Today was a long day of many, many mini-sermons. Depending on what you believe, the voters who approve the Traditional Plan are “evil, unbiblical and prudent,” while those who support the One Church Plan are, “immoral, selfish and self-righteous.”
In other words, if you are Methodist, you are in trouble.
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The Plans, with Amendments, are Debated
The Traditional Plan
After starting with worship, the day quickly moved to an attempt to delay the debate about the Traditional Plan to the end of the day. This motion was sought by the proponents of the One Church Plan to stop the momentum of the Traditional Plan. The end result was vote to deny the motion to delay discussion of the Traditional Plan and move forward with the discussion. Other procedural attempts to delay the votes occurred, all of which were denied with a similar vote of 55%. The discussion then turned to the merits of the Traditional Plan. Discussion ensued for the following two and a half hours, with the motion to approve sending the Traditional Plan, with amendments to adjust it based on the judicial conference decision, to the General Conference for vote tomorrow for a vote by 56.22% of the voters. The significance of this vote is that there is an increase of voters favoring the Traditional Plan.
The First Disaffiliation Plan (Taylor)
Next up is the first disaffiliation from the denomination plan was discussed. Proponents noted that this plan works for those who cannot live within the denomination and essentially provides for an exit of local churches who wish to leave the denomination. The idea is that the annual conference should not use property as a weapon to force people to remain within a covenant they can no longer support. Amendments that would require a Church to pay 33% of the value of their assets to leave was rejected by 62% of the voters. On Sunday, voters moved 49.51% to advance it for discussion. On Monday, voters moved the proposal 52% in favor to advance it for a floor vote on Tuesday.
The Second Disaffiliation Plan (Boyett)
The next plan discussed was the Boyette disaffiliation plan. This plan provided that churches should not be constrained to remain part of The United Methodist Church. For those who believe the best way forward is to disaffiliate, a path must be created to disaffiliate without the loss of property and in a ministry affirming way. The plan was advanced plan by the voters on Sunday with 49.48% of the vote. The plan was advanced for a vote on Tuesday with 52% of the vote.
The One Church Plan
This plan, pushed by Church leadership, was forced unity through a connection. The Plan did not allow a local church to leave the denomination. And not surprisingly, the plan was rejected by voters by a margin of 52%.
The Remaining Plans
After the rejection of the One Church Plan, the remaining plans were rejected by the voting body. The day concluded with stunned leaders and disappointed progressive attenders.
A couple of observations are starting to come together based on the vote of priority of legislation that is to be discussed today and tomorrow.
The margin of voting is around sixty (60) votes. It was announced this morning that thirty (30) voters from Asia were not present at the General Conference as they could not resolve passport issues that would have allowed them to enter the United States. Most of the voters were considered to be Traditional Plan voters, but one does not know if that is true or not.
I have no idea what will happen but the feel of the conference now is that the Traditional Plan will pass by a very slim margin as well as one of the disaffiliation plans. Therefore, if it passes, the local church should strongly consider taking advantage of the Exit Plan to retain its property. That way, if the winds change in 2020, they can keep its property.
If you, or your church, has any questions about its relationship with the United Methodist Church and how to retain its property, please contact a professional at Dalton & Tomich PLC.
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