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The Potential Disassociation Process

                        The Disaffiliation Process which was created by the 2019 Called Special General Conference expired December 31, 2023. At the General Conference that was held in April of this year, 2024, the Disaffiliation paragraph 2553 was not extended forward. Many conferences are pursuing other ways to disassociate. Note the article below.
 
 

Holston Conference Trustees

June 28, 2024

Disassociation Process Update

The Board of Trustees for the Holston Annual Conference met on Wednesday, June 26th to continue their work on a process for churches seeking to exit the denomination who find it untenable to continue effective ministry as a United Methodist Church due to changes in language in the Book of Discipline regarding human sexuality. This work is being done to fulfill the promise provided in the Fall 2022 Resolution that the conference will seek a fair, gracious, and non-punitive process to permit a local church to sever its ties to The United Methodist Church, subject to these certain conditions, if one is not provided by the General Conference.

Since our last communication, at least 2 Annual Conferences have sought Declaratory Decisions from the United Methodist Judicial Council to find out if such a process is even permitted in accordance with the Book of Discipline and actions of General Conference eliminating a disaffiliation process.

Accordingly, the Board of Trustees are working diligently to develop a process utilizing provisions of the Book of Discipline to accomplish what was promised without violating the Book of Discipline. For this reason, the process being finalized has multiple steps and provisions that are designed to withstand scrutiny by the Judicial body of The United Methodist denomination.

Likewise, since the disaffiliation process has been terminated, the process Holston Conference will use, that permits a church to disassociate from the United Methodist denomination, will necessarily be through the process of church closure under the Book of Discipline ¶2549.

We anticipate the Judicial Council will issue a Decision later this year. In the meantime, the Board of Trustees will continue to move forward with the implementation of this process we have put together. However, for obvious reasons, no church closures will be finalized until the Judicial Council has ruled such a process is legally appropriate.

While there are a few additional steps to be finalized, we anticipate the work of the trustees to conclude in the next few weeks.

Once the limited Provisional Church Closure process has been finalized, the specific process and terms for church closure will be communicated to the District Superintendents.  Any church that feels it is untenable to continue as a United Methodist Church for the reasons stated above, may explore this option with its District Superintendent – who will have the necessary information at that time.  Until the process is shared with your District Superintendent, they will not have any additional information to provide. Thank you for understanding.

Finally, the Board of Trustees wishes to express its gratitude for your patience as we navigate this complex process to fulfill our promise to seek a fair, gracious and non-punitive process within the parameters of The Book of Discipline for churches discerning their continued relationship with The United Methodist Church. Again, you can expect an announcement that a process has been finalized within the next several weeks.

 

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Tim Jones

Director of Communications

Holston Conference

The United Methodist Church

8645 E. Brainerd Rd. Chattanooga, TN 37421 
423-892-9363
423-892-8443 fax