In the event a local United Methodist church is considering disaffiliation, there are a number of things that need to be taken into consideration. The following Q&A document is designed to answer preliminary questions regarding disaffiliation.
Where to begin:
EVERY congregation considering their next steps for the ministry of the church is expected to engage in a discernment process that is open to and engages the entire congregation. No one process is prescribed, however, and each congregation may choose their own process that is thorough and complete. Possible resource suggestions are available on the Conference website.
Each congregation considering a conversation about disaffiliation is expected complete the discernment step before moving on.
- If, after consensus is reached through the congregational discernment process that the congregation is seeking to consider disaffiliation, the church council/governing board chair (not the pastor) will report on the congregation’s discernment process and may request disaffiliation costs and a draft contract through the Conference Superintendent. (The CS will forward that document typically within 10 days.)
- After re-engaging the discernment process a determination is made that the congregation is seeking to vote to disaffiliate, the church council (administrative board, single board) will vote to recommend moving forward in the disaffiliation process.
- Pending an affirmative vote of the council/board, the chair will contact the Conference Superintendent to:
- request for a congregational vote (Church Conference) to be held
- the CS will then set a date
- Notice of the Church Conference is to be communicated to the congregation by church leadership in keeping with the Book of Discipline (¶248) In particular, provisions outlined in ¶246.8 must be observed:
- Notice must be given by the local church to all professing members at least 10 days prior to the church conference by at least two of the following means:
- Announcement from pulpit
- In the weekly bulletin
- In a local church publication (i.e. newsletter or regular email); OR
- By mail to all professing members
- Follow Conference Superintendent’s instruction for the Church Conference where:
- All professing members present will be eligible to vote
- 2/3 majority of those casting ballots will be required for the motion to pass
- Pending an affirmative vote, refer to “Disaffiliation Process” document