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Disaffiliation

John Wesley Preaching

We encourage Michigan United Methodists, whether they plan to stay or depart, to embrace and embody these values.

● Declare mutual recognition of Christ in the other as individuals as well as constituted churches and look for the fruit of God’s Spirit in the ministry and mission.

● Agree not to actively disparage one another with our words and actions that seek to undermine the ministry of the other.

● Will faithfully and carefully exercise the disciplinary requirements of the sacraments, ministry, and mission.

We encourage Michigan United Methodists, whether they plan to stay or depart, to embrace and embody these values.

What's next for our denomination?

Have questions? 

Please contact your district office.

What you will find on this page

  • Legal and financial agreements

  • Key dates and process

  • Updates 

The ¶2553 process

The Michigan Conference has a clear process and pathway for churches that wish to leave the Conference and The United Methodist Church.  This pathway has been developed from paragraph 2553 of The Book of Discipline.  It is currently the only pathway for departure.

Bishop Bard is committed to working with other conference and denominational leaders in the coming months to consider developing additional pathways for separation. Bishop Bard is also working with conference and denominational leaders to develop processes for clergy who wish to leave the Michigan Conference and The United Methodist Church.

He is committed to developing processes that are care-filled and provide the least disruption possible for churches and clergy.  To that end, he remains committed to ongoing conversations with persons who intend to leave the UMC as these processes and pathways are considered and developed.

Based on legislation passed at the 2019 General Conference, the Judicial Council designated each annual conference board of trustees with the responsibility to establish the “terms and conditions” for disaffiliation 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.

The formal Disaffiliation Agreement and a list of FAQs are being provided with a context of solemnity. Solemn, because there is a fracture in the theological foundation of our denomination. Solemn, because congregations, as a matter of conscience, may perceive a need to leave the connectional structure that is the United Methodist Church. Solemn, because the ministries of those staying and of those leaving will undoubtedly be significantly impacted.

Updates

December 2019

The Disaffiliation Process has had several issues raised relating to the proper inclusion of ¶2553. The recent Judicial Council meeting did not address this issue and, hence, leaves an uncertainty regarding that specific disciplinary language. However, Bishop Bard has made the decision to both honor the concept of a “Gracious Exit” and to recognize the work the Conference Board of Trustees in determining the terms and conditions for this exit. This action should be viewed as an even more gracious step since it is his decision and not a disciplinary mandate.
 
Conference Trustees have worked with our conference chancellor to reformat the governing document and make it compatible with whatever action the Judicial Council may take in the future. This updated Withdrawal Agreement is now available for download. The explanations and FAQs are still valid so please refer to them for clarification. Contact your District Superintendent for both directions and fulfillment steps.
 
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The Michigan Conference