This week, I want to bring you up to date on the process of disaffiliation from The United Methodist Church, which The Fount decided to pursue at its special Church Conference meeting on October 19th.
The vote was 100% in favor of disaffiliating. But that was just the first step. Following the vote, we paid our half of the appraisal costs to have our property appraised, because the annual conference requires that we pay 50% of the appraised value of our church and parsonage property. That appraisal has not been completed, but our estimates based on another appraisal puts the value of all church and parsonage property at around $8 million. Assuming the “official” appraisal will be around the same amount, that means it will cost us about $4 million to leave the denomination.
There are other costs involved in disaffiliating, including paying a whole extra year of apportionments and our “share” of the unfunded pension liabilities for retired clergy. We estimate that amount to be about $115,000.
Obviously, that is not possible for our little congregation! So, we will, no doubt, be asking for a reduction of that amount. Clearly, the objective of the annual conference is to make disaffiliation impossible for most churches. Prayers for favor and grace are needed!
And then, the annual conference has to approve our disaffiliation by a simple majority vote in their meeting in June.
You can see that the road to disaffiliation is not an easy one, to say the least! But we are proceeding in faith, trusting that God will open whatever doors are necessary for us to leave the UMC and to unite with the Global Methodist Church (GMC), a new denomination that is much more in line with our theology. The Lord willing, I will accompany The Fount into the GMC and continue serving as pastor until I retire, which I hope to do in the next two years.
So far, three other churches in our annual conference have voted to leave the denomination. Over 1000 churches in the US in total have voted to leave. Estimates are that there will be nearly 2000 churches disaffiliating in the next few months. Most of those churches will join with the GMC to create a new, vibrant and theologically orthodox Wesleyan denomination, poised to help spark a new Great Awakening!
Amen! May it be so!