This announcement from the Global Methodist Church was released last week in the wake of yet another delay in the UMC General Conference (now delayed to 2024). For more information on the delay of general conference, see here.
With humility, hope and joy, a 17 member body of theologically conservative Methodist clergy and laity, known as the Transitional Leadership Council, is pleased to announce the Global Methodist Church will officially launch on May 1, 2022.
Supported by fervent prayers, faithful discernment, and a sure hope for the future, the Global Methodist Church is a Holy Spirit inspired movement committed to making disciples of Jesus Christ who worship passionately, love extravagantly, and witness boldly to the ends of the earth.
Thousands of Methodist clergy and laity from around the world have worked together for over three years to lay the groundwork for a new, theologically conservative Methodist denomination steeped in the great ecumenical and evangelical confessions of the Christian faith. They envision a church fired by a warm hearted, Wesleyan expression of that faith that is dedicated to sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ in word and deed.
“The Global Methodist Church will warmly welcome people eager to join others in fulfilling its mission,” said the Rev. Keith Boyette, Chairman of the Transitional Leadership Council and President of the Wesleyan Covenant Association. “We have heard the truth of Jesus Christ, experienced the forgiveness of his grace and love, and so bear witness to his transforming power. We long to take our place alongside brothers and sisters in the church universal who seek to live out their faith everyday so that others might come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.”
After having worked for years to renew and reform The United Methodist Church, in late 2019, theological conservatives faithfully joined leading UM Church bishops, and leaders of centrist and progressive advocacy groups to hammer out an amicable and orderly plan to divide the UM denomination.
That plan, known as the Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace through Separation, rapidly gained the support of people across the UM connection, and it appeared headed for approval at the denomination’s May 2020 General Conference. Unfortunately, after two previous postponements, the UM Church officials have announced that it is postponing the conference for a third time. Its inability to find ways to help international delegates gain access to Covid-19 vaccinations and secure U.S. entry visas led to the cancellation.
Consequently, the Protocol cannot be adopted this year, so faithful and patient United Methodists will not be afforded the opportunity to part ways with the UM Church according to the Protocol’s terms. Under its provisions, every theologically conservative local church and annual conference would be allowed to join the Global Methodist Church with clear title to all of their property and assets in perpetuity.
“Many United Methodists have grown impatient with a denomination clearly struggling to function effectively at the general church level,” said Boyette. “Theologically conservative local churches and annual conferences want to be free of divisive and destructive debates, and to have the freedom to move forward together. We are confident many existing congregations will join the new Global Methodist Church in waves over the next few years, and new church plants will sprout up as faithful members exit the UM Church and coalesce into new congregations.”
It is anticipated that some theologically conservative local churches will find annual conferences willing to negotiate fair and just exit provisions, while others will unfortunately face obstacles placed in their paths. The Transitional Leadership Council decided it was time to launch the Global Methodist Church, so those who can leave early will have a place to land, to begin building and growing, and making room for others to join later.
Boyette said, “For theologically conservative local churches deciding to remain in the UM Church for a time, we are confident African Initiative, Good News, the Confessing Movement, UMAction, and the Wesleyan Covenant Association will continue to vociferously advocate for the ultimate passage of the Protocol. Every theologically conservative local congregation and annual conference should have the right to join the Global Methodist Church with all of their property and assets intact.”
Over the past two years the Transitional Leadership Council has met on almost a weekly basis to create a Global Methodist Church in formation. Informed by the work of the Wesleyan Covenant Association’s Global Council, Legislative Assembly, and dozens of task force teams that prepared white papers covering a host of issues, the members prepared a Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline. The book will govern the church during a transitional period prior to a convening General Conference to be held in the next 12 to 18 months. The Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline and much of the Transitional Leadership Council’s work can be found on the new church’s website and in Crossroads, the weekly e-newsletter it publishes. Persons and churches interested in aligning with the Global Methodist Church may express their interest through the new church’s website.
“As we embark on this great venture, we know we will stumble and fall at times,” said Boyette. “But with the great prophet Isaiah, we also firmly believe we will, in God’s good time, ‘run and not be weary,’ and ‘walk [in the way of the Lord] and not faint!’”
For additional information about the Global Methodist Church, visit GlobalMethodist.org.