An ongoing conversation regarding human sexuality.
Re: A brief overview of the United Methodist Church's present process.
In 1968, the United Brethren and Methodist denominations merged to form the United Methodist Church (UMC). Since our founding, the UMC has debated positions surrounding a Biblical understanding of homosexual marriage and the ordination of practicing homosexuals.
In recent years this issue has become central in Annual Conference* and General Conference** proceedings. The disagreements have become so pronounced they've stalled other important initiatives.
In February, 2019, a specially called General Conference was convened in St. Louis to determine "the way forward" for our denomination. This Conference upheld the UMC's present position on homosexual marriage and the ordination of practicing homosexuals, namely, the UMC holds that "homosexual practice is incompatible with Christian teaching."
However, unrest over this issue has only increased in the 12 months since this specially called General Conference. Therefore, the upcoming, regularly scheduled, 2020 General Conference (May 5-15, 2020, in Minneapolis) is preparing to hear further resolutions on this subject.
A number of proposals have been offered for navigating disagreements, finding common ground or separating our denomination. These include a recent addition entitled, “Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation,” which has become highly publicized by media outlets. All of these resolutions will be debated and amended at General Conference, and perhaps one will adopted.
This New Horizon web page was created to provide links for learning about each proposal, and for staying up to date in this process. We've worked to select resources that offer balanced presentations of materials, and we will update this site along the way. In addition, we encourage your to follow these and other links to read analyses and responses from others.
In the meantime, what about New Horizon? NH’s pastor staff and Administrative Board are working to determine means of walking with our congregation through the process. We are very aware of the sensitive and personal nature of this subject, and at this point any predictions about the future would be purely speculative.
Critical for us is the tenor of this conversation. We may well be approaching a historic point that will impact the future of the UMC, New Horizon and our personal lives. We are convinced these proceedings matter greatly to God because God cares about the countless souls affected inside and outside the UMC. We stand in great confidence that God’s capable hands hold each of us and His Spirit will guide His church. Please join us in praying for God’s mercy and grace throughout.
PRESENT PLANS FOR THE FUTURE OF THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
The "New Expressions Worldwide" (N.E.W.) Plan. CLICK HERE.
The "Indianapolis Plan." CLICK HERE.
The “Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation" Plan. CLICK HERE.
- "Protocol" FAQs. CLICK HERE.
- "Protocol" developers overview. CLICK HERE.
- VIDEO. "Protocol" developers interview. CLICK HERE.
A Side-by-Side Presentation of the Three Plans Above. CLICK HERE.
NEWS & ANALYSIS
From the UMC Publishing House. CLICK HERE.
AUDIO: "The State of the UMC," by Rev. Jeff Greenway. CLICK HERE.
VIDEO: "Protocol" discussion with Bishop Gregory Palmer. CLICK HERE.
An Analysis: "Protocol," by Paul Lawyer. CLICK HERE.
An Analysis: "Are Traditionalists 'Leaving' the United Methodist Church?" by Tom Lambrecht. CLICK HERE.
An Analysis: "A Failed Experiment in Christian Unity," by Dale Coulter. CLICK HERE.
Multiple sources updated daily. CLICK HERE.
2019 SPECIAL CALLED GENERAL CONFERENCE PLANS (No longer active legislation)
A comparison of four popular proposals. CLICK HERE.
***The "Traditional Conference" Plan. CLICK HERE.
The "One Church" Plan. CLICK HERE.
The "Connectional Conference" Plan. CLICK HERE.
The "Simple Plan." CLICK HERE.
*An "Annual Conference" is regional body that governs the UMCs in its respective geographical location. Pastors and lay-representatives from each church are delegates in their Annual Conference and convene each year. New Horizon is part of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference which includes UMCs from Interstate 80 to the southern tip of the state.
**A "General Conference" is the UMC's top legislative body and is made up of elected delegates from every UM Annual Conference around the world. The General Conference meets every four years to consider denomination-wide resolutions.
***Passed by majority vote at 2019 Special Called General Conference.