Local Church Next Steps for Disaffiliation or Withdrawal

  • Pray! We beg you not to start this process without spending time in prayer talking with God. Ask Him for discernment as to the best way forward. This process will be taxing, and at times difficult. You do not want to embark on this journey without continually being covered in prayer. We strongly encourage you to find a way to bring your entire church into a corporate prayer process.

Matthew 7:7-8 – 7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

  • Have a meeting with your local church lay leadership to discern the best way to move forward. Likely this should occur with your church council (or whatever your church calls its leadership team). Time is of the essence: A slow go, is a slow ‘no’! The pastor will decide for her/himself whether s/he will move to the GMC (Global Methodist Church). Laity cannot decide that for their pastor. Likewise, the pastor should not interfere with lay leadership who discern their church wants to begin the withdrawal/disaffiliation process.
  • Decide how you wish to depart the UMC (United Methodist Church). There are two ways: disaffiliation under ¶2553, and withdrawal through ‘Joint Litigation Strategy”. conference. The WCA-VA (Wesleyan Covenant Association of Virginia) is happy to give you guidance if you have specific questions.
    • Recommended:  If you have the money and you wish to leave more quickly, withdraw under The Book of Discipline ¶2553.  Contact your DS to begin this process with its thirty days of prayer and discernment. Disaffiliation under ¶2553 requires about two year’s apportionments and the church’s pro rata share of unfunded pension liability, retired clergy health insurance liability and other requirements.  This is the method advocated by the Council of Bishops and the Virginia Annual Conference administration.
    • Recommended: If your church does not have the money and/or your church considers the Virginia Conference’s financial expectation unwarranted and unfair, join the ‘Joint Litigation Strategy” of local churches.  They have formed an alliance together seeking to negotiate a fairer and more equitable withdrawal from the Virginia Conference through legal representation by the National Center for Life and Liberty.   If you desire to join this alliance, then let the following be done:
  1. Motion is made at the church council that your church withdraw from the annual conference and authorize the NCLL (National Center for Life and Liberty) to represent your church to the Virginia Annual Conference with intent on negotiating a more equitable agreement through legal means of withdrawing from the UMC and join the GMC (Global Methodist Church).
    1. Conduct a meeting of the professing members of the local church and take a vote to align with the decision of the church council to withdraw and authorize NCLL to represent you. This requires a majority vote (50% +1).
    1. Inform the WCA-VA that your church has voted to join the ‘Joint Litigation Strategy’ group.Contact the WCA-VA President, Tom Thomas, at 434-333-5755 or hot4JC@verizon.net .
  2. Contact the NCLL to sign up. Point of Contact is Jane Gresens at 727-233-7623. Cost is $1,000 for a year or $100/month with a 12 month commitment. Please indicate your church has joined NCLL by contacting Tom Thomas (President WCA-VA)
  3. Use this time to reinvigorate your church membership. You are turning a new page to a bright, new future. Look at your church’s vision, mission, strategies, and values. Now is a great time to take a new look at them and decide if God is calling you to new ways to make disciples of Jesus. Decide how you will brand yourself. Decide how you will govern your local church in accordance with the provisions laid out in the GMC’s Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline.
  4. Know that the WCA-Virginia is just a phone call, text message, or email away. You can contact the WCA-VA President, Tom Thomas, at 434-333-5755 or hot4JC@verizon.net .
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