On Friday January 3, 2020, the leaders of separate movements within the United Methodist Church published an agreement which provided the broad concepts of what a proposed separation of the Methodist denomination will look like if a proposed plan of separation is approved at the May 2020 General Conference of the United Methodist Church. While the details will later be flushed out, the general concepts of the plan provide guidance to local churches who are wondering what happens to the local Church. The future looks like the following for the local church.
If your local congregation is split between progressive and traditional members, you need to examine your articles, bylaws and the Non-Profit Corporation Act of the State in which you live so that when the time to vote to stay in the denomination or leave, you have a clear understanding of who a member is and what quorum is required to vote on whether the local church stays or leaves the denomination.
One final thought. As an attorney representing hundreds of local churches in property disputes within the Methodist, the Episcopal and the Presbyterian USA denominations, I can attest that the local church who does not have the conversation and does not have a clear understanding of where you wish to end up with – prior to actual separation – will likely flounder and lose their members and property. Take the time and the steps now to prepare to stay or leave, consult with professionals familiar with this issue – who do not have a personal or emotional stake in your local church – to find out what you should do next in the life of your Church.
The professionals at Dalton & Tomich PLC stand ready to assist any local church who has questions about this issue. We work with local churches throughout the United States on a daily basis and help guide you through this process and download one of our whitepapers to help you through your deliberations. We are ready to serve as your guide through this journey.
The attorneys of Dalton & Tomich, PLC have the experience and the knowledge to work with you to develop a legal solution that helps accomplish your goals. Our collaborative approach has helped leaders like you grow businesses and banks, develop and expand churches, and build nonprofit organizations nationwide.
In my role as Administrative Bishop for the Church of God, quite often we are faced with issues that involve local governments and municipalities. Many of these issues that arise in dealing with entities are land use related. I have found Dalton & Tomich’s experience and expertise in this area to be a valuable resource and asset in every situation.
Never one time during a year-long litigation process did Dalton & Tomich demonstrate anything other than Christ-like professionalism. They managed the legal details, while we continued to do church. How they managed themselves, managed our case, and represented our church set the table for me and our church to be where we are today.
Dalton & Tomich’s expertise and experience helped us through a very difficult legal journey, ultimately achieving a favorable outcome. Their personal interest in helping us went “above and beyond” just the call of duty.