UMC Way Forward Updates

What’s happening in The United Methodist Church denomination?

In February 2019, a special session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church convened in St. Louis, Mo. The session was called by the Council of Bishops to solely address human sexuality in The United Methodist Church. The delegates were assembled to consider three plans from the Commission on a Way Forward.

Delegates passed the Traditional Plan, which would “affirm the church’s current bans on ordaining LGBTQ clergy and officiating at or hosting same-sex marriage. It also boosts penalties and accountability for transgressions of those bans,” according to a report from United Methodist News Service. The Traditional Plan is in effect as of January 1, 2020.

Since then, several groups have gathered to offer alternative options for a way forward. Legislation has been submitted for consideration and possible enactment by the General Conference when it meets again in May of 2020.

What’s happening in Michigan about this?

In a series of votes taken on June 1, 2019 on matters related to the 2019 and 2020 General Conferences, the UMC Michigan Annual Conference expressed aspirations for greater inclusion of LGBTQ persons, by roughly a 2/3 margin.

What’s First United Methodist Church of Ann Arbor’s position?

We are a United Methodist Church committed to inclusion. At FUMC-A2, we welcome everybody! While our denomination is conflicted over full inclusion of the LGBTQ community, we have been a welcoming and inclusive congregation since 2007 and that is not going to change! We believe that the gospel message is clear — love your neighbors, welcome the stranger, reach out to the oppressed and those in need. Therefore, whatever happens as the United Methodist denomination confronts the division in its membership, we will remain committed to affirming the sacred worth of all people and welcoming all into the life of our church community.

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Web Resources and Links:

New: Learning Session Resources  |  1/28/20

New: Video Interview with Protocol Team  |  1/13/20

Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation | 12/17/19

Comparison of Proposals to UMC General Conference 2020

United Methodist News Service

Michigan Annual Conference

Mainstream UMC

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Recent News Articles:

Bishop Releases Statement on Separation Plan  |  1/3/20

New York Times and Washington Post articles on UMC separation protocol | 1/3/20

United Methodist Traditionalists, Centrists, Progressives & Bishops sign agreement aimed at separation | 1/2/20