What is the Methodist Church, and what do Methodists believe?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
The United Methodist Church is the largest American mainline denomination, with nearly 12 million members in 42,000 congregations worldwide. The Methodist Church is a participating member of the Wo...

July 01 2013 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

Open uri20160825 6966 rhyaou John Matthews Retired Professional Singer, Conductor and Seeker
I can agree with Mr. Houdmann's answer above (Houdmann being a conglomerate of contributors from gotquestions.org.) I can differ with a few things, but essentially he is correct, especially historically.

Recently the United Methodist Church lost about 1/3 of their congregations because of a perceived anticipation of the worldwide church approval of LGBTQ+ clergy and same-sex church sanctioned weddings. Those concepts passed, but with caveats. One can find out much more by visiting umc.org.

The United Methodists took a page out of the books of the Presbyterian Church by leaving the implementing of those changes up to the local congregation. The Presbyterians did this a few years ago and it staved off a possible exodus of congregations from the fold. Still, the caveats seem to be that United Methodist congregations can choose, individually, whether or not to perform same-sex marriages or employ avowed LGBTQ+ clergy persons. Those decisions were made last month and the ramifications are still to be felt and determined. I can see this as a logistical nightmare since the UMC still assigns clergy positions. Also, they changed their structure to give more autonomy to church divisions outside the USA, mostly concerning congregations in Africa, whose local laws, in many cases, outlaw homosexuality, which can carry a death penalty. It really is a mess.

As far as the 1/3 of the congregations that left, mine being one of them, many went to the newly formed Global Methodist Church (mine did), went independent, or joined one of the few smaller Methodist church denominations. Most went to the GMC and that change is still to be felt until the GMC have fully figured out how they want that new denomination to be run. I, personally, think it was not a good idea to ally my church with the GMC until they got all of the kinks worked out of their operation. And, trust me, there are plenty of kinks. It was much easier for the pastors to just send their credentials to the GMC and be done with it. Still, it is a wait and see operation.

A side note: All of the churches who left the UMC had to do so by finding fault with the proposed changes concerning homosexuality. Although that is the official reason, it wasn't the only one which caused churches to leave. In doing my due diligence concerning our church's leaving the denomination, I found that 80% of the 118 churches I contacted left because of fiscal and, in many cases, political reasons. Without having to go into politics, most congregations left because of the large amounts of payments required to send into the "mother church," and having built and maintained their church properties with local monies, they wanted to put the property in the local church's name and have full ownership. After all, it was their money which got their property built. The United Methodist Church requires that all church monetary and assets be the property of the General Conference of the UMC. That has been the case for hundreds of years.

The United Methodist Church is undergoing a time of severe change and austerity. Maybe they can rise from these ashes to be a more laity driven church with much less highly paid top-heavy staff, and more grass-roots involvement. I have to agree that the United Methodist Church had lost its way several decades ago. Maybe this split is what was needed. Time will definitely tell.

May 22 2024 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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