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A pastoral letter to laity

Symbols of one's baptism in Christ

This pastoral letter from the Connectional Ministries Team Staff offers a prayer of lament along with the names of the local pastors, clergy, and churches within the Michigan Conference leaving The United Methodist Church.

Connectional Ministries Team Staff, Michigan Conference

This is a pastoral letter to the laity. We believe it is important to name the local pastors, elders, deacon, and churches leaving The United Methodist Church as of July 1, 2023. We offer this prayer of lament.

We acknowledge the grief and lament that comes with separation. For some, there is joy and peace. For others, there are tears and mourning. Many are holding both at the same time. At the 2023 Michigan Annual Conference, the Rev. Grace Imathiu spoke about baptism. Her poignant words remind us: “Baptism says you are a beloved child of God. And as we part, as we come to this new place in our history, whether you stay or leave, our baptism goes with us. Our baptism stays with us, and we belong to God. All of us. Regardless of our theology or our ideology or our commitments or our Books of Discipline. All of us belong to God.”

Prayer of Lament

Merciful and loving God, you know the pain of division and the longings for peace that trouble us in this season of disaffiliation. As we cry aloud to you, receive our lament and hold us in your loving embrace.

God, we survey the divisions among us and our hearts break at communities, families, colleagues, and friends once united and now divided.
Merciful God, we cry to you.

God, the ground seems to be ever-shifting, and we mourn that the church, once a place of stability, now feels full of uncertainty and confusion.
Merciful God, we cry to you.

God, we look to the church as the community that teaches us who you are and shows us how to love as you love. Yet the discord and division among us leads us to despair that we can never become who you have made us to be.
Merciful God, we cry to you.

God, with all that is hard in the world, we waffle between numbness and anger as we encounter the mistrust and secrecy that have been sown in our churches and across our connection through misinformation and mischaracterization.
Merciful God, we cry to you.

God, we have known the beauty and strength of our connection, and we lament the ways that our arguments, divisions, and disaffiliations threaten to weaken our witness and mission.
Merciful God, we cry to you.

God, some of us are grieving not for ourselves but for our fellow United Methodists who feel lost as they are left searching for a new local church community to call home.
Merciful God, we cry to you.

God, we weep for clergy and laity who faithfully led congregations that have chosen to leave the denomination and now grapple with feelings of loss and betrayal while preparing to serve a new ministry context.
Merciful God, we cry to you.

God, many of us were taught to build up the Body of Christ through love, integrity, transparency, and truth-telling, yet are now left confused, wounded, and even skeptical as we watch the churches who raised us tear down and harm other members of the Body.
Merciful God, we cry to you.

Merciful God, we bring these and so many more laments to you today, crying to you to pay attention to us in our pain and to hold our grief in the palms of your hands. And so, as we share these laments with one another, we give over these burdens to you to hold and to bless, in the name of the Triune God who created us, redeems us, and sustains us.

(Prayer taken from the Out of Ashes Order of Service published by Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church. Review this web page for more resources on this topic.)

The information below will be included in the 2023 Michigan Conference Journal. To recognize the ministry of these churches, local pastors, elders, and deacon, we are naming them here.

Disaffiliating Churches

This list includes churches that have disaffiliated as of July 1, 2023, that the Michigan Annual Conference approved, as well as several churches whose disaffiliation was approved over the last two years (disaffiliation date is next to the church name).

Applegate UMC
Attica UMC
Battle Creek: Baseline UMC (7/1/2022)
Battle Creek: Maple UMC
Beebe UMC
Berrien Springs UMC
Buchanan: Faith UMC
Buel UMC
Byron: First UMC
Canton: Friendship UMC (7/1/2022)
Carlisle UMC
Caseville UMC
Cole UMC
Corunna: Northwest Venice UMC
Croswell: First UMC
Dexter UMC
Dryden UMC
Duffield UMC (6/30/2021)
Durand: First UMC
East Boardman UMC (7/1/2020)
Elkton UMC
Fraser: Christ UMC
Grand Rapids: Cornerstone UMC
Hale: First UMC
Houghton Lake UMC
Imlay City UMC
Iron Mountain: First UMC
Kalamazoo: Northwest UMC (6/30/2022)
L’Anse UMC
LaSalle: Zion UMC
Lake Odessa: Lakewood UMC
Lee Center UMC
Leighton UMC
Lennon UMC
Lowe UMC
Mackinaw City: Church of the Straits UMC
Madison Heights: Korean First Central UMC
Marcellus: Wakelee UMC
Marlette: First UMC
McGregor UMC
Melvin UMC
Memphis: First UMC
Midland: Aldersgate UMC
Montrose UMC
North Adams UMC (6/30/2020)
Norway: Grace UMC
Omard UMC
Pickford UMC
Pigeon: Salem UMC
Pokagon UMC
Richfield UMC
Seymour Lake UMC
Shabbona UMC (7/1/2020)
South Mundy UMC
St. Johns: Pilgrim UMC
Thrive Church of Highland
Troy: Korean UMC of Metropolitan Detroit
Weston UMC
Wisner UMC

These churches remain in the process of disaffiliation.

Arden UMC
Dowling: Country Chapel UMC
Holly: Calvary UMC
Lamb UMC
Ortonville UMC
Pittsburg UMC
Port Huron: Gratiot Park UMC
Saginaw: New Heart UMC
Scottdale UMC
Tawas UMC

Withdrawal of Local Pastors and Clergy

For a variety of reasons, these are the local pastors, elders, and deacon who are departing from The United Methodist Church.

Andrew S. Abrams (LP)
Timothy T. Bashore (LP)
Scott A. Clark (LP)
Julia A. Cramer (LP)
Andrew L. Croel (FE)
Donald R. Derby (LP)
Richard J. Foster (LP)
Linda L. Fuller (LP)
Steffani E. Glygoroff (LP)
Peter S. Harris (RE)
Matthew J. Hook (FE)
Todd W. Jones (LP)
Aaron B. Kesson (FE)
Eung Yong Kim (FE)
A. David Korlapati (LP)
Marcel A. Lamb (FE)
Chul-Goo Lee (FE)
Keith A. Lenard (LP)
Wendi D. Lenard (LP)
Shelly A. Long (LP)
Eric L. Magner (LP)
Jeremiah J. Mannschreck (FE)
Corin A. McDonald (LP)
Lawrence J. Molloy (LP)
Julius C. Nagy (LP)
Kenneth J. Nash (FE)
In Beom Oh (FE)
David E. Owen (LP)
Michael R. Perez, Jr. (LP)
Walter P. Reichle (LP)
Keith R. Reinhardt (LP)
Ronald W. Rouse (LP)
Michael T. Sawicki (FE)
Marcus V. Schmidt (LP)
Thomas L. Snyder (FD)
David M. Wallis (FE)

District Realignment

We also acknowledge the tenderness that the district realignment brings to many people, especially those in the former Midwest and Mid-Michigan districts. Learn more about the new district lines in this article.

A Blessing for Moving Forward

Loving God, in this season of disaffiliation, we raise our Ebenezer, our stone of help, that reminds us that you have been, you are, and you will be our help in time of trouble. Guide us now so that, in surrendering our lament to you and receiving a blessing from you, we might be a blessing and an outpouring of your love to the world. Amen.

(Blessing taken from the Out of Ashes Order of Service published by Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church. Review this web page for more resources on this topic.)

Last Updated on July 11, 2023

The Michigan Conference