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Trustees explain disaffiliation

The Dome in St. Louis with 2019 delegates to General Conference

“A gracious exit” is a phrase from the disaffiliation legislation passed at the 2019 General Conference. The Conference Trustees describe next steps.

Michigan Conference Board of Trustees, Chair

The Conference Board of Trustees desires to provide you with a brief update on a responsibility assigned to them by the recent General Conference.

“A gracious exit” is a phrase reflected in the Traditional Plan petition, passed at the February Special 2019 General Conference, wherein congregations “…for reasons of conscience regarding a change in the requirements and provisions of the Book of Discipline related to the practice of homosexuality or the ordination or marriage of self-avowed practicing homosexuals…” may disaffiliate from the United Methodist denomination subject to criteria to be determined.

This phrase is again recited in the Judicial Council’s Decision #1379. The Judicial Council designated each annual conference board of trustees with the responsibility to establish the “terms and conditions” that will be incorporated into a final document to be acted upon by the Annual Conference for any church voting to leave the United Methodist denomination.

This is a very difficult assignment and it is to be carried out with the advice and input from the cabinet, directors of benefits, treasury and connectional ministries plus the conference chancellor.

There have been two comprehensive meetings with the above parties with in-depth work to follow. Bishop David Bard has attended both meetings as an indication of the priority he and the Conference Trustees are attaching to this issue.

It is important to note that the following values were discussed and agreed upon as the contextual basis for our work:

Governing Values:

  • Having a policy as directed by the General Conference and the Judicial Council Decision.
  • Clear terms and conditions for the purpose of clarity and consistency.
  • Recognize contextual situation for consideration in any process.
  • An expectation for graciousness and fairness for all parties.
  • The possibility for healthy continuation and continued viability for an exiting congregation.
  • A reasonable potential for the Conference to plant a congregation in the same community.
  • A fair and consistent process.

As this process moves forward we will strive to communicate both the status and progress achieved, recognizing the level of concern many have related to the decisions that are to be made within their local churches.

A specific document outlining the exact steps, along with the anticipated parameters of the various terms and conditions is expected to be available by August 1, 2019. Please contact your district superintendent, the office of the Conference Treasurer ([email protected]), or Trustee Chairperson ([email protected]) if you have further questions.

Last Updated on June 24, 2019

The Michigan Conference