Scott Field, Pastor of the First United Methodist Church of Crystal Lake, recently re-branded “First Church,” next moved on to the impact the late February St. Louis international convention would have on Crystal Lake.
First he told a little of his own opinion.
“We really don’t want to get into a situation of having to [vote one way or the other].
He told of the approach of a Myrtle Beach United Methodist Church he and his wife Linda attended while on a recent vacation.
The church’s position:
“We would like to withdraw from the denomination.
“We don’t want to be people who condone or condemn.”
“I would hope we can find a way where we don’t have to make that choice,” Field said.
Right after the February St. Louis convention, the First Church Leadership Council will meet to talk about what to do, trying to do this “as a community.”
More church meetings will be held on March 3rd and 4th.
He pointed out that the Northern Illinois Conference Delegates are “100% on the Progressive side.
“They have listening sessions. I haven’t gone to any of them because I know they’re not listening.
“You’re voice is what you did [do] with your money and your feet.”
He pointed out that 50% of the convention votes are from clergy.
There was a question about Field’s pension.
Retiring at the end of June, 2019, Field explained that there is a separate pension fund.
He added that the local Bishop Sally Dyke, had sent out an email suggesting that if churches left the denomination, it will impact pensions.
Field said a “cash out” option is available.
He then pointed to the two extremes in the controversy:
- Progressive Justice – if there are any restrictions get on board or get out
- Non-compatibilists – on both sides of the issue
Both sides argue as a matter of conscience; both want “purity one way or another.”
Talk turned to the pastor who will replace Field July 1st.
It’s pretty much up in the air.
“We may not even have the same Bishop,” Field said.
An expression of satisfaction at how Field has served the congregation for the last five and half years was expressed in sustained applause.
“Your current pastor is the most brilliant of all because he’s retiring.”
Commenting on the current Bishop Sally Dyke, he said,
“I love Sally.
“We have a lot of disagreement, but we both are in favor of vital congregations.”
“Any chance it will be kicked down the road?”
Field would not rule that out.
One wanted to know how the United Methodist Church will be sustainable if it splits apart.
“It won’t be,” Field said, pointing out the suggested budget cut in 2020 is 18%.
And “an aging tsumi is about to hit us.
“The generation of people who like to support institutions [is declining].
“We better figure something out really fast.”
Focusing in on the impact that any decisions in St. Louis may have on the Crystal Lake congregation, Field explained,
“We don’t go out of business the day the Methodists…vote in St. Louis.
“We have a ministry.
“We have a community.
“I hope that when you’re leaving here, you’ll still be brothers and sisters.
“We are all struggle to find our way.”
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