During a season of intense discussion and discernment, many within the North Texas Conference have questions about the disaffiliation process and what it means for their congregations, the conference and The United Methodist church at large.
Below are resources and answers to frequently asked questions regarding disaffiliating churches. While the North Texas Conference remains committed to participation in The United Methodist Church and finds immense value in our connection, we also want to share clear, accurate and up-to-date information for those who have questions.
Resources for Conversation
The UMC is founded on a Wesleyan theology of grace, anchored in Scripture and based in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and the continuing movement of the Holy Spirit. Find videos and testimonies illustrating why this connection remains so important to church leaders and members across the North Texas Conference, as well as tools and resources for use in congregational conversations.Why #BeUMC
While most of the churches in the North Texas Conference will continue faithfully doing the good work of The United Methodist Church, the conference has established a process of discernment for those who would not. Based on ¶2553 of The Book of Discipline, the process is an intentional period of discernment that unfolds over 9-12 months and is conducted in partnership with conference leadership.
Any disaffiliation resolution must be approved by a 2/3 majority vote of professing members, and basic terms include:
- Local church payments to the North Texas Conference for two years of apportionments
- Payment of the local church’s share of unfunded pension liability
- Repayment of any grants received from the North Texas Conference in the last 10 years
- Payment for the costs of any legal work required
- Pray for your church, its leaders and The United Methodist church as a whole
- Stay focused on the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world
- Leverage North Texas Conference resources and support
- Rely on straightforward, accurate information, making sure to check sources
- Build relationships across lines of difference within the conference and your congregation
- Listen and allow for others to share their perspectives openly
- Move slowly, be intentional and walk in partnership with your church leadership and district superintendent
Clergy members in good standing wishing to withdraw, either to unite with another denomination, to terminate their membership in The United Methodist Church or to withdraw from the ministerial office entirely, should follow the process as outlined in ¶360.1 and ¶360.2.
For clergy appointed to a disaffiliating church or whose charge conference membership resides with a disaffiliating church, this process must be completed prior to the church’s date of disaffiliation.
What are the implications of disaffiliation on a clergy member's retirement, pension and health insurance?
The NTC Center for Connectional Resources has compiled policies and planning tools for clergy benefits.
Additionally, Wespath has published a chart outlining the impact on benefits of terminating the Annual Conference relationship and is maintaining up-to-date information on disaffiliation.
There will not be a published list of churches participating in the discernment process; however, any disaffiliations will come before the Annual Conference for approval in 2023.
While we can't speak behalf of any other denominations, especially those still in the early stages of development, in the North Texas Conference, we are confident in claiming our United Methodist identity as distinctly Wesleyan, as instruments of good in our communities around the world and as beautifully diverse by design.
My congregation is starting to have conversations about disaffiliating. What steps should we be taking?
If there are serious questions or significant conversations about disaffiliation in your church, the right next step is for a pastor, lay leader or council/board chair to contact the district superintendent for further conversation.
Jurisdictional Conferences will be convened Nov. 2-5, for the election and assignment of new bishops.
The North Texas Conference will continue to welcome all children in its camping programs, introducing them to the love of God in a grace-filled, Christian community while surrounded by the beauty of nature. This includes welcoming children from churches that have chosen to disaffiliate from The United Methodist Church.