Bread for the Journey
An Update on Central’s Discernment Work
–Pastor Miriam Smith
My apologies for the later-than-usual arrival of your newsletter this month. We thought it wise to have the results from the church council meeting on November 2 before publishing. The results from the church-wide straw poll were reported: out of the 264 votes cast (in person and early), 146 were in favor of disaffiliation and 118 were in favor of remaining in the United Methodist Church. Immediately after the voting concluded, the discernment leadership team met and shared in the counting of the votes and began working on their recommendation to church council. They recommended that the church proceed to the announced church conference on November 10 at 6:30pm in the sanctuary. This meeting will be carried out under the authority of Central’s District Superintendent. In order for the church to disaffiliate from the UMC (under paragraph 2553 of the 2019 Book of Discipline), 2/3 of the members present have to vote in favor of disaffiliation. The council voted in favor of the recommendation, so there will be a church conference on November 10, 2022 at 6:30pm.
It is very important for members to arrive early for the church conference. Sign in will begin at 6:00pm and will end at 6:30. Members must be in line to sign in by 6:30 to receive a ballot.
Should there be a 2/3 majority of votes to disaffiliate, after completing paperwork and meeting all other obligations by December 1, Central will be eligible to disaffiliate from the denomination on December 10.
Knowing that our church membership is so divided on this course of action, I have been thinking on what words for the journey I can offer at this time. I keep returning to the truth that the kingdom of God is not in danger. No matter what divisions and conflicts we are in the process of working out, God’s work in the world will not be stopped. Even right now, we still have the opportunity—daily—to grow in our love of God and one another. I don’t write this to silence conversation or dismiss feelings (one way or another) about the current situation or the future, but rather to remind us of our continuing bonds of membership in the Body of Christ. My prayer is that the people of Central will turn to one another and offer care and support, regardless of the outcome of the church conference. That is how the world will know we are truly disciples of Jesus Christ, by our love for one another. So, for however long we are together, may we work to outdo each other in love and service, for the glory of God and the Kingdom.