The Judicial Council, the Supreme Court of The United Methodist Church, held that the legislation adopted by the General Conference in February 2019 providing a path for churches to leave the denomination is constitutional. There is now a path out of the denomination for local churches who desire to leave. The decision is here.
We Have a Gracious Exit
The Council of Bishops asked the Judicial Council to rule on a disaffiliation provision for local churches passed by General Conference in its closing minutes. In Decision 1379 the court upheld the plan as meeting the three basic requirements: (1) A 2/3 vote of a charge conference and church conference, (2) Approval of terms and conditions by the conference board of trustees, and (3) Approval by the annual conference.
Although the legislation itself does not include the third element, it was successfully argued this piece is found elsewhere in the Discipline [¶ 2529.1(b)(3)] which makes the plan constitutional nonetheless. The Taylor Disaffiliation Petition as amended creates a process for exit that is immediately in effect. (As opposed to the other matters passed at GC2019 which are effective on 1/1/2020). We now have a Gracious Exit. The functionality of the Gracious Exit will depend, however, upon the good will of the annual conference. This will mean that the functionality of the exit will not be universal.
The new Gracious Exit requires payment of apportionments for the past twelve months and an additional twelve months. The congregation must satisfy their share of the pension liability as calculated by Wespath. With the approvals needed, congregations may leave with all their assets. This exit path is temporary, expiring December 31, 2023.
Contact one of the professionals at Dalton & Tomich PLC to assist your local church in evaluating the plan.
We developed this free guide to answer many of your questions about leaving the United Methodist Church. Let the attorneys of Dalton & Tomich, PLC help you lead your congregation to a new beginning.
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.