In a recent important column, Rev. Chris Ritter of the Wesleyan Covenant Association wrote that the UMC and soon to form GMC are engaged in "a zero-sum game" in North Georgia and by implication much of the U.S. He's wrong. Not because the stakes aren't high, but because they are even higher than his statement acknowledges.
I'm typing with a broken hand so I'm not going to go through all the backstory. Instead I commend both Chris's compilation and Rev. Jeremy Smith's commentary if you need more information on what the denomination faces. I'll list only the most crucial recent developments:
- The 2020 General Conference that was to vote on a plan of separation was delayed until 2021. A handful of churches chose not to wait and have exited the denomination.
- The postponed 2021 General Conference was postponed again to Fall 2022. More churches, mostly traditionalist but now also some progressive have or are in the process of exiting.
- Even a 2022 General Conference is in doubt because in our world of scarcity and inequity much of Africa will not be vaccinated in time to receive visas to travel to the U.S.
- Rumor from multiple sources is that if the 2022 General Conference is postponed again the bishops will not call us together until 2024.
- There is increasing concern that the separation agreement may not have the votes to pass when it does finally get to the floor. For the record, I remain a supporter of the agreement, even with its flaws.