January 4, 2020
Dear Friends in Christ,
Many of you have seen various reports from different media outlets in the last two days concerning a proposal for the future of the United Methodist Church. For those of you who have not already heard about these matters, I wanted to make you aware. And for those of you who have heard these media reports, I wanted to clarify some of the things that have been said.
Some media outlets have incorrectly reported that the United Methodist Church announced on Friday morning that the denomination is splitting. This is not true. What is true is that a group of key leaders within the United Methodist Church has put forward a proposal that will be considered at our General Conference, which will be May 5-15, 2020 in Minneapolis. However, this proposal is simply that: a proposal. Nothing will be official until the General Conference meets in May. The proposal, which is called The Protocol for Reconciliation and Grace through Separation, is significant because it comes from many different perspectives within the church: traditionalist, centrist, and progressive. The Protocol will receive careful and prayerful consideration in May when the General Conference meets.
I encourage you to read the information from official United Methodist News agencies. The media outside the church does not always understand the subtleties and nuances of how our church operates. I am providing for you below a list of links where you can receive accurate information concerning the Protocol:
- Click here for a press release from our Council of Bishops.
- Click here for the actual text of the Protocol for Reconciliation and Grace through Separation.
- Click here for a list of frequently asked questions and answers. Note: this is very helpful and informative.
- Click here for a response from our Resident Bishop of the Western North Carolina Conference, Paul Leeland.
Here is what I would encourage you to take away from these statements:
- Nothing has changed at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church. These proposals will not even be considered until May of this year.
- Whatever is decided in May of 2020 will take several years to go into effect.
- I will keep you informed as to all of these developments as they continue to unfold.
- I am available to discuss these matters with you personally. Any member or friend of the church may call the church office to set up an appointment to meet with me in person. Many of you attended one or two of our information sessions that we have had over the last 18 months. If it becomes apparent that another information session is needed, I will certainly arrange for one.
- Please pray for your pastors and other leaders of Mt. Zion United Methodist Church. We will need to support, encourage, and love one another over the coming days, weeks, months, and years.
- I will repeat what I have said several times before: Mt. Zion United Methodist Church welcomes all people to participate in the ministries of our church, no matter their race, nationality, age, sexual orientation, socioeconomic or other status.
- Our mission as a church remains the same: We are called to make disciples for Jesus Christ. We are called to mature disciples for Jesus Christ. And we are called to mobilize disciples for Jesus Christ. It's all about Jesus Christ. May we always keep our focus on Him!