The UMC Split: A Separation that Encourages Future Cooperation

Disclaimer: In the video I mention the option of using ¶2548.2 as the “Middle Ground.” I recorded that before we found a way to make ¶2553 work for us.

I know some people that love the challenge of negotiating a better deal. I hate it, and I’m not very good at it. I don’t even like shopping. Before I make a larger purchase or one that’s not in my budget, I usually will think about it for months if not years. Apparently I’m negotiating with myself to weigh if the cost outweighs the benefits.

When it comes to the United Methodist split, some conferences are making it as expensive as possible for churches to leave the denomination. Others are making it nearly free to leave. In the Dakotas, if a church wants to leave because they disagree on how the denomination is handling human sexuality, there’s a very specific process with very specific costs. Here’s the costs:

  • Pension Withdrawal Liability: This is roughly $1,100/year of service for pastors that have served your church and are still living.
  • Current on Last 12 Months Apportionments: If you’ve been paying as you go, this won’t be any additional costs.
  • Unpaid Apportionments from 2020: The Discipline calls for an additional 12 months. Our Council on Finance & Administration has decided that the additional 12 months will be the equal to the unpaid amounts from 2020 when we had to borrow from reserves.
  • $1 for the Property: This just makes it easier to process any deeds.

One of the complicating factors is if a church wants to leave for reasons besides human sexuality. That’s really not defined well. In recent years, churches have left using the provision to transfer property to another evangelical denomination (¶2548.2) or by discontinuing (¶2549).

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