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What went wrong with The United Methodist Church in 2021

The United Methodist Church has seemed, for a few years now, to be competing against itself to see how monumentally it can mess up any attempt to stay united, resolve disputes and maintain some semblance of integrity in the process. The Methodist Church’s ongoing problems continued in 2021. Below are just a few things that went wrong for the denomination.

  1. The Boy Scout Settlement. The annual conferences have agreed to pay $30 million to resolve all potential claims raised within the Boy Scout abuse cases, even though the denomination does not have the money to pay the claim.
  2. The fraudulent unfunded pension liability claim. While the Conferences uses pension as the issue to hammer local churches pay to leave the denomination, the facts clearly provide that there is no unfunded pension liability.  Wespath has over $29 billion in assets and has indicated that it has enough reserves to pay all members until 2090. The payment for a pension liability is simply a money grab – namely to pay for the failing denomination and the Boy Scout abuse case.
  3. The Drag pastor, the Drag Queen Clergy candidate, and the transgender spouse of a Methodist Bishop. While there has been a promise of no action being taken to flout the Book of Discipline once the Separation Protocol was agreed upon by all five affinity groups who agreed to it, there are many, many, many who have ignored the same. These three stories are just the tip of the iceberg.
  4. The failure to have a General Conference in 2021 (and likely in 2022). Yes, it will cancel again. You can count on it.
  5. The Mt. Bethel crisis in the North Georgia Annual Conference, So much has been written about this debacle which is not good for either side of the case. Time will tell where this case will end up. It is is fair to say that this matter will fester within the denomination for decades to come.
  6. The attempted Progressive Denomination has ended. While the proposed super progressive denomination never gained much traction, this story demonstrates the difficulty of creating, maintaining and pursuing any new denomination. It also raises the question as to whether a local church needs to be a part of a connection or denomination.
  7. There is no place for traditional Methodist Church’s in the post United Methodist Church. One conference has publicly rejected the Book of Discipline (while most have done so privately). Yet there is no surprise in this announcement . The only surprise is that it was said publicly.
  8. The UMC finances rapidly decline. It is not Covid – it is former members who have stopped attending, donating and tithing to their church. Covid is the excuse, the denomination is the problem.

We work with local counsel across the United States and lead local Methodist Churches out of the denomination. If you wish to have a call, or a zoom meeting with your leadership team, to discuss your local church – or if you have general questions regarding your state law on religious property disputes, please reach out to Daniel Dalton at Dalton & Tomich PLC to discuss your case.

You can read more about this topic in Daniel Dalton’s book, Religious Property Disputes, House of God, Laws of Man available at theAmerican Bar Association Book store or Amazon.

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