UM News published two stories in the past week about UMC reorganization and dissolution proposals that moderate and progressive groups have sent to the 2020 General Conference. One set of petitions was reviewed at the UM Church of the Resurrection’s annual Leadership Institute last week, attended by nearly two dozen Eastern PA Conference members concerned about the denomination’s future.
The Leadership Institute hosted annually by the UM Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kan., typically offers resources and advice to church leaders for growing their congregations. But this year some 2,500 attendees—who mostly hold centrist or progressive views on the church’s inclusion of LGBTQ members—gathered to consider petitions and strategize about the denomination’s fragile future.
About two dozen Eastern PA Conference members attended the event, after some had attended a previous meeting there in May organized by the UMC Next group.
The Rev. Jason Perkowski, in a Facebook post, cited the institute’s teaching sessions on managing systemic change and communicating a clear vision for discipleship. But he also valued worship insights on the critical interpretation of Scripture with care for how it impacts people.
“Traditional and Progressive Christians each honor Scripture and God,” he wrote in his post, “but we need to have honest conversations about how our interpretations impact others and the process that we’re using for the interpretive work. I’m praying we can find some ways forward for the church.”
The UM-Forward coalition is proposing legislation to the 2020 General Conference that would dissolve the UMC and form different global churches in its wake. The New Expressions Worldwide, or N.E.W., Plan legislation says the new Methodist expressions would be traditionalist, moderate, progressive and liberationist in orientation. UM-Forward identifies as a collective of United Methodist liberationists, who seek to advance the liberation of the marginalized — namely people of color and LGBTQ individuals. Several Eastern PA Conference members attended the group’s May meeting in Minneapolis. Learn more…