Sisters and Brothers in Christ Jesus our Lord,
In 2019, a special session of the General Conference was convened with the expressed intention of coming to conclusion for the United Methodist denomination theological and social disparities over issues of human sexuality. While a vote was taken, it was obvious that the denomination had not come to a conclusion in this matter.
In preparation for the 2020 General Conference, several proposals were drafted and submitted for consideration, many of which were plans for some sort of separation or disaffiliation. The most prevalent of which is the “Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation.” This proposal would allow for the separation into two or more denominations of Methodist expressions.
The Covid pandemic has not allowed the General Conference to take place in 2020 or 2021. We await a decision on whether it can/will take place in 2022. One of the results of the postponement is that our local churches are left wondering. Most, I believe, have adjusted their focus on how to do ministry in the pandemic in a way that will help continue the completion of the mission to make disciples of Jesus for the transformation of the world.
Still, questions linger. What’s going to happen? What will the United Methodist Church look like if there is a separation? Plans are being made to form at least two denominations. How will they be different from each other? What steps need to be taken to separate into one of them or to remain in the UMC? What should we do as we wait?
The Conference is developing a document, General Conference 2022 FAQ, and a video also designed to share information regarding the Michigan Conference as we move forward. I will share them when they are released in January. I have scheduled Listening Q&A sessions around the district in February to listen to the pastors and leaders of our local churches and field questions regarding where we are as a conference of the United Methodist Church. There will be two sessions in each D-Zone to allow for as much participation as may be needed while also paying attention to protocols necessitated by the Covid pandemic. It is not imperative that pastors and church leaders attend a meeting in their D-Zone if attending another session in another D-Zone fits better in the schedule. The schedule appears below.
Pastors and Church leaders, please share this information and make plans to attend a session if it is discerned this will be helpful to your ongoing discussion.
Should you have any questions before we meet, please feel free to contact me.
May you know the peace and presence of our God,
DS Rev. John G Kasper
The Listening Q&A schedule is as follows:
D-Zone 7 – Saturday February 5,
10:30am – Bay City Grace UMC, East
2pm – Auburn UMC
D-Zone 4 – Sunday, February 6, 1:30pm – Hemlock UMC
4pm – Midland 1st UMC
D-Zone 2 – Saturday, February 12, 10:30am – Vassar 1st UMC
2pm – Fairgrove UMC
D-Zone 5 – Sunday, February 13, 1:30pm – Shepherd UMC
4pm – Weidman UMC
D-Zone 6 – Saturday, February 19, 10:30am – Rosebush UMC
2pm – Gladwin New Beginnings UMC
D-Zone 3 – Sunday, February 20, 1:30pm – Ames UMC
4pm – Birch Run UMC
D-Zone 1 – Saturday, February 26, 10:30am – Caseville UMC
2pm – Owendale UMC
D-Zone 8 – Sunday, February 27, 1:30pm – West Branch 1st UMC
4pm – Glennie UMC