aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

Of Interest to United Methodists

"And there's an end to an auld sang." -- Scottish peer upon the vote of the Scots Parliament to ratify the 1707 Union with England and thus abolish itself.

The Council of Bishops announced today that all parties -- you read that right, ALL parties -- the traditionalists, the progressives, the centrists, the bishops both from America and the Central Conferences, have signed an agreement to work together in General Conference 2020 to amicably separate.

The traditionalists -- who won the last round at GC 19 -- will separate with assistance from the parent church to form a new denomination. Any UM congregation or minister (and, one presumes, any Annual Conference) can join the new denomination without penalty and with all their assets. I'm guessing, we'll see an Organizing General Conference next fall.

The centrists inherit the rump of the UMC -- perhaps the larger part, at least in the US. All the bishops get to keep their jobs. All the general agencies remain to them to give them the joys of bureaucracy. They keep the UM name, apparently. They will soon after the separation call a new GC to repeal the Traditional Plan and smooth the way for gay-friendly policies.

The progressives, for whom the centrists are too slow, receive the option to separate from the UMC later. We'll see how that works out. My guess is, most will stay once the rump repeals all the prohibitions against same-sex weddings and gay ordination. But if the rump balks at the other things they want, such as new ceremonies to celebrate coming out and gender transition and new Special Days to focus on the goodness of gayness, etc., they can still opt out and go their own way, with assistance. My guess is, that special GC to create the "renewed" UMC will be a corker.

That means that this summer's Indiana Annual Conference will be the last such conference with everybody all together. There may be some special poignancy to it. Certainly, we Scouters are going to be there with bells on. This is the 100th anniversary year of the relationship between the UMC (via its predecessors) and BSA. We will celebrate all year. The UMC is now the largest charter partner of BSA, at least until we see how the dust settles from the time of separations.

Some of us within the Indiana UM Scouting community have had some quiet talks about the future. We haven't settled anything, but we have been determined all along to not give way to acrimony and fights over rights to this or that. The future of The Indiana United Methodist Pathfinder, Inc., is unknown, but so long as we still hold significant money given for scholarships and such, I imagine we will be open to resourcing applications from Scouts from any of the successor conferences. That said, we have only a tiny base who has held the Scouting ministry in our conference in being for the benefit of all of us, and I imagine we will be as split as any other part of the UMC in the days to come. The Indiana UM Pathfinder may have to die and be reborn as something else, but as good Scouts we will always treat other Scouts in other denominations as brothers and sisters.

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