January 20, 2023 Update: I have tried to wave people away from this chart created in 2021 because it was based mostly on the Draft Book of Doctrines and Discipline (an early WCA draft), not the later Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline (the actual Discipline in force for the GMC). But it keeps getting shared via social media.
This updated Version 1.6 is keyed to the Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline of the GMC and the current status of the United Methodist Church.
by Chris Ritter
|v. 1.6||United Methodist Church||Global Methodist Church|
|General Conference, AC, |
|Yes. Annual conference and district boundaries likely will be adjusted in many locations following the separation.||Yes. Annual conference and district boundaries will be new in many places.|
|Boards and Agencies?||Inherits the current 13 general boards and agencies.||New, leaner general church structure with a single connectional operations officer over all.|
|Name?||The United Methodist Church||The Global Methodist Church|
|Can a local church leave?||A process of disaffiliation expires in 2023. Most forms of exit are limited, granted at the discretion of the conference, and require various forms of payment.||Yes, after a 90-day period of discernment. No exit fee. The denomination can also disaffiliate a local church involuntarily if it is advancing doctrines contrary to the Discipline, after attempts at correction.|
|Trust Clause on Local Church|
|Local church property held in trust for the annual conference.||Local church property is owned by the local church. There is no trust clause.|
|Global in Nature?||Yes. (U.S., Western Europe, Philippines, and Africa)||Yes. (U.S., Eastern Europe, Philippines, and Africa). Some autonomous Methodist bodies in Latin America and Asia have indicated an interest in joining, but this process will likely take time.|
|Openly Non-celibate homosexual or Transgender Bishops and Clergy?||The UMC has two openly gay bishops and the number of openly gay clergy may number in the hundreds. While this is officially banned in the Book of Discipline, many feel this ban will be officially lifted in 2024.||No|
|Clergy Performing Same-Sex Weddings?||While this is currently banned in the UMC Discipline, it is practiced by clergy and bishops, varying by region. Many believe the ban will be lifted officially in 2024.||No|
|Female Clergy at All Levels of Leadership?||Yes||Yes|
|Clergy Deployment||Ordained elders guaranteed an appointment, and the local church guaranteed a pastor of the bishop’s choosing– with consultation.||Collaborative appointment system where church lay leaders have a bigger voice in the appointment. No guaranteed appointments for clergy.|
|Ordination||Elders and Deacons are separate orders. Commissioning is a step toward ordination in both orders. Many/most clergy are non-ordained, licensed local pastors with limited sacramental authority. Deacons do not normally have sacramental authority.||The GMC returns to the pre-1992 Methodist understanding that elders are first ordained as deacons. Former UM local pastors will be eligible for ordination as deacons. When they have completed course of study they may pursue elder’s orders. There will be permanent deacons and deacons on their way to becoming elders. Deacons have sacramental authority within their place of assignment.|
|Bishops||Yes. Bishops for life (in the U.S). Selected by Jurisdictional/Central Conferences and paid by General Church.||Yes. Details to be decided at the convening conference. Two bishops formerly serving the UMC have been received as active bishops in the GMC.|
|District Superintendents?||Yes. Appointed by the bishop.||Presiding Elders (the historic term for DS’s) may also serve a local church. Presiding elders are selected by the bishop.|
|Clergy Appointment Length?||One year at a time.||Open-ended.|
|Clergy Pensions?||Administered by Wespath||Administered by Wespath|
|Apportionments?||Yes.||Technically, no. But there will be connectional funding participating churches will be required to pay. There is a 1.5% cap on general church connectional funding (as a percentage of local church income). Payments to the annual conference are capped at 5%. In some places, this might mean the cost is about half that of the UMC.|
|Position on Abortion||“The beginning of life and the ending of life are the God-given boundaries of human existence. While individuals have always had some degree of control over when they would die, they now have the awesome power to determine when and even whether new individuals will be born. Our belief in the sanctity of unborn human life makes us reluctant to approve abortion.|
But we are equally bound to respect the sacredness of the life and well-being of the mother and the unborn child.
We recognize tragic conflicts of life with life that may justify abortion, and in such cases we support the legal option of abortion under proper medical procedures by certified medical providers. We support parental, guardian, or other responsible adult notification and consent before abortions can be performed on girls who have not yet reached the age of legal adulthood. We cannot affirm abortion as an acceptable means of birth control, and we unconditionally reject it as a means of gender selection or eugenics (see Resolution 3184).
We oppose the use of late-term abortion known as dilation and extraction (partial-birth abortion) and call for the end of this practice except when the physical life of the mother is in danger and no other medical procedure is available, or in the case of severe fetal anomalies incompatible with life. This procedure shall be performed only by certified medical providers. Before providing their services, abortion providers should be required to offer women the option of anesthesia.
We call all Christians to a searching and prayerful inquiry into the sorts of conditions that may cause them to consider abortion. We entrust God to provide guidance, wisdom, and discernment to those facing an unintended pregnancy.
The Church shall offer ministries to reduce unintended pregnancies. We commit our Church to continue to provide nurturing ministries to those who terminate a pregnancy, to those in the midst of a crisis pregnancy, and to those who give birth.
We mourn and are committed to promoting the diminishment of high abortion rates. The Church shall encourage ministries to reduce unintended pregnancies such as comprehensive, age-appropriate sexuality education, advocacy in regard to contraception, and support of initiatives that enhance the quality of life for all women and girls around the globe.
Young adult women disproportionately face situations in which they feel that they have no choice due to financial, educational, relational, or other circumstances beyond their control. The Church and its local congregations and campus ministries should be in the forefront of supporting existing ministries and developing new ministries that help such women in their communities. They should also support those crisis pregnancy centers and pregnancy resource centers that compassionately help women explore all options related to unplanned pregnancy. We particularly encourage the Church, the government, and social service agencies to support and facilitate the option of adoption. (See ¶ 161L.) We affirm and encourage the Church to assist the ministry of crisis pregnancy centers and pregnancy resource centers that compassionately help women find feasible alternatives to abortion.
Governmental laws and regulations do not provide all the guidance required by the informed Christian conscience. Therefore, a decision concerning abortion should be made only after thoughtful and prayerful consideration by the parties involved, with medical, family, pastoral, and other appropriate counsel.”
The following update has been proposed to General Conference by the General Board of Church and Society and will be considered in 2024:
K. Reproductive Health and Abortion
We support the provision of comprehensive, age-appropriate education for sexual health, as well as access to consistent, effective, and affordable contraception. We also affirm ministries and initiatives aimed at promoting reproductive health and enhancing the
quality of life for women and girls. Because of the dangers and risks involved in childbearing, we believe that women and girls should have consistent access to gynecological care. We, therefore, urge governments, businesses, churches, and other civic institutions to make access to prevention education, medical check-ups, treatment, and counseling high priorities for women and girls of childbearing age. Our commitment to the sanctity of human life makes us reluctant to condone abortion. We unconditionally reject it as an acceptable means of birth control or a mechanism for gender selection and other forms of eugenics. We support measures requiring parental,
guardian or other responsible adult notification and consent before abortions can be performed on girls who have not yet reached the age of legal adulthood, except in cases of alleged incest.
We oppose late-term or partial-birth abortion, a process also known as dilation and extraction. We call for the end to this practice, except when the life of the mother is in danger, no other medical treatments are feasible, or when severe abnormalities threaten the viability
of the fetus. We recognize that these and other tragic conflicts of life with life may justify decisions to terminate the life of a fetus. In these limited circumstances, we support the legal option of abortion and insist that such procedures be performed by trained medical providers
in clean and safe settings. We urge all those considering abortions to seek appropriate medical advice and pastoral counseling and to engage in searching, prayerful inquiries into other alternatives,
such as making babies available for adoption. We pray for those facing unintended pregnancies and offer our prayers and support as they attempt to discern God’s will and seek God’s wisdom and guidance. Regardless of the circumstances in which someone might get an abortion, we do not condone bullying or shaming people for their decisions or actions. We acknowledge that young women of childbearing age frequently report that they lack the ability to make meaningful life choices or exercise effective control over their
own lives. We challenge pastors, congregations, campus ministries, and others to be at the forefront of efforts to empower these young women. Additionally, we support resource
centers that offer compassionate care and help women explore alternatives to abortion. We recognize that access to reproductive health services is too often limited by economic factors. Women living in poverty are often unable to make choices about when to
become pregnant or about the size of their families. They also lack access to safe prenatal and postnatal care. Such a lack of agency perpetuates cycles of poverty by restricting the ability of women to participate in the workforce and by increasing the strain on scarce family resources. We support policies and programs that extend reproductive health services to women in economically challenged areas. We support the use of a variety of reproductive strategies for those desiring to have children, including fertility treatments, in vitro fertilization (IVF), embryo or sperm donation, surrogacy, and others. We believe the decision whether to use reproductive alternatives is
best left to those considering the use of these options, in consultation with their health care providers. In all instances, the use of reproductive alternatives should be in keeping with the
highest ethical standards, prioritizing the health and well-being of both women and children.
|“The sacredness of all life compels us to resist the practice of abortion except in the cases of tragic conflicts of life against life when the wellbeing of the mother and the child are at stake. We do not accept abortion as a means of birth control or gender selection, and we call upon all Christians as disciples of the Lord of Life to prayerfully consider how we can support those women facing unintended pregnancies without adequate care, counsel, or resources (Exodus 22:23-23, Psalm 139:13-16, James 1:27).”|
|Theology||“Our Theological Task” interprets how Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and Experience are sources of the theological journey of the UMC. Older statements of faith are listed as doctrinal standards and placed under a restrictive rule that makes them difficult to change (if not as difficult to ignore): The Articles of Religion of the Methodist Church, the EUB Confession of Faith, The Standard Sermons of John Wesley, the General Rules of the United Societies, and Wesley’s Explanatory Notes on the New Testament.|
Doctrinal standards are ranked (1) Holy Scripture: The 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, (2) Foundational Documents: Apostle’s Creed, Nicene Creed, and Definition of Chalcedon. (3) Constitutive Standards: Methodist Articles of Religion, EUB Confession of Faith, (4) Normative Wesleyan Standards: Standard Sermons of John Wesley, Wesley’s Explanatory Notes on the New Testament.