On January 3, a news release came out from the Council of Bishops that mentioned a new proposal for The United Methodist Church. The document is called, “Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation.” The proposal is an attempt to get around differences of opinion regarding matters of human sexuality. Like many of you, as well as Iowa Bishop, Laurie Haller, I was hoping our denomination could stay together, but this appears to be impossible. The proposal is a faithful attempt to move forward.
Some key features of the proposal are . . .
- Formation of a new Methodist Traditionalist denomination.
- Annual Conferences, by a 57% majority, could vote to join a new Methodist denomination.
- By a majority vote, local churches could choose to join a different denomination than the one their conference joins.
- $25 million would be paid over four years to a new traditionalist denomination with no further claims to United Methodist assets.
- The Protocol requests that all judicial and administrative complaints around LGBTQ matters be suspended.
General Conference legislation for the Protocol is currently being worked on. The proposals around human sexuality will be open for amendments at the 2020 General Conference in Minneapolis, May 5-15. If the proposal is passed, Iowa United Methodists will have a special meeting this fall to vote on whether to become a new traditionalist denomination or continue to be The United Methodist Church, where all prohibitions are removed regarding the ordination of LGBTQ clergy and same gender weddings.
I feel the Protocol is a good way to move forward. With the ongoing tension and difficult conversations that have taken place over the years, I am hopeful this is a positive step. I ask that you keep our denomination, as well as our elected delegates, in your thoughts and prayers.
Through all this, I want to state once again that “Lovely Lane will remain Lovely Lane.” We will continue to welcome, accept, and affirm all persons without regard to sexual orientation. We will share God’s love in all we do!
I remain blessed to serve as pastor of this wonderful congregation! Scott