Last month, I introduced what will be a series of articles on the future of the United Methodist Church(UMC) and where I stand on the issues dividing our churches and individual members.

The Berlin Center congregation members have already had lengthy discussions on where they see the future of the church. Though it appears they want to remain Orthodox Methodists and become part of the new Global Methodist Church, additional information will continue to be provided, so each member can be certain as to how he or she will vote when the time for a church conference on the church’s future arrives. The administrative board voted at its May meeting to join the Wesleyan Covenant Association to indicate its support of the Association’s work and to receive any information that is available.

Bill Carlton, the LeValley ad board chair, and I have decided that these issues need to be shared with as many members of the LeValley congregation as possible and time needs to be given for questions and concerns to be addressed, so that members can assess where they stand and a tentative decision on where the majority stand can be determined. Therefore, in Mid-June, following the Michigan Annual Conference, Sunday worship will be shortened and, along with a Conference follow-up, a presentation on the future of the church will be given, either via video or by a presenter with knowledge of the pending changes.

Many questions need to be answered.

1.What if one church of a charge wants to remain part of the United Methodist Church and the other church chooses to join the Global Methodist Church?

2. Since only members of a church will be allowed to vote, how long will they have had to be members?

3. What will the corporate leadership of each church look like, especially the new Global Methodist Church? Will there be Districts and Conferences as now exist in the UMC?

4.What will happen to church properties should a church or charge choose to leave the United Methodist Church?

5. What will happen to clergy pension funds should a clergyperson leave the United Methodist Church?

6. How will clergy be appointed in the Global Methodist Church?

These are questions I have put out here to get us all thinking. Each of us may have many more that need to be addressed as we get closer to General Conference in 2022, followed by individual church/charge conferences. Please note your questions to bring them up at the June presentation at LeValley, which I should add is available to members of both churches.

When the time comes, we definitely want to make informed decisions based on individual values, as well as the values of the church family. I have made no secret of the fact that I am an Orthodox Methodist and will be part of a Global Methodist Church, whether as a pastor or as a retired pastor. That said, even if I am not your shepherd, Berlin Center and LeValley will always be your churches, so my prayer is that through prayer and thoughtful discernment, you will all come to a consensus as to your church’s future.

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Roman 15:5-6(NIV)

Love in Christ,

Pastor Nancy

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