MCC Blog September 27, 2019
Nine New England Congregations Begin Process of Discernment
Regarding Disaffiliation from The United Methodist Church
Nine United Methodist congregations from the New England Conference have notified Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar of their intention to begin an eight-month process of discernment regarding disaffiliation from The United Methodist Church, indicating that their understanding of human sexuality and God’s inclusive love is in direct and potentially irreconcilable conflict with the policies and practices of The United Methodist Church. Leaders from these nine congregations — a team comprised of clergy and laity alike — have been meeting almost weekly since April 2019, initially to process their collective dismay over the actions of the Special 2019 Session of General Conference, and then to collaborate in developing an outline and curriculum for a discernment process. At the conclusion of this period of discernment, each of these nine congregations may or may not take formal action to separate from The United Methodist Church.
The group seeks to embody the values and commitments articulated in a proclamation entitled “Loved and Liberated,” released in May 2019 by a group called UM-Forward. That proclamation includes this statement: “We envision a vibrant church living the Gospel and uncompromising on Jesus’ love ethic of full inclusion and affirmation. We proclaim the full liberation of Persons of Color + Queer + Trans (PoC+Q+T) People in The United Methodist Church.”
The nine congregations beginning this discernment process chose to notify Bishop Devadhar on September 26 because of its historical significance for New England Methodists, as the 232nd anniversary of the date when Rev. Jesse Lee, an early Methodist circuit rider evangelist, formed the first Methodist Class in New England on September 26, 1787.
The nine congregations presently embarking on this journey of discernment include:
Ballard Vale United Church, Andover, Massachusetts — Rev. Geisa Matos
Brackett Memorial UMC, Peaks Island, Maine — Rev. Will Green
Calvary UMC, Arlington, Massachusetts — Rev. Dr. Cynthia Good
Chebeague Island UMC, Chebeague Island, Maine — Pastor Melissa Yosua-Davis
Epiphany UMC, South Portland, Maine — Rev. Dr. Andrea Harvey
HopeGateWay, Portland, Maine — Rev. Sara Ewing-Merrill
Tuttle Road UMC, Cumberland, Maine — Pastor Linda Brewster
Versailles UMC, Versailles, Connecticut — Pastor Wanda Greaves
West Scarborough UMC, West Scarborough, Maine — Rev. Dodie Sheffield.
Other congregations may choose to join this collaborative process or begin their own at a later date.
No decisions will be made before the 2020 Session of General Conference, slated for May 5-15, 2020 in Minneapolis.
ONE DAY. ONE VOICE. ONE PURPOSE.
Call to Action: Sunday, November 10, 2019
Stand Sunday is a nationwide effort to stand up for all of the children in foster care. Join fellow churches across the state of Maine in standing up for children in need of a safe and loving home. In Maine and across the US the number of children entering foster care far exceeds the number of available foster homes. Many of these children do not have the care and love they so desperately need. Together, with your congregation’s support and a united purpose we believe we can help all of our children know the safety of a home.
What does a Stand Sunday activity or event look like?
We are asking that churches agree to display two portraits of children who are waiting for adoption, along with an informational table. A Stand Sunday observance can take on many other expressions. Here are a few ideas for those wanting to do more:
Display our digital presentation about foster care and adoption Plan a foster care related sermon Prayer gatherings for a child waiting for adoption Invite a former foster youth to speak Invite a foster/adoptive parent to speak Kickoff or relaunch a foster care ministry
Contact us to register:
Let us know which ideas you would like to see at your church and we will help with the rest!
Phone: (207) 922-2583