1. Why was a discernment team formed at this time?
The Discernment Team has been formed to investigate whether Centenary UMC should consider disaffiliating from the United Methodist Church denomination. The factors driving this process are twofold;
- the failure by some annual conferences to enforce the Book of Discipline regarding the ban on allowing practicing homosexual persons to be ordained and/or be elected bishops, and
- the approaching deadline for favorable disaffiliation under Paragraph 2553 of the Book of Discipline. The disaffiliation plan offers a limited way to release congregations from the United Methodist Church’s centuries-old trust clause, which states that church property is held in trust for the benefit of the entire denomination. The provision permits such disaffiliations through Dec. 31, 2023.
Paragraph 2553 (found here) outlines the steps the congregation, the district superintendent, and the conference must take to request, meet the criteria for, and complete a disaffiliation from The United Methodist Church.
These provisions require, at a minimum, three things:
- a decision to disaffiliate by a two-thirds majority of the professing members present at a church conference (not charge conference);
- the payment in full of two years of that congregation’s apportionment commitment as set by the conference (consisting of the previous year’s apportionments and twelve months in advance);
- the payment in full of the congregation’s pro-rata share of the conference’s pension liability, based on a formula approved by the annual conference.
Disaffiliation is complete only when all payments due are made in full, the annual conference has approved the motion of disaffiliation and the effective date of disaffiliation set by the annual conference is reached.
2. What is the timeline for Centenary to disaffiliate?
The UMC Denomination established a deadline where churches can disaffiliate by December 31, 2023. However, the Kentucky Annual Conference further restricted that timeline for disaffiliating churches in Kentucky. The timeline for Centenary is as follows:
- February 26, 2023: Centenary UMC will hold a Church Conference to vote on disaffiliation. Please mark your calendars. This meeting will start at 12:30 PM after our worship service and will be held in the CLC Multi-Purpose room. You will need to be on time, or early and you will need to bring an ID to verify that you are a member.
- May 1, 2023: Last day to submit the UMC required documentation and financial obligation for disaffiliation to the Conference Treasurer.
- June 5-7, 2023: Kentucky Annual Conference dates for ratification of disaffiliating churches.
3. If the disaffiliation vote passes, will Centenary still remain Methodist?
Yes, we are Methodist in theology and will remain Methodist. We have been 'Methodists' since our inception in 1788, long before the United Methodist Denomination formed in 1968. Previously we have been a part of the Methodist Episcopal Church (1788), the Methodist Episcopal Church, South (1844), the Methodist Church (1939) and have been United Methodist since 1968.
4. If the members vote to disaffiliate, will Centenary join another Methodist denomination?
If Centenary votes to disaffiliate, this determination will be the next step of the discernment process. There are many options including the Global Methodist (website), Free Methodist (website) and other Wesleyan/Methodist streams of the church. We also have the option of remaining independent for a time.
5. What are the financial implications of this process?
- If Centenary members vote to disaffiliate with the UMC, all property, which is now owned by the denomination, will be deeded to Centenary without further cost other than those listed in the points below.
- The financial costs to the conference for disaffiliation include apportionments (current year plus next year) and unfunded pension liabilities. The Discernment team has received this number from our DS and the amount is available to members. Centenary UMC is capable of covering the costs of disaffiliation.
- Internal costs for property transfer, change in name, removal of old name and logo, etc. will be incurred.
- If disaffiliation occurs, Centenary will no longer pay apportionments to the conference which are approximately $65,000 annually. If we choose to join another denomination, there will be some payments. This could be less but is not knowable currently.
- Centenary is blessed to be debt free.