Crystal Lake First United Methodist Church Pastor Scott Field explained some of the background of the Methodist Church.
It comes from an evangelical theology in which the United Methodist Church requires a three-fourths vote of the membership is required to change standards.
Since 1972, Progressives have fought to normalize homosexuality.
While that has occurred in law, such a change has not been recognized in the United Methodist Church’s Book of Discipline.
After the 2016 international convention, a number of clergy said, according to Field, that they did not care what the Discipline said, they were going to perform same sex marriages.
And, they did.
Some Annual Conferences, including the one in Northern Illinois, voted to ignore the Discipline on that subject.
That stand was challenged and the Methodist “Supreme Court” rebuked the Northern Illinois Conference.
In 2017, the Western Jurisdiction elected a partnered lesbian as a Bishop.
There was a big uproar.
Each Methodist Church is supposed to pay a percentage of its operating funds (called an apportionment) to its local conference .
If there is not enough revenue in a conference because of low membership–as is the case in the West–the whole church picks up the tab.
Elsewhere in the country “rofue things” happened.
‘”When I type ‘United,’ sometimes it comes out ‘untied,'” Field parenthetically inserted
Penalties for performing same sex marriages ranged from being put on probation to kept secret, to going to counseling,
He observed that what is happening now is “more like someone has filed for a divorce.
“Some congregations have left the denomination.”
In the Episcopal Church, fights over ownership of church property are in the neighborhood of $80 million, Field said.
Since the Methodist Church sprang from dissatisfaction with the Episcopal Church, the rules of church ownership are similar.
Both sides of the Methodist fight seem to have agree that they do not want to follow their mother church’s example.
- Uniting Methodists, who want to delete everything about sexuality from Church Discipline
- Wesleyan Covenant Association, supporting orthodox Methodist beliefs
- United Methodists for a Gracious Exit, a group that came out of Ohio which is composed of folks from all factions who want local congregations to be able to decide their future without losing their assets
Field is associated with the Wesleyan Covenant Association and United Methodists for a Gracious Exit.
Field pointed out that the Bishops do not want individual congregations to be able to decide their fate.
“Some of us think the Bishops have sandbagged us all” by removing the “leaving language.”
Field characterizes the Bishops’ plan as one “when the music stops, they all have a chair to sit in and the money keeps flowing.”
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