Bishop McKee Responds To Protocol Agreement On Separation
Following last February’s special session of the General Conference, most annual conferences in the United States – including the North Texas Conference – and in other parts of the world have experienced significant discord about the outcome. Many persons, regardless of their position on matters relating to human sexuality, know that the decision of the General Conference created harm for Traditionalists, Centrists and Progressives.
A group of 16 United Methodists from around the world and across the theological spectrum has unanimously agreed in principle on a proposed separation agreement that could provide a path forward for delegates to consider at the General Conference of The United Methodist Church in May.
Representatives from a number of organizations – including UMCNext, Mainstream UMC, Uniting Methodists, Good News, the Wesleyan Covenant Association and the Reconciling Ministries Network – along with Bishops from Africa, Europe, the Philippines and the United States developed an eight-page Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation that allows “each part of the Church to remain true to its theological understanding, while recognizing the dignity, equality, integrity, and respect of every person.”
Highlights from the plan – agreed on Dec. 17, 2019, and mediated by attorney Kenneth Feinberg – include:
- $25 million, distributed over four years, to the formation of a new traditionalist Methodist denomination. This group would relinquish claim to The UMC’s assets.
- $2 million for potential additional new Methodist denominations that may emerge from The UMC.
- $39 million supporting ministries for communities historically marginalized by racism.
- Churches wishing to stay in The UMC would not be required to conduct a vote; however, conferences and local congregations could vote to separate from The UMC to affiliate with new Methodist denominations.
To be clear, nothing will happen immediately, and much work remains as legislation currently is being developed for delegates to potentially act on in Minneapolis. This Protocol simply provides a framework for potential legislation while offering a great hope for our collective future. More information will be shared as it becomes available.
In his letter to the Romans, Paul wrote, “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” (8:28). I hope that you will join me in recognizing this agreement as an opportunity to reshape the General Church and as a way to overcome the hostility and division that has long limited us from living into and acting on the mission of the Church.