“Many (UMC) churches that have been waiting on the sidelines to leave will do so now, and the denomination will collapse”
Detroit —February 25, 2021—Daniel Dalton, a religious property and land use attorney with national law firm Dalton & Tomich, says today’s announcement that a Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church (UMC) will be convened online on May 8, 2021, glosses over the decision to hold off on a vote for the Separation Protocol until it can be discussed in person in 2022, which he says will hasten the denomination’s demise.
“It is disappointing, yet predictable, that the Council of Bishops have determined to abandon the Separation Protocol that they previously endorsed for adoption. There simply is no desire of the Bishops to allow a vote to separate. As a result, many of the churches that have been waiting on the sidelines to leave will do so now, and the denomination will collapse.”
Dalton is the author of two recent eBook on the topic of UMC separations: UMC Separation Plan 2021: What Your Church Needs to Do Now, and What the Proposed UMC Separation Means for Your Church. His firm represents local churches throughout the United States seeking to separate from their mainline denominations, including the United Methodist Church, while retaining their property using denominational trust clauses. The firm also represents religious institutions throughout the country in cases related to the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA).
The proposed Separation Protocol, a proposal from the five affinity groups within the denomination, allows local churches to leave for another denomination or become independent and retain their property. It provides that a local church leaving the denomination for another denomination, whether conservative or progressive, must pay for any outstanding pension obligation, even if the pension is fully funded, as well as the cost of preparing new governing documents and real estate deeds that remove the Trust Clause. The Separation Protocol also requires local churches who wish to become independent to pay a pension obligation, twenty-four months of apportionments, and anything else the conference wishes to impose on a departing local church that keeps its property.
In anticipation of today’s announcement, Dalton has already been working with hundreds of UMC churches throughout the country who have been quietly making plans to separate from the denomination and become independent churches before being forced to make a public decision to do so.
“Local churches want to leave the denomination because they no longer want to be affiliated with a dying denomination,” Dalton said.
About Dalton + Tomich
Established in 2010, Dalton + Tomich PLC is comprised of religious liberty, land use, denominational trust law, and business law attorneys. Learn more about our services at https://www.daltontomich.com/.