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Bishop Dyck statement on proposed separation

Posted: January 9 2020 at 12:00 PM
Author: Bishop Sally Dyck


Dyck Sally

Bishop Sally Dyck

After the February 2019 Special Session of General Conference, I and many others in The United Methodist Church came to the painful conclusion that we just can’t go on like this. Through the legislative process of our church, we came away with winners and losers regarding deeply held faith commitments as they relate to ministry with and by LGBTQ persons. Not only have LGBTQ persons been harmed and we have disparaged one another as sisters and brothers in Christ, but the witness of The United Methodist Church has been negatively impacted.  

The Council of Bishops Office announced on January 3 that a group of UM traditionalists, centrists, progressives, and bishops had signed a proposed agreement on the separation of the United Methodist Church (UMC). The agreement, the Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace through Separation, was supported by representatives associated with diverse groups within the UMC through a mediation process. They labored with a renowned, but pro bono mediator to bring us to a point of being able to bless each other going forward. 

Those who cannot live in a church that welcomes all are free to pursue another route. The rest of us will find the road rocky but we will be able to continue to live out the Methodist tradition that practices both personal and social holiness in our present age in our local context. Under the Protocol, all administrative or judicial processes addressing restrictions in the Book of Discipline related to self-avowed practicing homosexuals or same-sex weddings would be held in abeyance until the separation is completed. But I just hope that we will not be lulled into thinking that this agreement solves everything when we still, as Bishop Frank Beard in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference likes to say, “have a hole in our boat.” In other words, we need to address the vitality of our church as we aim toward a 21st century church.

In spite of headlines, the UMC has NOT split or separated or even decided to do so today. The protocol is the initial work and legislation to implement it will undoubtedly be amended at General Conference 2020, but I truly pray that we will not squander this opportunity. I feel more encouraged than I have since February, but I also know we have just put our big toe in the Red Sea, so to speak. As for the NIC, the protocol would not require any church or annual conference to take any votes unless they want to leave the UMC. This is the beginning of a long process that will be greatly discussed, including at our gatherings in February (see below). We have a long way to go on our journey through General Conference 2020 toward a new way of being and relating to one another in Christ.

~Bishop Sally Dyck

Mark your calendars for "conversations" around the NIC about what is expected to take place at the General Conference, May 5-15, 2020, in Minneapolis, Minn. The following scheduled conversations are co-hosted by the NIC Exploration Team and NIC General/Jurisdictional Delegation along with the DCM/Cabinet:

  • Sunday, Feb. 2 @ 3-5pm: River Forest UMC
  • Thursday, Feb. 13 @ 3-5pm: Woodridge UMC
  • Thursday Feb. 13 @ 7-9pm: Schaumburg: Our Saviour’s
  • Sunday, Feb. 16 @ 3-5pm: Rockford: Christ 
     

To register click here.

Related links:

Read the press release on the proposed separation agreement
Protocol document
Click here for a FAQ document

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