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Updates

In our most recent communication, we explored the UMC’s apparent strategy over the last few years through the hypothetical eyes of our denomination’s progressive leadership. Our continuing goal is to shine a light on the decisions that are being made in the UMC and how these decisions impact our beloved church, Buncombe Street. This week, let’s examine what is happening in the UMC:
There are fifty-four United Methodist conferences in the United States, each with their own bishop. Each bishop has been allowed to decide the terms under which their churches will be allowed to leave the UMC.
At this time, the South Carolina and the West Virginia conferences are the only two conferences whose bishops have not provided their churches a way to leave the UMC.
Our bishop, Rev. Bishop Jonathan Holston, has taken the position that disaffiliation under paragraph 2553 of the Book of Discipline is not possible. He believes that we have not broken any rules in the BOD, that there are no practicing non-celibate LBGTQ clergy, and that there have been no gay marriages performed in our conference.Presently, we are awaiting the decision of our bishop as he determines a pathway for South Carolina churches to leave the UMC under paragraph 2549. Leaving under 2549 would likely be a more expensive way out for the churches in South Carolina. Disaffiliation under paragraph 2549 would almost certainly result in the closure of some churches in our conference.Please be in prayer for Bishop Holston.

Costs

Outside of the South Carolina and the West Virginia Conferences, there is a wide range of costs being assessed to traditional churches attempting to leave the UMC. Some of our questions and concerns about the UMC requirements around disaffiliation and retention of church property are:

1.    The UMC did not pay for the cost of building and maintaining church properties; they were paid for by the members of the churches.

Why should the members have to pay anything in order to remain in their respective churches while they continue to faithfully follow the current doctrine of the Book of Discipline? The denomination is changing around us because of the lack of enforcement of the doctrine.

2.    Paragraph 120 of our Book of Discipline states: “The mission of the Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Local churches and extension ministries of the Church provide the most significant arenas through which disciple-making occurs.”

Why would the UMC allow the theology of the UMC to change, forcing traditional congregations to leave the denomination in order to remain true to their beliefs?

Why would the UMC then burden those congregations with high disaffiliation costs, making it difficult (and in some cases impossible) for the congregations to fulfill the mission of “making disciples of Christ”?

Why would the UMC do this knowing that in some cases the cost will cause churches to close? Is this not opposed to the mission of the UMC?

3.    Per the UMC mission statement, the local churches are a key part through which “disciple-making occurs”.

Why is the UMC causing harm to the ministry efforts of churches that want to leave simply because these churches continue to believe in and abide by the theology espoused by the current UMC Book of Discipline?

4.    Let’s imagine that the situation we are now experiencing were reversed. Imagine that the traditionalists are in the process of taking over a progressive UMC, forcing the progressive churches to leave the denomination. As a condition of leaving a now traditional UMC and retaining their church property, the progressive churches were forced to pay a large sum of money.

What kind of outcry would that produce? 

The Drag Show Phenomena

The ad above, issued by Oak Lawn United Methodist Church, recently came to our attention. Last Sunday, they incorporated a drag show into their “Celebration Sunday” worship service. The invitation was to attend the worship followed by free tacos and a drag show. The invitation was issued to the congregation and to the surrounding community. Oak Lawn UMC is a one hundred- and forty-eight-year-old United Methodist church in Dallas, Texas – a long-standing church in a southern state.

Trinity Lutheran Church has a similar profile to Oak Lawn UMC. Trinity is a church over 100 years old located in a southern state. Trinity Lutheran is located three blocks from BSUMC and was one of the stops on our church’s annual walk to the Cross. On May 12th of this year, Trinity Lutheran hosted a drag show as part of their outreach. Trinity Lutheran now has gay clergy and a focus on the LBGTQ community.

The Friends are having a difficult time trying to determine the connection between celebrating men who dress up as women and our Christian faith. Unfortunately, the practice of associating Christianity and drag queens is growing. 

The comparisons are shared to highlight the concerns that we have as traditional members of Buncombe Street. We believe that progressive changes will occur in our church if we remain in the UMC. We object to having our children exposed to drag shows in our church and object to their use to further the Kingdom of God.

40 Days

The phrase “40 days” is mentioned in the bible many times. God flooded the earth for 40 days and nights. Moses, Elijah and Jesus fasted for 40 days. Jesus wandered in the wilderness for 40 days. Goliath taunted Israel for 40 days before David defeated him.

When The Woodlands Methodist Church (one of the largest UM churches in Texas with over 14,000 members) was 40 days away from their vote, they joined together in 40 days of prayer using a prayer guide they created called “Forward in Faith.” Last month, they joined over 100 congregations in the Texas Annual Conference in voting to discern a new future outside of the UMC.

This past Tuesday marked 40 days until our vote on October 30. The Woodlands shared their prayer guide with Buncombe Street, and we encourage you to join us in praying each day for the future of our dear church. Click here for the prayer guide.

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

-Matthew 5:16-

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