May 12, 2021 | By Heather Hahn | UM News

United Methodists in Europe are beginning to make plans for what happens if a proposal for the denomination’s separation wins General Conference approval.

Several European annual conferences have indicated plans to remain with The United Methodist Church. Other conferences expect to join a new, traditionalist denomination should the church eliminate its bans on same-sex marriages and noncelibate gay clergy. Still other conferences are taking a wait-and-see approach.

The COVID-19 global pandemic has postponed General Conference, the denomination’s top lawmaking assembly, from May 2020 to Aug. 29-Sept. 6, 2022, in Minneapolis. That postponement has put on hold any formal separation.

However, the continent’s four bishops see a need to prepare now. By the time the dust settles, they expect the church’s map in Europe to look very different.

“We cannot just sit on our hands and wait until after General Conference has acted,” Nordic and Baltic Area Bishop Christian Alsted said in a May 11 press statement.

“We need to think and prepare proactively for the future and work for as much unity and missional strength as possible, while we ensure that all local churches, clergy and annual conferences are able to live into the future with integrity.”

In planning for the future church, Alsted joined Bishops Eduard Khegay of Eurasia, Harald Rückert of Germany and Patrick Streiff of Central and Southern Europe. Read More