The council said the new church will officially come into existence when a United Methodist General Conference adopts the implementing legislation for the Protocol for Reconciliation and Grace through Separation. Alternatively, if it becomes apparent that the leading bishops, centrists, and progressives who covenanted to support the Protocol no longer do so, then the council will consider bringing the new church into existence without delay. Local United Methodist churches, annual conferences, and central conferences will then be able to join the new denomination.
“The primary mission of the Global Methodist Church will be to make disciples of Jesus Christ who worship passionately, love extravagantly, and witness boldly,” said the Rev. Keith Boyette, who serves as chairman of the Transitional Leadership Council. “Over the past year the council members, and hundreds of people who have informed their work, have faithfully and thoughtfully arrived at this point. They are happy to share with others a wealth of information about a church they believe will be steeped in the life giving confessions of the Christian faith.”
With the announcement of the new church the council authorized the release of a comprehensive and detailed website. It includes the new church’s mission statement, vision, information about its name and logo, a frequently asked questions section, and downloadable versions of the church’s Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline in English, French, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish. The website clearly notes that “the Global Methodist Church is in formation” and will officially launch when the Protocol is approved, or if it becomes apparent that an amicable and orderly separation no longer has the support of a broad coalition of leading bishops, centrists, progressives, and traditionalists. In the case of the latter, the Transitional Leadership Council will consider bringing the new church into existence without delay.
In light of the Protocol a group of theologically conservative UM Church leaders met in Atlanta, Georgia, the first week of March 2020. The group included several traditionalist bishops, evangelical advocacy group leaders, and other clergy and laity who identified as theologically conservative. Over the course of three days the leaders agreed to an expansive vision for a new Methodist church, and then nominated the members of the Transitional Leadership Council, assigning them the task of forming the new church.
At the time of the Transitional Leadership Council’s formation, no one knew the Covid-19 pandemic would result in the postponement of the UM Church’s 2020 General Conference. Like many other UM Church leaders, the traditionalists who met in Atlanta anticipated the passage of the Protocol in May of last year and intended for the Transitional Leadership Council to form the new church and oversee it until it could hold a convening General Conference.
Despite the postponement of an in-person General Conference, the Transitional Leadership Council has been meeting almost weekly since March 2020. As is evident in its Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline, the council has approved the Global Methodist Church’s core confessions of faith, hammered out a transitional governing structure, and adopted the new church’s name and logo. The council has emphasized fidelity to the historic teaching of the Christian faith, and a desire to be a truly global church.
In the “Frequently Asked Questions” section of its website the new church states, “Women, like men, will be called to serve in the Global Methodist Church and will be entitled to serve at all levels.” The section also says, “As a truly global church the denomination will be ethnically and racially diverse and will insist on the equal treatment of all the church’s members.”
The Transitional Leadership Council will continue to prepare for the official launch of the Global Methodist Church. It meets on almost a weekly basis and regularly receives extensive reports from task force groups dealing with everything from the necessity of a local church’s board of trustees to theological statements regarding the sacraments of baptism and holy communion.
“True to our roots, we’re a patient and methodical people,” said Boyette. “We want to do our very best to help theologically conservative local churches, laity and pastors navigate the transitional period as smoothly as possible. And then we look forward to the Global Methodist Church’s convening General Conference where we hope the duly elected delegates will find what we have done to be helpful. It will be their great task and responsibility to discern God’s will and so help all its local churches and people live fully into the body of Christ.”