Future of the UMC
the future of umc
In the United Methodist Church General Conference determines the overarching theology, policies and procedures for all United Methodist Churches. General Conference 2024’s main focus will be finding ways forward for the denomination concerning ongoing differences within the worldwide denomination concerning the role of LGBTQ+ persons in leadership within the UMC and the ability for clergy to perform same gender weddings.
There are multiple legislative proposals before the General Conference. These include proposals to restructure the global church for greater regional decision-making and proposals to make it easier for groups of churches to leave the denomination and form new denominations.
Some churches have chosen to disaffiliate from the denomination instead of waiting for General Conference decisions. This includes churches across the theological spectrum. By default, current United Methodist Churches remain United Methodist and are not required to vote on staying United Methodist. Churches that desire to leave the denomination can go through a process called disaffiliation. Disaffiliating from the UMC requires a super-majority (2/3) of members of a congregation to vote to leave the denomination; payments as determined by one’s Annual Conference for property and benefits; with procedures as determined by the church’s resident (area) Bishop.
what does cumc believe?
At CUMC we are a congregation of diverse experiences and theological beliefs. We share the core beliefs of our historic creeds. We all understand the Bible as God's word for us, but how we read and understand that in our lives differs.
As a congregation we commit to live like Jesus by welcoming and loving everyone in our church, our community, and beyond. All means all – no exceptions. For our full welcome statement click here.
The pastors at CUMC believe that every person, no matter gender, sexual identity, race, or ability has been created by God and is loved by God - and therefore should be loved by us. Our congregation has many families with LGBTQ+ family members, and seeks to welcome everyone with Christ's love. Lay leadership at CUMC is based on one's discipleship and giftedness to serve. Our pastors are currently restricted by the Book of Discipline and unable to officiate same-sex marriages, but they can be involved in the services. Please contact a pastor if this is your desire.
what is cumc leadership council doing?
Every 3-4 months Pastor Jake shares with Leadership Council a detailed updated about developments as we live through these uncharted times.
CUMC’s Leadership Council is committed to staying informed of continued conversations on the denomination and Annual Conference levels. Updates will be shared via the Midweek Minute.
If you have questions or would like to see the full updates shared with Leadership Council, please contact Pastor Jake ( ) , Pastor Mira ( ) or Michelle Williams ( ), Leadership Council chair.
Highlights of the updates and any Leadership Council announcements (most recent at top):
September 2023 Highlights
- Annual Conferences across the United States held special sessions to approve churches wishing to disaffiliate, with the Susquehanna Conference approving 141 disaffiliation requests in May 2023. This is about 17-18% of the Susquehanna Annual Conference churches.
- Since 2019, over 6,200 congregations have disaffiliated from the UMC, with about 4,000 of those leaving in 2023. HOWEVER this means there are still 24,000 UMCs in the US representing 4.5m people. This represents 80% of UMCs staying UMC.
- General Conference will happen April 23-May 4, 2024 with more clarity forthcoming on proposed legislation. The most significant legislation is a plan for Regionalization. This plan would organize the UMC into 8 regions all with powers to pass legislation and amend sections of the Book of Discipline for their own context and missional needs. The United States would be one of the Regional Conferences.
- If a regionalization plan becomes the focus of General Conference, it is unclear whether the consideration of prohibitions against LGBTQ clergy and marriage will be addressed in 2024, or will wait until after the regionalization plan goes into effect if passed and then the US as a region would vote on a way forward just for US churches.
- Leadership Council members were encouraged to watch Rev. Adam Hamilton speaking at the North Carolina Annual Conference 2023 for more details. (Adam Hamilton presentation at North Carolina Annual Conference 2023)
- On February 8, 2023 Leadership Council wrote this letter to the congregation about the Future of the United Methodist Church and Disaffiliation. After the meeting with Dr. Salsgiver, prayer, and discernment; The Leadership Council has affirmed Carlisle United Methodist Church is not pursuing disaffiliation. A full church vote on this matter is only necessary when a church is pursuing the path of disaffiliation. As a result of the decision by the Leadership Council to remain a United Methodist congregation, a vote by our church body is not required. Congregational Letter
- Dr. Tom Salsgiver, Special Assistant to the Bishops, shared an evening with leadership of Carlisle, Hickorytown, Middlesex and Otterbein UMCs. He and Rev. Dr. Kind are both doing meetings based on their availability. Details of his presentation and answers to questions will be shared with all congregations. Notes from Jan 8, 2023 meeting (link)
- In Susquehanna Annual Conference our Bishops have said they do not intend to hold any special Annual Conferences for disaffiliation. Any churches wishing to disaffiliate will be approved at our regular Annual Conference in May 2023. Other Annual Conference have chosen to hold early/special Annual Conferences resulting in disaffiliations this fall and winter.
- The Susquehanna Annual Conference Trustees changed the cost of disaffiliation for churches in October 2022 to be 2 years Shares of Ministry, unfunded pension liability for UMC retired clergy, and 1% of assessed property value. The third item was previously a value close to 65% of property value.
- Numbers have not been published of churches in our Annual Conference seeking disaffiliation; though many are considering or voting as a congregation.
- Dr. Kathy Kind, Director of Connectional Ministries of the Susquehanna Annual Conference, is doing informational sessions about disaffiliation for interested churches. After conversation with other local Carlisle area UMC clergy, the pastors collectively are requesting a meeting to learn more.
- proudtobeumc.com is a new initiative through Church of the Resurrection for churches seeking to remain United Methodist. After reviewing the posted material and discussion, Leadership Council voted to add our name to this growing number of churches in line with their March 2022 decision.
- The Council of Bishops and Judicial Council determined churches leaving the UMC must follow a process set by the Trustees of their Annual Conference meeting minimum guidelines that include 2 years Shares of Ministry and a portion of the unfunded pension liability of retired clergy.
- Misinformation about reasons to leave the UMC, UMC theology, disaffiliation process and impact of global Methodist Churches has been significant. A primary strategy of misinformation has been to claim that the UMC is planning to abandon core affirmations of faith like the divinity of Jesus. This is false. The historic core doctrines of the United Methodist Church are in our Book of Discipline and cannot be changed – even by General Conference.
- September 8 African Bishops stated their desire to remain United Methodist and seek unity.
- In the Susquehanna Annual Conference the costs currently associated with disaffiliation are high enough most churches are not disaffiliating. A network of 175 churches in our Annual Conference are organizing to petition for lower disaffiliation costs.
- Leadership Council stands firm in their March 2022 decision to remain United Methodist at this time and keep appraised of developments to and through General Conference 2024.
March 2022 Highlights
- General Conference, to determine the future of the UMC, was postponed until 2024.
- On May 1, 2022 a new breakaway denomination, The Global Methodist Church, launched. The Global Methodist Church intends to be a denomination of theologically traditional churches who disaffiliate from the UMC.
- Details on how churches and pastors can disaffiliate are to be clarified at an April 2022 meeting of the UMC Judicial Council.
- The CUMC Leadership Council prayerfully voted on the following resolution clarifying that CUMC intends to remain in the UMC. “Following a motion by Kerm Leitner and a second by Wayne Henderson, the Leadership Council unanimously approved the following resolution: Carlisle United Methodist Church does not plan to join the Global Methodist church. We, as a Leadership Council, do not believe the Global Methodist Church would be a good fit for our congregation. With our strong ties to the United Methodist Church and belief in welcoming all people to be part of our church we believe we can best live out our mission and vision by remaining United Methodist. We intend to remain in the United Methodist Church and remaining in the UMC does not require any church vote.”