Dear Beloved Indiana United Methodists,

I am committed to always place prayer as a priority and encouragement as my goal. My encouragement is rooted in the love of Jesus Christ and my desire for us to do all the good we can in a time when the world is hungry for the “Living Bread.”

My intention today is to address concerns some may be experiencing in our churches and cast a vision for the future.

This is a season in the life of The United Methodist Church where some churches and individuals are choosing to no longer walk in the Connectional and compassionate path of United Methodism.

Many INUMC churches remain committed and are made up of traditional, centrist, progressive, and “just regular United Methodist” Christians. We are committed to fighting on behalf of the marginalized, the lost, and the unlucky.

Others are more committed to embrace narratives that would suggest that our Church is broken. Some claim churches need to take a vote to depart.

We are saddened that some have intruded into our local church discernment process. They have worked to exclude certain voices and perspectives and spread untruths for their own gain. To be clear, it is my expectation that if there is going to be a discussion in a congregation about the United Methodist denomination, then someone representing the United Methodist denomination needs to be present.

We believe our work as United Methodists is too important to be hindered by those that are motivated to depart. We remain deeply committed to welcome the stranger, to share the Good News, to teach of redemption and forgiveness, to bring the lost to Christ.

I am enthusiastic about our future! We continue to trust God and uphold the doctrine of The United Methodist Church as found in the Articles of Religion, The General Rules, and our Theological Task (all contained in The United Methodist Book of Discipline). We celebrate our diversity and the opportunity to be in relationship with people who love God and neighbor in every corner of Indiana.

As we grieve the loss of some churches and welcome others on our journey together, we commit to the following work as United Methodists in the churches in Indiana:

Raising up new faith communities and welcoming all who wish to remain United Methodist from disaffiliating churches to find a new home or participate in a new ministry setting
Encouraging those who dream and envision new ways to reach more people for Jesus
Strengthening the connection between churches in our districts for missional opportunities across Indiana
Continuing to invest in revitalization and collaboration of small membership churches and underserved communities
Continuing to grow our camping ministries and connections with our institutional partners, including our children’s homes, university and campus ministries, and hospital/health system partnerships
Investing in emerging leaders and innovation utilizing multiple platforms for building community and communicating the joy of being United Methodist
Celebrating the diversity of our pastoral leadership and modeling servant leadership for the Church and the world
Loving all God’s children, feeding the hungry, denouncing injustice, and singing loudly without apology that “And are we yet alive”
Treating others as we would want to be treated and trusting that grace will be extended for persons and churches that choose to leave—and the majority of our churches that will remain United Methodist.

If you are from a church that disaffiliated from The United Methodist Church and are wondering what you can do, there is an answer.

There is still a place for you in The United Methodist Church. There is absolutely a place for you in our Indiana Conference. You are not alone. In fact, you are still part of a family of hundreds of congregations and thousands of people in Indiana. If you want more information on how to remain connected with another United Methodist Church—or one of the newly-forming settings of the UMC in Indiana—please click here.

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 3:14 (NIV)

Be encouraged,

Bishop Julius C. Trimble
Resident Bishop
Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church