As members of The United Methodist Church debate the church's stance on human sexuality, some congregations are considering whether they wish to leave the denomination. During this challenging time, misinformation about the church's official positions, how a church can exit, and what the future holds is causing added stress for many. Ask The UMC has created this series of FAQs designed to help dispel false information and provide accurate answers to the questions we are receiving.
Below is an index of the questions responded to in this series. Jump to the index.
Is The United Methodist Church really...? (Part 1)
This is the first in a series of articles to address misperceptions and misinformation about the future of The United Methodist Church and the process of disaffiliating from it.
Is The United Methodist Church really...? (Part 2)
Ask The UMC responds to misinformation being spread about the policies of The United Methodist Church regarding human sexuality and whether they have changed or will soon be changed.
Is The United Methodist Church really...? (Part 3)
The third in a series of articles to address misperceptions and misinformation about disaffiliation and The United Methodist Church.
Is The United Methodist Church really...? (Part 4)
Ask The UMC continues to answer questions, address misperceptions, and counter misinformation about The United Methodist Church and the process of disaffiliation from it.
Is The United Methodist Church really...? (Part 5)
Do we have to choose between The UMC and the GMC? What happens if an elected delegate disaffiliates?
Is The United Methodist Church really...? (Part 6)
We respond to more of your questions about The United Methodist Church, disaffiliation, and the effects of disaffiliation including property retention and legal counsel.
Is The United Methodist Church really...? (Part 7)
We address matters related to the Boy Scout settlement, variations in disaffiliation policies from conference to conference, and what retired clergy need to do if the congregation in which they are active disaffiliates.
Is The United Methodist Church really...? (Part 8)
We explain why Paragraph 2553 does not apply in central conferences and describe extended or supplemental disaffiliation policies in six US conferences.
Is The United Methodist Church really...? (Part 9)
We discuss the future of Paragraph 2553 after its expiration at the end of 2023, two conferences where disaffiliation is no longer possible under Paragraph 2553, and whether non-disaffiliating clergy currently appointed to churches that disaffiliate will be immediately appointed elsewhere upon the church's disaffiliation.
Is The United Methodist Church really...? (Part 10)
Re-voting, seminaries, same-sex weddings, and critical race theory are the topics in Part 10 of the series.
Is The United Methodist Church really...? (Part 11)
Part 11 of the series answers questions about the process of voting on a motion to disaffiliate at a called church conference.
Is The United Methodist Church really...? (Part 12: Where are we now?)
Part 12 of the series answers questions about the status of disaffiliation in the denomination during the lull between regular annual conference sessions and the special sessions scheduled later this year (2023).
Index of questions addressed in this series
Is The United Methodist Church really...
Down over 20% relative to the number of congregations or members it had before disaffiliation began in 2019?
Mostly done with disaffiliations at this point?
Unsure how many more churches will request disaffiliation in 2023?
Raising apportionments for the congregations that remain part of The United Methodist Church?
Splitting at this time?
Asking all local churches to vote on whether to remain in The United Methodist Church or join the Global Methodist Church?
Asking traditionalists to leave the denomination?
Ignoring or refusing to implement the Discipline's statements, restrictions, and requirements regarding practicing homosexuals and same sex weddings?
Failing to punish those who violate the Discipline?
Allowing local churches that refuse to pay apportionments (as the Wesleyan Covenant Association is now directing) to “get away with it”?
Doctrine and beliefs
About to alter its doctrine to deny the virgin birth, the divinity of Jesus Christ, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, or salvation through Christ alone?
Intending to change the Bible?
About to change its statement on abortion from life-centered to pro-choice?
Teaching things in its seminaries that are contrary to the doctrinal standards of The United Methodist Church?
Endorsing critical race theory or about to endorse it?
Going to require local churches to host same-sex weddings? What if their appointed clergy are allowed to and willing to do so?
Going to require its clergy and clergy candidates to agree to offer same-sex weddings as a condition of candidacy, status, or appointment?
Ordaining drag queens and supporting worship of a “Queer God?”
Forcing or going to force congregations that do not want a self-avowed practicing homosexual as a pastor or deacon to accept one?
Going to drop all prohibitions related to human sexuality at its next General Conference in 2024?
Immediately dropping all prohibitions related to human sexuality, now that the Global Methodist Church has been officially started?
Process of disaffiliation
Ending United Methodist Church memberships of those whose local church disaffiliates?
Going to extend the life of Paragraph 2553 at the next General Conference?
Prohibiting congregations from disaffiliating under Paragraph 2553?
Able to allow congregations to sidestep the requirements of Paragraph 2553 in the Book of Discipline by using Paragraph 2548.2 as an alternative path to disaffiliation?
Telling local churches considering disaffiliation not to seek legal counsel?
Permitting 10% of the professing members of a local church to sidestep conference requirements that a request for a called charge conference to vote on disaffiliation come from a church council or other leadership body of a local church?
Allowing annual conferences and their boards of trustees to set their own terms for disaffiliation over and above those set forth in Paragraph 2553?
Ending scholarships for students who are members of local churches who disaffiliate, or who may disaffiliate themselves?
No longer providing coverage under the settlement agreement with Boy Scouts of America for UMC congregations that disaffiliate?
Saying that Paragraph 2553 does not apply in the central conferences?
Providing for a “disaffiliation bridge” between the end of 2023, when Paragraph 2553 expires, until whatever process the 2024 General Conference may approve becomes effective?
Allowing congregations to re-vote if their church conference vote to request disaffiliation failed to reach the mandatory two-thirds majority?
Requiring that only professing members of the local church, and all professing members of the local church, are eligible to vote on a motion to disaffiliate at a called church conference?
Requiring that persons be present at the church conference in order to have vote on a motion to disaffiliate?
Counting votes to abstain as votes against the motion to disaffiliate?
Validating voters as eligible to vote?
Requiring a written, secret ballot?
Providing for the security of the ballots cast?
Clergy and leadership
Allowing congregations that disaffiliate to retain their current appointed pastor or deacon?
Going to appoint non-disaffiliating clergy elsewhere should the congregation(s) they serve disaffiliate?
Allowing congregations that exit the denomination to continue to offer the same pension and health benefits programs to their clergy and staff?
Requiring retired clergy who hold charge conference membership in churches that vote to request disaffiliation to move their charge conference membership?
Allowing clergy and laypersons elected as delegates to General or Jurisdictional Conference to serve if they have disaffiliated?
Property & assets
Letting churches in multi-point charges retain their property, including parsonages, if the local church that actually owns the parsonage disaffiliates?
Prohibiting disaffiliating local churches and United Methodist individuals from retaining assets in United Methodist foundations and credit unions?
This content was produced by Ask The UMC, a ministry of United Methodist Communications.