Perception and reality are two very different things.
Today, Saturday February 23, 2019, was set to be a day of discernment, prayer and worship for the attenders of the General Conference of the United Methodist Church. While there was plenty of worship, the day truly was one of lobbying for votes. The proponents of the Bishop’s One Church Plan worked hard trying to secure votes throughout the day. It was not hard to see promises being made with implied threats to vote for the Bishop’s plan. As a result, the overall feel of the day was that of a political convention, not a religious gathering.
Proponents of the One Church Plan also released its a plan to stop to General Conference from considering any other plan that the One Church Plan and any Exit Plan once the One Church Plan fails. The proponents of the One Church Plan intend to reject or table all other petitions and delay any type of vote for an exit.
Again, the perception given by the “official” United Methodist Church to its members and through the press is far, far different than reality. It is clear that the One Church Plan will be pushed through, then once it fails, the effort will turn to stopping the General Conference from considering an exit or another plan.
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What happens next?
My sense is that if a vote was called today, the One Church Plan will be voted down and the General Conference 2019 will end without the adoption of any plan or exit strategy. This will be spun to the press that “people are fine with what we have,” knowing that they achieved their purpose of allowing nothing to move forward.
The no action plan will truly be the worst case scenario for the denomination. While the status quo keeps those in power a continuation of their office, the end result will be the acceleration of a dying and diminished denomination. Underlying all of this is the belief that merging with another dying denomination, the Episcopal Church, in 2020 will somehow “save” the Methodist Church. History and common sense has demonstrated that merging two failures will result in the demise of one large failure. The same will occur if the Methodist / Episcopal merger moves forward in 2020.
If you, or your church, has any questions about its relationship with the United Methodist Church and how to retain its property, please see me at the Conference or contact a professional at Dalton & Tomich PLC.