Grace Community Q&A Meetings

Questions about the United Methodist Denomination

  1. What is the origin of the theological differences within the United Methodist organization?   Click here for responses. 
  2. In 2016 at the General Conference, was language changed in the Book of Discipline regarding homosexuality?   Both traditionalists and liberals were seeking changes to the Book of Discipline but were unable to reach agreement.    In an effort to minimize further dissension, the commission, cross-pollinated  with individuals of differing views, was appointed to work together to make recommendations. 
  3. What was the commission charged with in making their recommendation for a “way forward”?  The commission is making their recommendation based upon impact to unity, space, and contextuality.  They were not charged with biblically finding an answer to the same-sex issue.  The vision that was given to the commission is as follows:
    • “The Commission will design a way for being church that maximizes the presence of a United Methodist witness in as many places in the world as possible, that allows for as much contextual differentiation as possible, and that balances an approach to different theological understandings of human sexuality with a desire for as much unity as possible. This unity will not be grounded in our conceptions of human sexuality, but in our affirmation of the Triune God who calls us to be a grace-filled and holy people in the Wesleyan tradition.”
  4. How is accountability enforced within the United Methodist church?  Accountability is held within the annual conference with the bishop enforcing legislation.  Annual conferences do not hold other annual conferences accountable.
  5. What is required to pass the recommendation of the commission at the February General Conference in 2019?  If changes require updates to the constitution, two-thirds of the annual conferences must agree upon the recommendation before it will go to the judicial council for final ruling.  If there are no changes to the constitution, the majority vote on one of the three options will be the deciding factor. 
  6.  If a recommendation is voted upon at the General Conference, how long will it take to implement?  This process could take several years as it will have to go to the judicial council and it is likely that there will be churches fighting the decision.  In addition, there is likely to be dissension due to money and assets.
  7. What will happen to churches that disagree with the General Conference decision?   This is unclear at this point.  Some of the proposals have allowed for a gracious exit.  What this looks like has not been defined.
  8. Have some churches left the United Methodist denomination?  If so, how long has it taken? Yes, they have.  The complicating factor in leaving the church is the trust clause.  These churches have either left the property to the United Methodist denomination or negotiated to retain the property, taking on average 6 – 9 months.

Questions about the Impact to Grace COMMUNITY

  1. How does the General Conference impact our worship at Grace?  There is no change to our life of worship, community, and our following of the Bible as our authority.
  2.  What is the current stance at Grace regarding the General Conference vote in 2019?   The Grace Church Council is in unanimous agreement around these four statements:
    • At Grace, we are deeply concerned about the direction, division, and dysfunction of the United Methodist denomination.
    • The General Conference in 2019 does not address the root of the division within the United Methodist denomination.
    • The Grace Church Council is exploring all options that would best help us to make disciples of Jesus Christ through the local church,
    • The members of Grace will have a voice in the decisions made regarding our church future.
  3. What does this direction mean to our oath of membership?  Upon becoming members, we vowed to worship, pray, connect, and serve.  There is no impact to how we as members continue to worship.
  4. Would Jeff be forced to conduct same sex marriages depending upon the outcome of decisions made in 2019?  The conference is not forcing the pastors with their decision but trying to arrive at something that all members of the United Methodist denomination can accept. .
  5. What is the position of Grace on homosexuality?  Grace does not condemn the persons nor their feelings; however, Grace does follow the Biblical teaching that homosexual actions are a sin.
  6. Will there be ramifications for Grace financially if we do not follow the General Conference decision?   No.