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See below for questions and answers you may have about theology, human sexuality, the interpretation of scripture and the future of our church.

1) What is the current state of the United Methodist Church?

The United Methodist Church was formed in 1968. When the UMC was formed, there were 11 million members in the United States. Today, there are only 6,268,310 in the United States and 13 million worldwide. While U.S. membership has steadily declined over the past half century, membership in Africa and Asia is growing.

2) What happens if we vote to disaffiliate?

There are several options for disaffiliation from the UMC, two of which are addressed in the UMC Book of Discipline. If we disaffiliate, we can choose to join other traditional denominations such as the Global Methodist Church, the Free Methodist Church, or choose to be an independent church.

3) Is a denominational change something new to Buncombe Street United Methodist Church (BSUMC)?

Our church has been in existence since 1834, however, we have only been a part of the United Methodist Church since 1968. Over the years there have been several denominational changes and the church not only survived, but thrived. Change can be a chance for unification and revival within our congregation. Of greater concern to us are the theological changes that are occurring in the United Methodist Church.

Timeline of our church

1834 – Buncombe Street United Methodist Church was founded as the Greenville Methodist Episcopal Church
1873 – A new church building dedicated in the location where we worship today
1873 – The name of the church changed to Buncombe Street Methodist Episcopal Church, South
1939 – The name of the church changed to Buncombe Street Methodist
1968 – The name of the church changed to Buncombe Street United Methodist Church
2017 – The former Trinity United Methodist Church was adopted and became a campus of Buncombe Street United Methodist Church

4) Why can’t we all just stay together in the United Methodist Church and respect each other’s theological differences?

Disagreements on the authority of the Bible, interpretation of the Bible, and the interpretation of scripture illustrate how deep the divide in the UMC has become. Both sides (traditionalists and non-traditionalist) believe their understanding of the Bible is correct.

As our fellow Methodists from Trinity on the Hill in Georgia said, “separating into two expressions of faith is both a beginning and an end for both traditionalists and non-traditionalist – an end to conflict and uncertainty, and the beginning of vibrant denominations that can focus time and resources on missions and ministries instead of focusing on the conflicts that divide us.”

5) If non-traditionalists don’t agree with the United Methodist Church Book of Discipline, why do they get to keep the name “United Methodist Church”?

It is counterintuitive that the traditionalists are “leaving” the United Methodist Church when they believe in the current Book of Discipline. Traditionalists feel they aren’t leaving, but rather the church is leaving them. Methodism is our expression of Christian faith, but we are no longer “united.” The goal was never about winning or taking over the UMC.

The traditionalists’ goal has always been to create a vibrant evangelical Wesleyan church that is fully focused on mission and ministry, and not a church mired in a bureaucracy, dysfunction, and divisiveness. Trusting God’s grace and committing to doing his will leads to a faithful and fruitful future.

6) Who is Friends to Preserve Buncombe Street and what is the reason for this website?

Friends to Preserve Buncombe Street (FTPBS) is comprised of lay leaders and members of Buncombe Street United Methodist Church who love their church and are alarmed by the changes occurring in the United Methodist Church. FTPBS members hold traditional values. We are working to maintain our Methodist heritage by educating and mobilizing our congregation.

Our charge is to prevent the doctrinal changes occurring in the United Methodist Church from occurring at Buncombe Street. The group is not private or secret; in fact, the names of the members are listed below. We feel called to speak openly and honestly about the divide within the United Methodist Church. We have created this website to provide:

  • Theological and institutional differences within the United Methodist church
  • Urgency to take action and why
  • Options moving forward
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Ongoing reference material

Friends to Preserve Buncombe Street:

Name
Kristin Tempel
Melanie Wills
Phillip Deal
Sue Waddell
Hayley Jarrio
Lee Robirds
Rob and Joye Davis
Jerold (Jerry) House
Suzanna Tiffin
Anonymous
Joan and Nicholas Burkhardt
Anna and Logan Green
Anonymous
Anonymous
Andrew Wills
Anonymous
Anonymous
Cas Winkles
Anonymous
Loraine Smith
Karen Parks
Anita Strout
Terry Strout
Debbie Fogleman
Nicholas Burkhardt
John Harper
Lynn & Melissa Solesbee
Adair Bannister
Thomas Layne
Kyle Jarrio
Nate Manning
Suzie Luhn
Dave Fourman
Eric and Jane Spadavecchia
Vicki Wells
Dustin Green
Sara & Michael Cornish
Brenda Austin
Jane Peden
Judy Czarsty
Walker Hogan
Anonymous
Anonymous
Lindsey Deon
Mark Davis
Susie Jeter
Anonymous
Cindy Jeffcoat Larsen
William Scott
Anonymous
Luke and Lisa Langner
Anonymous
Jeff Hilderbran
Kathy Marshall
Becky Edmonds
Alex Edmonds
Anonymous
Anonymous
Michael Thompson
James Wilson
Gloria & Bob Griffin
Robbie Boman
Harold Boman
Lea Fulk
Brent Yarborough
BRENDA MUNNERLYN
Mary Sargent
Dick Sargent
Nancy Meyers
Margaret Almers
Janet Malaska🦥
Anonymous
David Campbell
Norman Murdaugh
Raymond Meyers
Paul Schaefer
Louis & Kim Redmond
Karen Schaefer
Wayne Ianuario
Sandra Ianuario
William Parks
Lee Hardin
Anonymous
Anonymous
Victoria and Bill Blaker
Steve & Jeanette Roberts
Anonymous
Scott Gordon
Paul Landers, Jr.
Connie Bachert
Judy and Fred Suggs
Anonymous
David Roper
Debbie Roper
Ken Smith
Dwayne Wood
Ken Troutman
Ellen Thompson
Margaret Creech
Anonymous
Sarah Taylor
Norma Hayes
Lloyd Hayes
Russell Holliday
Dawn & Tom Layne
Ken & Anne Branham
Anonymous
Anonymous
April Stambaugh
Nancy Orders Smith
Happy Holliday
Janice Holliday
Stephen and Faye Shaughnessy
Julie and Ross Turner
Anonymous
Anonymous
Elizabeth Sullivan
Rick & Tina Hogan
Jason Pritchard
Les Pritchard
Bill Shaughnessy
Debbie Shaughnessy
Bobbie Pritchard
Alexander Payne
Judy Nabers
Martin Fridy
Hunter Fridy
Dana Gantt Moore
Gerald Dietz
Becky Dietz
Elaine Hitch
Shannon Smith
CAROL UNDERWOOD
Oby and Debbie Lyles
Jennifer Harrill
Larry Patterson
Dixon Harrill
Matt Johnson
Becky Barnhill
GORDON GIBSON
Rob and Angie Gage
George Fox
Mary Jo Fox
Lee Maxwell
Marsha Maxwell
Walker Hogan
Jimmy Wilson
Kathy Wilson
Karen Peter
Sue Loomis
Fran Herlong
Christopher Taylor
Judy Brown
Suzanne Hardin
Emily Goldsmith
Gary Daniels
Beverly Duncan
Rosamund Korybski
Dorene Fridy
Wallace Fridy, Jr
Bob Neel
Karen Neel
Tom Bates
Mickey & Laurie Smith
Austin Greene
Mary Helms
Michael Helms
Kelley and AJ Norris
Rachel and Josh Malpass
Andrea Bolger
Katie and Steven Barber
Han and Jane Lukker
william Gaffney
Kyle and Dawn Brown
Brandee Sponseller
Ben Greene
John Miles
Rhita Nance
Mike and Robin Cornish
Renee Middleton
Dianne Grubbs
Brett Sponseller
Leslie and Ben Owens
Tom & Julie Buchanan
Lu Smith
J.B. Watts
Gay Watts
Carol Black
Archie Black
Susan Patterson
Choppy Patterson
Shannon Bull
Ellis Turner
Curtis Bull
June League
Donnie Smith
Melissa Smith
Clay Turner
Pat Duncan
Michael and Ashley Douglas
Sean and Leigh Turner
Rachel Shaughnessy
Margaret Shaughnessy
Barbara Tiffin
Doug Stambaugh
Craig and Ginger Stratton
Edward and Leigh Heidtman
Laura Lynn and William Luce
Kimberly and Wes Few
Andrew and Mandy Bullock
Harriet and Clarence Bauknight
Rebecca and Paul Harrison
Jeff and Julie Wilson
Brenda and Tommy Young
Danny and Telisa Moyd
Mike and Kim Morris
Dale and Jennifer Heflin
Jim and Allison Warren
Scott and Anna Thompson
Michael Taylor
Kathy Taylor
Tim Morrissey
Parker Carlisle
C. Brock Bauknight Jr
Mignon Fowler
Wes Fowler
Ann Burns
Mike Smith
Earl Grubbs
Maureen Ross
Todd Harris
Bill Hagler
Sandi Wilson
Dale Troyer
Stacie Marchant
Jim Barnes
Michael Hawley
Josh Tew
Edward Mercer
Tom Sturtevant
Ranette Haas
Amber Price
Kristen Harris
Erin Mercer
Lou Barnes
Debbie Putnam
Miller Gaffney Thomas

7) Is human sexuality the main issue of debate?

While human sexuality is the issue receiving the most public attention and debate, it is not the root issue. It is a symptom of a deeper divide about theological and institutional issues.

The Book of Discipline has remained constant for decades. However, non-traditional Methodists, both individuals and groups, have submitted legislative petitions calling for the removal of language concerning human sexuality.

FTPBS believes in the authority of the Bible, supports the Traditional Christian view and desires to maintain the Methodist Book of Discipline.

 It is also important to understand the issue of human sexuality/homosexuality is not the only issue at stake.  There are many differences between orthodox traditional Christian theology and progressive Christian theology. These include but are not limited to: the understanding of who God is and His nature, the authority of scripture, the understanding of sin, redemption and the need for transformation by Jesus.”

Rev. Jeff Kersey
Mt. Horeb United Methodist Church, Columbia, SC

8) What are the core theological issues that divide the United Methodist Church?

The theological division that we face as a denomination is rooted in our differing beliefs regarding the authority of the Bible, incompatible interpretations of the Bible and the divinity of Jesus Christ. We believe that these and other differences in beliefs are, unfortunately, irreconcilable.

We are in a fight for the faith delivered once for all. Today, The United Methodist Church (and the Methodist movement as a whole) is wrestling with whether it will rediscover, recognize, and reclaim its roots at the heart of this faith. The time of theological toleration saturated with moral indifference is past. The reality before us is of a diseased Christianity that we must counter by rediscovering radical allegiance to Christ, recognizing the reality of the battle we are in, and reclaiming core Christian orthodoxy.”

Mike Lowry
Bishop of the Central Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church

9) What are some of the differences between the United Methodist Church and the Global Methodist Church?

10) What does scripture say about these issues?

The wide range of disagreements about the theology, human sexuality and the interpretation of scripture illustrate how deep the divide in the UMC has become. Both sides (traditionalists and non-traditionalists) believe that their understanding of the Bible is correct. Separating into two expressions of faith is both a beginning and an end for both traditionalists and non-traditionalists—an end to conflict and uncertainty, and the beginning of vibrant denominations that can focus time and resources on missions and ministries instead of focusing on the conflicts that divide us.

We need to be a united community of faith. This can best be accomplished with an agreement on common theology and leadership that supports this theology.

Please join us in prayerfully considering how important each belief is in your faith walk. Read Scripture related to each belief/topic about current practices in the UMC. Ask questions; talk with a spiritual mentor, a member of our clergy, your Sunday School class, your Bible study group, a member of the Friends to Preserve Buncombe Street, and the Way Forward Task Force.

Click to view the full scriptural reference chart

SOURCE: Trinity on the Hill United Methodist Church, Augusta, Georgia

11) Why the urgency to take action and what is the FTPBS plan?

The opportunity for our members to have a voice in the future of our church and its theological beliefs hinges on a formal request that will be made to the SC Annual Conference by February 2023. FTPBS believes a decision of this magnitude deserves sufficient time for education and discernment so that the members of our church can openly explore the theological differences within the United Methodist Church, discern where our clergy members stand, and determine our path for the future. We do not want our future to be decided for us. It’s critical we meet key dates to have a voice in our church’s future.

It’s critical we meet several key dates noted below to have a voice in our church’s future.

KEY DATES ACTIONS REQUIRED
April  2022 A period of education and discernment of the issues begins
Fall 2022 Congregation vote on whether or not to disaffiliate
December 2022 Request for inclusion on SC Annual Conference agenda prepared
February 2023 Formal request made for inclusion on SC Annual Conference agenda
June 2023 Request to disaffiliate presented to SC Annual Conference
June 2023 Delegates vote to accept or deny request to disaffiliate (simple majority)
December 31, 2023 Current provision to disaffiliate expires

The UMC continues to be in crisis, and is now facing major restructuring. Ongoing discussions and debates have splintered (and some would add, have stymied) the United Methodist denomination in America. We are distracted and deeply divided. We desperately need a definitive decision so that we can move forward, regaining our focus on our mission to ‘make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”

 Rev. Jody Flowers
Chapin United Methodist Church, Chapin, SC­­­­­

12) What is our vision for the future?

The vision for our church going forward involves many things, the most important of which is the homogeneity of our congregation’s belief of the sanctity of the Bible. We want to continue to grow in the love of God and build upon the church’s one foundation, which is Jesus Christ Our Lord. We want to continue to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

As a fourth generation Methodist I am excited by a fresh wind of the Holy Spirit where I see God doing a new thing! God is creating a church rooted in Scripture and the love of Jesus, and he is calling us to participate with him.”

Dr. Bob Hayes
Transitional Leadership Council Member
Bishop in Residence at The Woodlands United Methodist Church, Woodlands, Texas

13) What are the most frequently asked questions?

Click here for questions and answers you may have about theology, human sexuality, the interpretation of scripture and the future of our church

14) What references are available for further education and discernment?

Click here for convenient and helpful references to assist you in your study of the issues.

15) Why did Friends to Preserve Buncombe Street (FTPBS) create a petition to call for a vote to disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church?

While news of turmoil within the United Methodist Church may be a surprise to some, a division has been building for years. Although human sexuality is the issue that has received the most press and attention, this is just one of many deep, theological divisions within the United Methodist Church.

We know of many United Methodist churches that have been openly discussing the differences in theology to determine their path for the future. Some have already voted on whether or not disaffiliate from the United Methodist Conference.

The Friends to Preserve Buncombe Street share traditional values and believe that Buncombe Street should disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church. Like other traditionalists, we are trying to maintain our Methodist heritage, not change or reinterpret the doctrines.

When a 2019 UMC survey asked what the primary focus of the United Methodist Church should be, 68% of self-identified non-traditionalists chose “advocating for social justice to transform the world.”  Of the traditionalists, 70% picked “saving souls for Jesus Christ.” In the same survey when asked about salvation, half of self-identified non-traditionalist believe “there are ways to salvation that do not involve Jesus.”  By contrast, 86% of traditionalists believe “The only way to salvation is through a relationship with Jesus.”  When asked about Jesus, 38% of non-traditionalist believe “Jesus committed sins like other people.”

It is vital for our church members to have the facts about conflicting issues within the United Methodist church. We called for the vote so Buncombe Street can openly explore the theological differences within the United Methodist Church, discern where our clergy members stand, and so our congregation can determine our path for the future. We believe this decision should be made by the church members instead of it being decided for us.

16) Contact us with questions

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