I shared with traditional worship this past Sunday and will do the same in contemporary worship on 2/23, the goals and vision for Carmel UMC in 2020. As a United Methodist denomination during these uncertain times it is difficult to navigate the issues of sexuality, marriage and status of clergy. There is and probably will be increasing conversations and questions. I will keep you apprised of information as it becomes available. I do so cautiously as there are copious amounts of communication from all viewpoints and the media as well.
While I was on sabbatical in January, a designated group of 13 people from all diverse viewpoints met and developed proposed legislation titled “Protocol” to be presented at General Conference. This appears to be the proposal that is receiving attention as we move forward.
Before I speak to the “Protocol” I want to remind us that the General Conference will be held May 5-15 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. General Conference is convened every four years and membership is comprised of both elected clergy and elected lay persons representing United Methodists around the world. Rev. Adriane Curtis was elected to serve this General Conference.
The Protocol provides in depth information about the proposed separation of The United Methodist Church. The document addresses the many aspects of legalities, finances, property, etc. Next steps and the schedule for those steps are included in this document. If this document is accepted, our annual conference would begin implementation under the leadership of our Bishop and District Superintendents. It is at this point in the process the individual local churches will need to make decisions about alignment. I have provided the document, “Protocol” and other resources for your reading at the end of this message.
I share with you that I lead at this time with a very heavy heart for our denomination and for myself as clergy. This will be a very difficult time for us at many levels. I will continue to lead with what I believe is a steady hand. It has already been a difficult journey with many twists and turns as the politics of the church are not that much different than the politics of our government. There has been, and will continue to be, passionate discourse from all viewpoints. I will continue my stance that I do not ignore all of this energy and when decisions are final, decisions will need to be made by the leadership of Carmel United Methodist Church. But until such a time, awareness of what is happening is necessary but I feel that it cannot be our focus for today because first, we are called to be growing in our discipleship and sharing in ministry in our community and our world. To be consumed by the energy of this process to the neglect of the needs today seems counter to what Jesus would want for Carmel UMC.
I am always available for conversation and questions. I hope that you will join me in much needed prayer for wisdom for those who will be serving at General Conference and that personal agendas may be set aside for the greater good of the Kingdom.
Protocol Resources 2/08/2020
Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace through Separation Legislation to GC 2020 (released 2/7/20): https://www.gracethroughseparation.com/legislation
Genera Protocol Website for more info and updates: https://www.gracethroughseparation.com/
Protocol Negotiated Agreement with Signatures: https://cdnsc.umc.org/-/media/umc-media/2020/01/03/15/48/Protocol-of-Reconciliation-and-Grace-through-Separation
Protocol FAQ: https://www.umnews.org/en/news/protocol-of-reconciliation-and-grace-through-separation-faq
Structure Plans Comparison Chart: https://www.umnews.org/en/news/comparing-plans-headed-to-gc2020-revised-12-2019
Response of Bishop Trimble: https://www.inumc.org/bishop/bishop-trimble-shares-statement-regarding-the-recently-proposed-separation-agreement/
Advance Daily Christian Advocate (Other legislation, no Protocol): https://www.resourceumc.org/en/content/general-conference-2020-advance-daily-christian-advocate
Rev. Patti Napier