What does “disaffiliation” mean and what does it have to do with FUMC Washington?

Published 4:11 pm Wednesday, September 21, 2022

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Dear Editor:

First, a little background. The United Methodist Church is a “connectional” church, which means that each congregation is a part of a larger world-wide United Methodist Church. Our local church is a part of a district (headed by our District Superintendent Rev. David Blackman) and our district is part of a North Carolina conference (headed by Bishop Leonard Fairley).

Every four years, representatives from all United Methodist Churches around the world come together and, among other things, discuss changes to the rules of the UMC (our Book of Discipline). Briefly, there has been conflict for many years associated with issues concerning marriage between same-sex couples and the ordination of gay pastors. This is the core issue splintering our congregation. The next General Conference will be in 2024.

Meanwhile, there are people who do not want to continue operating under the current rules and have decided they want to disaffliate – to separate from the NC Annual Conference and the entire United Methodist Church and create or join another denomination. Those in our Church who are in favor of disaffiliation propose joining a new, just forming, denomination called Global Methodist Church. According to their literature, the Global Methodist Church seeks to strengthen the language regarding homosexuality and ensure penalties are applied to all who break the rules.

Our Church is following rules set up to pursue disaffiliation. The Church Council has approved calling for an all-church vote. Those wishing to disaffiliate will need to have the consent of 2/3 of the eligible voting members present at the time of the vote. If they do not have a 2/3 majority, we will continue on as First United Methodist Church.

If they do have 2/3 of the votes, all of the buildings and all of the assets held by First United Methodist Church will be transferred to the local congregation (the 2/3 majority) and will end up with the Global Methodist Church.

To remain with the United Methodist Church, we need only 1/3 of the votes. Then, nothing changes. To not vote at all risks giving the GMC supporters everything. Only professing members of First United Methodist Church may vote. For more information, please call the Church office at 252-946-3311.

Janet Cooper