Methodist Church” for local church exits under the provisions of Par. 2548.2. .

    It is important to note that the Wesleyan Covenant Association has not agreed to the COB version of the text, so it is not a true comity.

    Negotiations have been underway for several months. The Council of Bishops seems ready to recognize the Global Methodist Church when it forms on May 1. It also verifies that exits under Par. 2548.2 are possible. This is a significant step toward an amicable separation this year.

    We should note that the Council of Bishops has no authority over the actions of individual bishops or annual conferences. But a model for amicable terms of exit beyond disaffiliation is extremely helpful.”

  16. Comment by Steve on March 15, 2022 at 9:41 pm

    Anthony,

    I’m sure they will agree on a comity agreement.

    With the African church dramatically increasing in membership (and traditional votes), the progressives realize that their only hope is to delay reapportionment (giving the Africans more of a vote at GC) and getting enough U.S. traditionalists to leave the UMC to offset the African votes. Even then they may not have the votes to outnumber UMC traditionalists given the decline in progressive members.

    The GMC is giving the progressives what they want while taking on progressive pastors in traditional churches that will start the process all over.

  17. Comment by Jeff on March 17, 2022 at 3:20 am

    Write another strongly worded letter, John! That’ll teach ’em!

    [Until the GMC and WCA and IRD recognize that they are dealing with frank heresy, and vigorously call it out as such, no progress will be made…]

  18. Comment by Brandon M on March 17, 2022 at 5:12 pm

    I pray our African brothers and sisters take over the whole thing, in the name of Jesus

  19. Comment by Bruce C. Sdunek on March 19, 2022 at 10:17 am

    Guess they still don’t have to votes to destroy the UMC. Satan is still trying. Thanks for the update, John.

  20. Comment by Anthony on March 19, 2022 at 11:19 am

    The vote by the liberal dominated Commission on the General Conference to postpone the 2022 General Conference – that was to vote on the Protocol Of Reconciliation And Grace Through Separation – further reveals the agenda of the liberal dominated UMC hierarchy.

    Preserving as much of the INSTITUTION as possible with its MONEY, ASSETS, PROPERTIES, POSITIONS, SALARIES, BENEFITS, ET AL, opening a back door for an official LIBERAL THEOLOGY, and extracting as much money as possible from departing traditional-orthodox congregations is the goal, even if in hidden agenda form, of most UMC liberal leaders.

    The favored plan for accomplishing this, led by liberal bishops, liberal general church boards, liberal general church agencies, and the influential liberal organization — UMCNext — calls for a restructuring of the denomination into an INSTITUTIONAL COLLECTIVE of self-governing, autonomous regions, each with its own Book of Discipline.

    Therefore, this next UMC would preach, teach, and proclaim two diametrically opposite theologies simultaneously and define UNITED as unified in THEOLOGICAL DIVERSITY on such matters as Biblical Authority, Marriage, Sin, the Gospel & Repentance, Ordination Standards.

    This all envisions an INSTITUTION supported by apportionments from all of the regions while being administered by a majority liberal bureaucracy and governed by a majority liberal institutional General Conference.

    Therefore, TRADITIONAL-ORTHODOX METHODISTS who elect to REMAIN in the next United Methodist Church

    🔺would be compelled to compromise or reject traditional-orthodox understanding of Biblical Authority and, instead, support, condone, or have complicity with a new understanding as Scriptures could be categorized, at the discretion of the reader, into three categories
    consisting of (1) Scriptures that express God’s heart, character, and timeless will, (2) Scriptures that expressED God’s heart, character, and will for a particular time but no longer binding, and (3) Scriptures that never expressed God’s heart, character, or will,

    🔺would be compelled to compromise or reject traditional-orthodox beliefs on Christian marriage and, instead, support, condone, or have complicity with same-sex marriage and other types of LGBTQ+ marriages with the marriage ceremonies officiated by UMCNext ministers inside UMCNext sanctuaries,

    🔺would be compelled to compromise or reject traditional-orthodox beliefs regarding the sins of sexual immorality and, instead, support, condone, or have complicity with welcoming into church pulpits practicing homosexual clergy, other practicing LGBTQ+ clergy, and, together with their partners, occupancy of the church parsonages,

    🔺would be compelled to compromise or reject traditional-orthodox beliefs regarding the sins of sexual immorality and, instead, support, condone, or have complicity with full inclusion of LGBTQ+ identified persons with their sexual lifestyles and relationships affirmed, even celebrated, thus exempting such from the call of REPENTANCE,

    🔺 would be compelled to compromise or reject traditional-orthodox standards of clergy licensing and ordination and, instead, support, condone, or have complicity with the welcoming into full inclusion LGBTQ+ candidates who are in LGBTQ+ sexual relationships as well as being a safe harbor for LGBTQ+ clergy who are in sexual relationships,

    🔺 would be compelled to support, condone, or have complicity with church literature, including children’s literature, that includes LGBTQ+ and gender identity advocacy,

    🔺 and would, by default, support the TRUST CLAUSE continuance whereby the annual conference, instead of the local congregation, owns the local church buildings, furnishings, grounds, all assets, and financial accounts to do with as it deems necessary for the benefit of the conference.

  21. Comment by Archibald Cafy on March 21, 2022 at 11:52 am

    RELIGION NEWS HEADLINE: March 18, 2031

    The former United Methodist Church officially disbanded today via a zoom meeting of delegates from around the world, but mostly from the U.S.

    The Presiding Bishop of the virtual General Conference, the Most Reverend Dr. Frank/Francis Jacobson, theirownself an self-avowed bi-sexual person, declared that the once large denomination would henceforth be divided into several distinct semi-Protestant organizations, each with a distinctive preference regarding (1) sexual orientation (based on the multiple and flexible articulated genetic categories of New York City), (2) dietary preference (carnivore, vegan, or an ad hoc mix of cuisines), and (3) favorite colors.

    As reconstituted after the final General Conference recently held in the activities room of a Holiday Inn in Newark NJ, the combined membership of the new denominations will slightly exceed 76,000 persons, with nearly all residing on the West and East
    Coasts of the United State.

    Bishop Jacobson led the singing of the hymn “Are We Yet Still Alive” at the close of the Conference.

  22. Comment by Jeffrey Walton on March 21, 2022 at 5:08 pm

    This was clearly intended humorously, but I actually attended a National Council of Churches meeting at a Newark Airport hotel in Elizabeth, New Jersey. The NCC could no longer justify holding meetings in Manhattan, so they moved to Elizabeth to cut costs. Not long after, the NCC shuttered their Manhattan office and consolidated to the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill: https://juicyecumenism.com/2013/02/13/national-council-of-churches-bidding-god-box-farewell/

  23. Comment by Richard P. Dedic on April 30, 2022 at 12:37 pm

    I cannot let this piece of propagandistic trash pass without making some comment. As instigators of this whole brouhaha the IRD disingenuously raises a whole bunch of lies up as if they were instigated by the “liberal, atheists” of the UMC. The truth is that the IRD is founded and driven by the personal greed of their governing body. There was no controversy until the IRD started it because the mainline Protestant churches were getting too involved in social ministries or causes that were affecting a few billionaires bottom line. So they hire propagandists like the author of this piece to spout lies and innuendos to fan the flames of hate amongst their followers toward the UMC as an institution and anyone who would be perceived to be standing in their way. There is anything I can say good about this article. It does express facts only opinions and distortions that fit the IRD cause.

    Shame on anyone associated with bunch. You all need to get down on your knees as pray for forgiveness and a new light of truth and love. Do not be mislead by fools. Throw off the heinous mantle of IRD bribes and other chicanery. Reunite with your true brothers and sisters in the UNC of the future.

  24. Comment by Charles X. Oaxpatu on May 1, 2022 at 4:31 am

    Dear John,

    I am tired of the never-ending traditionalist belly-aching from you and all the others like you in The United Methodist Church. Please join the Global Methodist Church ASAP as it begins the weekend of May 1, 2022—–as was formally announced today in various newspaper and magazine articles.

    The whole purpose of the split between the two major factions is to get away from each other, both in personal presence and voice, and to stay away from each other for as long as both factions shall live on this planet Earth. Both sides are too far apart to stay together under any circumstances whatsoever. It is like asking Independent Fundamentalist Baptists to become Roman Catholics and live together in peace on the same plot of ground. “It ain’t happenin’ now, and it ain’t ever goin’ to happen for a very long time.”

    Neither Methodist side really wants to hear or do what the other side wants to hear or do. If a traditionalist like you decides to stay in the liberal United Methodist Church just to be a pain in the hind end propagandist, I can guarantee that you will be legally, forcefully, and permanently ejected from our churches—–all of you who decide to do so. I can further guarantee that any members of my liberal faction United Methodist Church who decide to do the same will be similarly ejected from your churches.

    The notion of church unity at this point is utterly absurd. That train left the station years ago, and it is not coming back. It is now time to simply say: “It is finished.” Take the papers out of the drawers, sign them, and walk away. The time has come. Just do it!

    Then all of you traditionalists can go off and lick Donald Trump’s shoes to a bright shine, join Q-Anon, believe the myth that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, make the lives of the “least of these” mercilessly hard (or impossible), educate your children at home with ACE nonsense, believe that biological evolution never happened, visit that absurd wooden ark in Kentucky, champion traditional southern racism, build up your gun and ammo collections for the “coming Christian Nationalist revolution,” and believe all of the other crazy nonsense people like you are so thoroughly sold out to.”

    I have said it before—–quite sincerely—–here on Juicy Ecumenism, and I will say it again. Good-bye to all of you traditionalists. I hope you will be happy in the Global Methodist Church you plan to create. And good riddance!

    Charles

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