Dear GNJ Leadership,
You may read about the document below today or in the coming days in the newspaper. It was just released this morning. A group of 16 UMC church leaders negotiated a settlement for an amicable separation within the UMC. Here is what I want you to know and understand at this time.
- The agreement must be approved by the General Conference in May. It can be further amended.
- It primarily provides the ability for the Wesleyan Covenant Association to leave the United Methodist Church with their property and assets. Most of the denomination will stay together. The Wesleyan Covenant Association has approximately 3,000 members from around the world, and the United Methodist Church has 12 million around the world. We anticipate that the 3,000 number will grow.
- The agreement has the following financial settlement:
a. $25,000,000 to the Wesleyan Covenant Association and traditionalists to start a new denomination
b. $39,000,000 to address systemic racism, past and present within the denomination
c. $2,000,000 for liberal congregations that would like to leave the denomination
d. There is not a plan for where the funds will be allocated from, but any funding will need to be approved by the General Conference.
- If this settlement passes at General Conference, we are not sure of the impact for GNJ, but GNJ leadership has been preparing for this day and has a plan to continue the mission and ministry of all our congregations and clergy appointments within GNJ.
- The agreement also calls for grouping the United Methodist Church into four regions–Europe, Philippines, Africa and the United States–where more localized and contextual decisions can be made.
- Congregations that would like to stay with The United Methodist Church will not have to take a vote to stay.
- The Connection Team, the new Discipline team that has been sending you portions of a proposed new Book of Discipline met this morning for its regular call and has agreed that the team’s work is much broader than this agreement and seeks the renewal of our polity. The team has agreed to continue its work and listen for your feedback. Therefore, the team has agreed to release the final segment of The Connection, The Life and Order of The United Methodist Church by this coming Tuesday, Jan. 7.
- As you have questions, concerns or hear things, please bring them to my attention.
- If your congregation receives a call from a media representative, please feel free to direct those calls to our communications staff here at GNJ.
You are an important and critical part of the mission and ministry of GNJ. Thank you for your leadership and service to The United Methodist Church.
Click here to read the document.
Keep the faith!
Bishop John Schol
United Methodists of Greater New Jersey