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CLUB 444: for UM Christians and More

May 18, 2022

Dan Powers, friend and colleague, wrote this three days ago and graciously is giving me permission to share it with you here – – –

“I’m not praying only for them but also for those who believe in me because of their word. I pray they will be one, Father” (John 17:20-21 CEB)

     Others, including myself, have written about the central issue in the impending split in my denomination, the United Methodist Church. However, I haven’t seen as many address the aftermath of such a division. With no claims to being a modern prophet, here is what I foresee as a likely scenario for the two major resulting parts of that separation, the United Methodist Church (UMC) and the Global Methodist Church (GMC): 

First of all, after the split, there will still be LGBTQ persons and advocates of inclusion in the GMC and Traditionalists in the UMC. Why? Several reasons, both realistic and more thoughtful.

Because their whole family goes to your church and they want to be with them.

Because there are only 3 or 4 churches in many small towns and they aren’t Catholic, Baptist, or Pentecostal so they only have yours left to attend.

Because they’re stubborn and don’t want to change churches.

Because they love your church and want to see it change.

Because people who are LGBTQ and their advocates and those with Traditionalist views aren’t going to stop being born, or coming to the realization of who they are or what they believe.

Secondly, after division, the issues around sexuality and the church won’t go away just because a new denomination is formed or leaves. In both the UMC and GMC there will still be:

Internal disagreements

Public protests

Resolutions voted on at General Conference or some other decision making body

Third, society won’t stop changing no matter whether the GMC and UMC separate or not.

     So with that likely future in mind, the question I see is; Why split?

  • Nothing will be solved.
  • People who disagree will still worship with us.
  • What will we have gained?

     Of course I am not naïve enough to believe that those who started this ball rolling will stop it now. There will be two or more denominations out of the present one. The UMC and GMC and others will have different paths for the foreseeable future.

     But what they won’t have is unanimity or an end to the debate within or without.

     And one day, perhaps many years in the future, they may find their way back together.

     So, not for this reason alone, I will be staying with the UMC, and I will hope that many of you as individuals and churches will do the same.

     If we’re going to have to wrestle with this issue afterwards anyway, why not wrestle with it now together?

     Will it be frustrating? Yes.

But it will not be less so apart.

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