We’ve spent many hours talking about the United Methodist denomination and possible changes coming in the future as factions in the denomination disagree on matters of theology, doctrine, and the practice of ministry. We hoped the future would be clearly defined by the 2020 General Conference, but Covid has pushed that gathering to the fall of 2022. As a result, we find ourselves as a denomination in a place where there is much disagreement about the proper future direction.
As I have shared, the best hope for a path forward Is a proposal known as The Protocol for Grace and Reconciliation Through Separation. Groups from both sides of the theological divide have committed to passing the Protocol so that progressives and traditionalists can both bless the other to move forward in the direction they feel honors God. With the delay of General Conference, the earliest possible date for the passage of the Protocol is the fall of 2022. In the meantime, both groups are working to better define their version of the future of Methodism. If the Protocol passes – and most believe it will – annual conferences, clergy, and local churches will have the freedom to choose to remain in the UMC or move their affiliation to the yet-to-be-created Global Methodist Church (GMC). The UMC is expected to become more progressive, and the GMC will retain the orthodox traditional theology of the current Book of Discipline. All United Methodist churches and clergy are supposed to abide by the Book of Discipline, but the progressive movement has been and continues to act outside the rules of the Book of Discipline.
Click thislink to read an article written by Rev. Chris Ritter, a United Methodist pastor in Illinois who is one of the leaders in the movement to create the traditional-believing Global Methodist Church. His article clearly outlines the differences between the UMC and the GMC following the passage of the Protocol. While specifics may change, the article provides a good overview of the major differences in the future as envisioned by each group.
We will gather to talk about the future of Shady Grove soon. For now, take the time to read Ritter’s article. I would encourage you to pray about your beliefs regarding the issues Ritter outlines and the future direction you feel is best for Shady Grove.
As always, I’m available to discuss in more detail.
I hope you have a great summer! If you’re blessed with the opportunity to travel, visit a local church wherever you find yourself on Sunday morning!