Town Hall Meeting Information
Town Hall Meeting Information
As you have seen in the church’s blue newsletter we will have a Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, March 22 at 6:00 p.m. This meeting will help our church take the next step in deciding our future.
The church council explored several options with a goal of finding the best fit for us as we move forward. We eliminated options for reasons ranging from the presence of the “trust clause,” to lack of Methodist recognition, to questions of the ability of the denomination to support us in transition. As we worked through this process, two options remained; to become an independent church for an interim period or to join the Global Methodist Church.
From a broad perspective, the drawbacks to remaining an independent church are threefold: 1) no connectional support of any kind, including the lack of group pension, retirement and health insurance benefits for our staff, 2) because of the disaffiliation agreement with the UMC, we would not be allowed to call ourselves a Methodist church, and 3) we would not have a book of discipline to follow unless we developed our own, which would be a daunting task. Using these reasons as our basis, the Administrative Council voted overwhelmingly to recommend that our church join the Global Methodist Church.
Over the course of this process there have been key points that were considered in this recommendation, and they are:
Shared beliefs and goals: The Global Methodist Church launched in May, 2022 after it became clear that there was no path for reconciliation with the United Methodist Church. The founders of this church are fellow Methodists who believe in the authority of scripture and orthodox theology. The GMC’s stated Mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ who worship passionately, love extravagantly, and witness boldly and their Vision is to join God in a journey of bringing new life, reconciliation, and the presence of Christ to all people, and to helping each person reflect the character of Christ.
The GMC has published a Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline which is available online. Members of the church council who have read this document have been favorably impressed.
Retention of our Methodist heritage and name: We will be able to return to our original church name, New Albany Methodist Church or use the name New Albany First Methodist Church, if we wish. Inclusion of the Global Methodist Church emblem is optional. We can continue to support missions that have always been precious to us. Paragraph 604 of the GMC Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline states, “General Conference shall remember that disciples of Jesus are made at the level of the local church. The convening General Conference shall endeavor to keep as many resources at the level of the local church as possible…” Retaining more resources at the local level will enable us to better serve Jesus in our community.
Ready support during this time of change: Because the GMC has an established structure, they are ready to help us and have already done so by sending Lee Ann Williamson, Chair of the Transitional Conference Advisory Team and Church Organizer for the Global Methodist Church in Mississippi to meet with the church council. One of the first things we will need to do is call a pastor and we have been reassured that the GMC has a pool of qualified clergy. We will be able to interview potential pastors and the ultimate decision of who pastors our church will be in our hands. The path for our church to join the GMC is direct, uncomplicated, and achieved through an application process.
Accountability and enforcement of the Book of Discipline: The GMC was formed out of the issues that have risen within the UMC regarding their inability to hold bishops, clergy, and churches accountable to The Discipline. We believe this starts with leadership. In the GMC, bishops will be held to term limits (¶501) and will also be held accountable by others, other than themselves (¶807, ¶809). The GMC also employs an administrative complaint process for bishops and pastors so presiding elders and bishops can address issues within the church (¶806, ¶807). Clergy and churches will be held accountable, as well. Incoming clergy will have to pledge that they agree with and will uphold The Doctrines and Discipline of the GMC (¶417.1-2). Local churches and pastors will be required to preach and teach orthodox doctrine and if they stray, they will be held accountable. After a formal warning, local congregations can be disaffiliated by an annual conference (¶354).
Focus on Discipleship: Let’s go back to the GMC’s Mission Statement. It is simply to make disciples of Jesus Christ and while doing so we will worship passionately, love extravagantly, and witness boldly. All of us, individually and collectively have a job to do. We are called to make disciples and we like that the GMC recognizes that disciples are made at the local church. Their focus is not on bureaucracy-building, but providing us the tools and support to help build God’s kingdom right here in our downtown New Albany location.
The GMC website has a wealth of information and is easy to navigate. Please take your time to visit their page and access the Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline. The website is https://globalmethodist.org/.
Ultimately, where we land is still in the hands of all of you. The purpose of the Town Hall Meeting is to allow our church family to meet with Lee Ann Williamson, the GMC coordinator in Mississippi. Lee Ann will share important information and be available to answer your questions. Attending the Town Hall is important to allow you to learn more about the GMC and to prepare you to vote on this issue. We will have a churchwide vote on Wednesday, March 29th, again at 6:00 p.m.
This is an exciting time so please plan to be a part of forming our church’s future!
The Administrative Council