A liberal regional body of the United Methodist Church rejected a proposal to cut funds intended to help churches overseas, despite their support for a plan that maintains the denomination’s stance against homosexuality.
The leadership of the California-Nevada Annual Conference released a statement last week rejecting the withholding of apportionments and also a proposed disaffiliation with the Western Jurisdiction of the UMC.
In addressing nonpayment, the Conference leadership stated that withholding funds from the Central Conferences, or United Methodist bodies outside of the U.S., would be racist.
“In fact, this withholding is primarily expressed in Caucasian congregations whose perception is that their entitlement to control others with money is an expression of white privilege,” the Conference said.
“The logical end of this flawed thinking is to punish congregations that do not conform to presumptive standards. This is the embodiment of Jim Crow laws.”
They also said that such a move would be “a misdirection of our pain that evades any notion of a redemptive outcome.”
“Many ministries, and the work of boards, and agencies of the church are deeply impacted by non-payment. Understanding all of these ramifications is beyond a comprehensive analysis and will certainly result in some unintended consequences,” they stated.
“Defying our apportionment covenant and relying solely on the excuse of ignorance or oversight of this impact, lacks integrity and courage in this form of resistance.”
Regarding the issue of disaffiliation, the Conference leadership stressed that it would harm the western church and also argued that if any should leave, it should be conservative groups within the UMC.
“Some members of the Wesley Covenant Association, Institute for Religion and Democracy, and others have been planning this deconstruction of the connection for almost 40 years. The schismatic endgame of this strategy is apparent,” stated the Conference.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Gryboski