9315 County Rd 7708, Troy, Alabama 36081, United States

Murphys Chapel United Methodist Church

Murphys Chapel United Methodist Church

Murphys Chapel United Methodist ChurchMurphys Chapel United Methodist ChurchMurphys Chapel United Methodist Church

Split Protocol

Split Protocol

PROTOCOL OF RECONCILIATION & GRACE THROUGH

SEPARATION

Statement of Principles

A. Whereas, The United Methodist Church and its members—after careful reflection,

discussion and prayer—have fundamental differences regarding their understanding and

interpretation of Scripture, theology and practice;

B. Whereas, The United Methodist Church at its February 2019 Special Session of the General

Conference in St. Louis did not resolve their differences specifically related to the full

participation of LGBTQ persons in the life of the Church;

C. Whereas, The United Methodist Church and its members are at an impasse, the Church’s

witness and mission is being impeded, and the Church itself as well as its members have

been injured;

D. Whereas, The United Methodist Church and its members have a deep desire to fulfill our

long-stated mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

E. Whereas, The United Methodist Church is committed to recognizing, respecting and

protecting the rights and personal dignity of every person, including people of all races,

sexual orientations, genders, national origins, ages, and social classes;

F. Whereas, the undersigned came together as an outgrowth of a consultation initiated by

Bishop John Yambasu and other Central Conference Bishops, and were asked to represent

various constituencies of the Church in reaching a gracious and dignified resolution of the

impasse;

G. Whereas, the undersigned propose restructuring The United Methodist Church by

separation as the best means to resolve our differences, allowing each part of the Church

to remain true to its theological understanding, while recognizing the dignity, equality,

integrity, and respect of every person; and

H. Whereas, the undersigned, in recognition of the regional contexts and divergent points of

view within the global United Methodist Church, propose separation as a faithful step with

the possibility of continued cooperation around matters of shared interest, enabling each of

us to authentically live out our faith;

NOW, THEREFORE, the undersigned, seeking to serve The United Methodist Church, hereby

agree as follows, to this Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation (“the

Protocol”):


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ARTICLE I: Agreement and Commitment to this Protocol

1. This Protocol is unanimously agreed to by each of the undersigned laity, pastors, and bishops

of The United Methodist Church. The undersigned further covenant to fully support this

Protocol and each other in our joint effort to seek its implementation. Each of the

undersigned also agree to recommend the Protocol’s implementing legislation to be voted

upon and adopted by the 2020 General Conference of The United Methodist Church.

2. The United Methodist Church and its members aspire to multiply the Methodist mission in

the world by restructuring the Church through respectful and dignified separation.

3. The undersigned will continue to work together to develop legislation to implement the

Protocol, to be voted upon and adopted by the 2020 General Conference of The United

Methodist Church. The undersigned will not challenge the constitutionality or legality of

legislation implementing this Protocol and will jointly and individually defend the provisions

of the Protocol and any enabling legislation in case of review by the United Methodist

Judicial Council.

4. The undersigned agree to use their best efforts to persuade any groups or organizations with

which they are affiliated to support the legislation necessary to implement the Protocol.

Consistent with the commitment in Article I, Paragraph 1, the undersigned will not

participate in or support legislation or other efforts that are inconsistent with the principles

and terms of the Protocol and the implementing legislation. They may support other efforts

to the extent that all signatories to this Protocol agree that such efforts are consistent with the

Protocol.

5. The undersigned agree that each of the provisions of this Protocol is integrated with and

integral to the whole and shall not be severable from the remainder of the Protocol. Further,

should any provisions of the Protocol be deemed illegal by either the United Methodist

Judicial Council or by civil courts, the entirety of this Protocol shall be considered null and

void.

6. The undersigned agree that they will bring no claims for, nor will they support any claims

for, additional assets of the post-separation United Methodist Church or any of the

denominations that will arise from this Protocol and will not be parties to such litigation.

ARTICLE II: Definitions of Terms

1. LGBTQ shall mean the community that includes several subsets of persons who share

similar discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.

The letters of the acronym stand for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (a

non-binary, self-identifier).

2. Methodist denomination pursuant to this Protocol shall mean all Methodist

denominations created through this Protocol and The United Methodist Church.

3. Post-separation United Methodist Church shall mean The United Methodist Church

after the formation of new denominations under this Protocol.

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4. Protocol shall mean this agreement by which the parties hereto agree to support the

development and implementation of the legislation necessary to implement the terms of

the Protocol.

ARTICLE III: Process and Timeline for Implementation of the Protocol

1. To implement this Protocol, The United Methodist Church and its members will adopt the

following process and timeline for accomplishing restructuring:

a. Registration with the Secretary of the Council of Bishops of intent to form a new

Methodist denomination pursuant to this Protocol must occur not later than May

15, 2021.

b. Central Conferences may choose with a two-thirds vote to affiliate with a

Methodist denomination pursuant to this Protocol other than the post-separation

United Methodist Church. If a Central Conference does not vote, it remains a part

of the post-separation United Methodist Church. Such an affiliation vote shall be

taken no later than December 31, 2021.

c. Annual Conferences, whether in the Central or Jurisdictional Conferences, may

choose to vote on whether to affiliate with one of the Methodist denominations

pursuant to this Protocol. If an Annual Conference does not vote, it shall remain a

part of the post-separation United Methodist Church. In order for an Annual

Conference to consider affiliation with a denomination pursuant to this protocol

other than the post-separation United Methodist Church, a motion may be made

on the floor of an Annual Conference session to conduct such an affiliation vote.

If supported by 20% of those voting at the Annual Conference session, an

affiliation vote must be conducted before July 1, 2021. In order to affiliate with a

Methodist denomination created under this Protocol other than the post-separation

UMC, the vote to affiliate must be supported by 57% of those voting.

d. Any local church desiring a different affiliation than the Methodist denomination

pursuant to this Protocol selected by its Annual Conference may conduct an

affiliation vote. If a local church does not vote, it remains part of the Methodist

denomination pursuant to this Protocol selected by its Annual Conference. If such

a vote occurs, the church council shall determine a voting threshold of either a

simple majority or two-thirds of those present and voting at a duly called church

conference in order for the motion opting for a different affiliation to be adopted.

A vote on a motion to opt for a different affiliation shall occur in a church

conference held not more than 60 days after the request for such a vote is made by

the church council. Such church conferences must be held in consultation with the

District Superintendent who shall authorize such church conferences to be

conducted. Decisions about affiliation by a local church pursuant to this Protocol

must be made by December 31, 2024.

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ARTICLE IV: Financial Agreement Terms of this Protocol

1. To foster this restructuring process, the following steps will be taken with respect to the

finances of The United Methodist Church:

a. Local Church Property, Assets, and Liabilities

i A local church that affiliates with a Methodist denomination pursuant to

this Protocol other than the post-separation United Methodist Church

retains its assets and liabilities. The Annual Conference of The United

Methodist Church to which the local church belongs at the time of

separation will not exercise its trust clause and shall release such local

church from the provisions of any and all trust clauses. The local church,

prior to its separation, shall be expected to maintain its connectional

responsibilities through the date of separation. At separation, such a local

church shall not be required to pay any sums to the Annual Conference

other than previously documented loans from the Annual Conference

which shall be repaid according to the terms of such loans.

ii In the event such local church (or its successor) subsequently chooses to

close, or a Methodist denomination pursuant to this Protocol with which

they affiliate ceases to exist, the property of such local church will be

subject to a lien in favor of Wespath on its assets in the amount of that

local church’s then proportionate share of future unfunded pension

liabilities.

iii Should a local church disaffiliate from The United Methodist Church and

not become part of a Methodist denomination pursuant to this Protocol, it

must comply with paragraph 2553 of The United Methodist Book of

Discipline.

b. Annual, Jurisdictional, and Central Conference Property, Assets, and

Liabilities

i The property, assets, and liabilities of Annual, Jurisdictional, and Central

Conferences shall be retained by those entities regardless of the affiliation

decision with a Methodist denomination pursuant to this Protocol that each

makes under this Protocol.

c. Financial Agreements

i. A total sum of $25M shall be paid by the General Council on Finance and

Administration over the ensuing quadrennium to the traditionalist

Methodist denomination established pursuant to this Protocol after it is

formed and incorporated.

ii. A total sum of $2M shall be escrowed by the General Council on Finance

and Administration for payment to potential additional Methodist

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denominations established pursuant to this Protocol after they are formed

and incorporated over the ensuing quadrennium.

iii. As an acknowledgment of the historical role of the Methodist movement

in systems of systematic racial violence, exploitation and discrimination,

and as a fair and just step in addressing the impact of such harms, a sum of

$39M shall be allocated by the General Council on Finance and

Administration in their budget recommendations over the next two

quadrennia to support communities historically marginalized by the sin of

racism. The goal of these earmarked funds shall be to strengthen ministries

by and for Asian, Black, Hispanic-Latino, Native American, and Pacific

Islander Communities, encourage the full participation of historically

marginalized communities in the governance and decision-making of the

church, and ensure that the vital work of training the next generation of

leaders by Africa University will be maintained. The Connectional Table

in consultation with the National Plans, the Program Agencies of the

Church, and the Council of Bishops shall be responsible for determining

and evaluating programmatic priorities in relation to these earmarked

funds. $13M of this sum represents a contribution from the post-separation

Traditional Methodist Denomination, made possible by their decision to

forgo receiving these funds and instead contribute them to this fund. This

$13M sum shall remain in the possession of and be administered by the

post-separation United Methodist Church for this purpose. In addition, the

post-separation United Methodist Church will contribute $26M for a total

of $39M over 8 years for this purpose. Churches which align with the

traditional Methodist denomination under this Protocol shall have the

option to participate in programs and grants which serve their respective

ethnic groups if they otherwise meet the requirements for such

participation through this 8-year period.

iv. The pension plans of The United Methodist Church will remain in place

for all current clergy and lay employees affiliated with The United

Methodist Church, regardless of the Methodist denomination under this

Protocol with which they affiliate. The undersigned support the existing

and proposed legislation submitted by Wespath that addresses assumption

of unfunded pension liabilities by Methodist denominations under this

Protocol, and the ability of the clergy who are associated with Methodist

denominations under this Protocol to continue to participate in pension

plans administered by Wespath. All other property, assets, or liabilities of

The United Methodist Church, including its general boards and agencies,

shall remain with the post-separation United Methodist Church and other

Methodist denominations under this Protocol shall have no claim or

entitlement to such property, assets, or liabilities.

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v. The Council of Bishops of the post-separation United Methodist Church

shall offer to enter into ecumenical agreements with Methodist

denominations formed under this Protocol. Such ecumenical agreements

may include participation in Boards and Agencies, continuation of various

mission activities, or any other matters within the scope of ecumenical

agreements.

ARTICLE V: Moratorium

1. As one expression of reconciliation and grace through separation, the undersigned agree that

all administrative or judicial processes addressing restrictions in the Book of Discipline

related to self-avowed practicing homosexuals or same-sex weddings shall be held in

abeyance beginning January 1, 2020 through the adjournment of the first conference of the

post-separation United Methodist Church. Clergy shall continue to remain in good standing

while such complaints are held in abeyance.

2. The undersigned agree that if there are churches proposed for closure, the church and annual

conference shall delay final actions on closure of churches until after the 2020 General

Conference of The United Methodist Church, except in those situations where there are

exigent circumstances and/or a congregation has voluntarily discerned it is necessary to close

a church due to a lack of participation or financial insolvency.

ARTICLE VI: General Conference 2020

In order to enable all parties to transition to their preferred future, the Council of Bishops is

asked to work with the Commission on General Conferences and other church agencies to

accomplish the following:

1. The Council of Bishops requests a declaratory decision from the Judicial Council

regarding the constitutionality of the proposed legislation related to this Protocol to take

place prior to the opening session of the 2020 General Conference.

2. The Council of Bishops requests a report from the General Council on Finance and

Administration related to the financial impacts of this Protocol to be shared prior to the

2020 General Conference.

3. The Council of Bishops, working with the Commission on the General Conference,

identifies an appropriate time on the Agenda of General Conference for the Protocol and

any related implementing legislation to be presented.

4. The Council of Bishops will provide meeting space for those interested in creating other

expressions of a Methodist denomination pursuant to this protocol at the adjournment of

the 2020 General Conference session.

5. The Council of Bishops will call the first session of the General Conference of the postseparation

United Methodist Church to organize itself and, if such legislation has not

been passed, consider matters pertaining to the Regional Conference plan.

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6. The Council of Bishops will call the first session of the United States Regional

Conference to consider legislation related to changes in the adaptable portions of the

Book of Discipline including the repeal of Traditional Plan legislation and all other

portions related to LGBTQ persons.

ARTICLE VII: The Signatories to the Protocol

The undersigned persons, after voluntarily participating in multiple confidential mediation

sessions with mediator Kenneth R. Feinberg, agree to the terms of this Protocol and will

collectively and individually work to support adoption of the Protocol, including the

development of all legislation necessary to implement it.

December 17, 2019

Signature:

Bishop Christian Alsted, Nordic-Baltic Episcopal Area

Signature:

Rev. Thomas Berlin, representing UMCNext, Mainstream UMC, Uniting Methodists

Signature:

Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton, New York Episcopal Area

Signature:

Rev. Keith Boyette, representing The Confessing Movement, Good News, IRD/UM

Action, and the Wesleyan Covenant Association

Signature:

Bishop Kenneth H. Carter, Florida Episcopal Area

Signature:

Rev. Junius Dotson, representing UMCNext, Mainstream UMC, Uniting Methodists

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Signature:

Bishop LaTrelle Easterling, Washington Episcopal Area

Signature:

Rev. Egmedio “Jun” Equila, Jr., Philippines Central Conference

Signature:

Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, Louisiana Episcopal Area

Signature:

Bishop Rodolfo Rudy Juan, Davao Episcopal Area, Philippines

Signature:

Janet Lawrence, representing Affirmation, Methodist Federation for Social Action, and

Reconciling Ministries Network

Signature:

Rev. David Meredith, representing Affirmation, Methodist Federation for Social

Action, and Reconciling Ministries Network, member of UM Queer Clergy Caucus

Signature:

Patricia Miller, representing The Confessing Movement, Good News, IRD/UM Action,

and the Wesleyan Covenant Association

Signature:

Dr. Randall Miller, representing Affirmation, Methodist Federation for Social Action,

and Reconciling Ministries Network

Signature:

Bishop Gregory Vaughn Palmer, Ohio West Episcopal Area

Signature:

Bishop John K. Yambasu, Sierra Leone Episcopal Area

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In addition to the above signatories, the following individuals participated in the initial meeting

convened by Bishop John Yambasu and other Central Conference Bishops in July 2019 and

consulted with the mediation team during the process:

Rev. Dr. Maxie Dunnam

Rev. Ginger Gaines-Cirelli

Rev. Adam Hamilton

Rev. Dr. Mark Holland

Bishop Mande Muyambo, North Katanga Episcopal Area

Karen Prudente

Rev. Rob Renfroe

Rev. Kimberly Scott

Rev. Jasmine R. Smothers

Mark Tooley