Author: Mainstream UMC
The One Church Plan is 100% committed to the unity of the Church. Nearly 2/3 of our Bishops and a unanimous Judicial Council agree that there is room for different beliefs and practice within our Church. The United Methodist Church is made better when we challenge each other’s understanding of the Scriptures. This is part of our DNA going all the way back to John Wesley and continuing in our debates around slavery and the ordination of women. The Traditional Plan is committed to a church where everyone must think alike. Schism is the ONLY path to having a church where everyone thinks alike.
Rev. Tom Lambrecht, the Vice President of Good News, has appealed Decision 1366 of the Judicial Council on only one part of their decision: the part that allows the church to split.
The conservative-leaning high court for the denomination ruled unanimously in October that 40% of the Traditional Plan is unconstitutional. This was a dramatic blow to those who would force out everyone who disagrees with one interpretation of Scripture. A key component of what was struck down was the so-called “Gracious Exit” provisions. In fact, it has been made abundantly clear by many on the far right of our denomination that this “Gracious Exit” is really designed for the Wesleyan Covenant Association and others to leave the denomination. Now it looks as though the leadership of Good News also wants to help facilitate the creation of a new denomination by reviving the language that allows for schism.
Lambrecht argues that Paragraph 41, referenced by the Judicial Council in Decision 1366, is only about a local church “transferring from one annual conference to another” not to another denomination—which he believes should be allowed. Lambrecht writes in part:
[T]he provisions of ¶ 2801.10-12 deal with a “change of affiliation” from an annual conference within The United Methodist Church to a newly created “self-governing Methodist church” that is plainly not The United Methodist Church and, in fact, is independent of the UM Church. As such, ¶ 2801 deals not with transfer within the UM Church but withdrawal from the UM Church to join or form a different church body (which may or may not even have annual conferences). Thus, there is no “direct conflict,” as maintained by Decision 1366. Paragraph 41 of the Constitution and ¶ 2801 deal with entirely distinct issues.
Of all the things the Judicial Council struck down of the Traditional Plan, the ONLY piece being appealed is the part that allows schism.
Unity in Christ means embracing difference. Our time will be better spent working on getting along with one another, rather than finding ways to get away from one another. The General Conference 2019 will be deciding what kind of church we want to be: United in Christ or divided up into small echo-chambers. Let’s pray the General Conference follows the lead of the other two branches of leadership, the Bishops and the Judicial Council, and votes for unity.
Read Lambrecht’s entire appeal HERE
Read the complete Judicial Council Decision 1366 HERE
Read about the Wesleyan Covenant Association’s desire for schism HERE
Read the Mainstream UMC newsletter about the Traditional Plan HERE