Here we are again- SEPTEMBER! Where did the summer go? The kids are back in school. Wednesday Night Life is back in session! We had our “Blessing of the Backpacks.” The kids and the entire congregation seemed to enjoy the service.
The next question that comes up may be, “Now what?” Believe me, things are not slowing down. We may be slowing down from summer activities. But the church does not have the option of slowing down. There is kingdom work to do! How do we do that? And another question is, how do we do that in con-junction with all the other things going on? For instance, the disaffiliation discussions that have been taking place within our Administrative Council and, most recently, with the entire church group.
Let’s get caught up, shall we? General Conference 2019 passed a resolution allowing churches to “disaffiliate” from the United Methodist Church if they disagreed with stances taken on two different issues. This is section 2553 in the Book of Disciple. There are two issues which a church can use as the basis for their decision to seek disaffiliation. First, “reasons of conscience regarding a change in the requirements and provisions of the Book of Discipline related to the practice of homosexuality or the ordination or marriage of self-avowed practicing homosexuals as resolved and adopted by the 2019 General Conference.” The second reason is “the actions or inactions of its annual conference related to these issues.”
Many churches have already made use of the opportunity. Approximately 60 Tennessee Western Kentucky Conference churches were approved for disaffiliation at this year’s annual conference. Many more are somewhere in the process.
Both Homestead and Dorton, beginning in the administrative councils, and continuing most recently with general church meetings, have been discussing the possibility of accepting the offer to disaffiliate. Obviously, this creates great consternation on everyone’s part. As pastor, I can most assuredly say it brings great consternation to me and Mrs. Preacher!
Now some might say, “what do you really think, Pastor?” Let me say this. I have tried my best to “straddle the fence” throughout this process. I have provided information for both councils when I was asked, while trying not to influence as best I can. When I have been asked on a personal level, I have shared my opinion. Over the years, I have encouraged my congregants to do their own research on matters of conscience. You have access to the same information. But remember this, pastors come and go at local churches. But this is your church. You hopefully don’t come and go like pastors. That continues to be my mantra throughout the current process. You, the church, must decide what you want for the future.
But with all of that said, as of Sunday, August 28, 2022, our Homestead Church has decided not to pursue disaffiliation and will continue to monitor the situation at both the annual conference and general conference levels. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
In Christ, Pastor Tim