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One Church Plan or Simple Plan?

Discussion in 'Wesley's Parish - Methodist/ Nazarene' started by Methodized, Feb 2, 2019.

  1. Methodized

    Methodized God is love and in God there is no darkness. Supporter

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    Does anyone in the know have a good idea about what would be different between these too plans, as in what would be the effect on the local church?

    As I understand it the OCP would require a Church Conference vote to allow same sex marriages on the church property though it would allow the pastor to choose to do the wedding somewhere else if they disagree with the local church's decision.

    The SP just removes all the language related to homosexuality (as best as I understand.) So, what happens if a pastor wants to do a same sex wedding but their church hasn't taken a position on the issue? Am I missing something between the two plans?
     
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  2. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    As I read it, the One Church Plan allows annual conferences to set a policy against ordaining gays, although apparently not against gay marriage in churches within the conference. (Actually creating such a policy, however, is not made easy.) The Simple Plan does not make explicit provision for different policies at the annual conference level.

    The Simple Plan, however, would have no way to make everyone accept gays. Individual pastors and congregations could still choose not to. I don't think it's out of the question that an annual conference could decide not to ordain them, not by a formal policy, but de facto by not regarding individual gay candidates as having an acceptable character.

    There may be other major differences, but I haven't been able to find clear statements on them.

    The biggest difference is probably symbolic. The One Church Plan is intended to provide coexistence, while the Simple Plan is understood as more radical.
     
  3. Methodized

    Methodized God is love and in God there is no darkness. Supporter

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    The impression I get from who sponsors the Simple Plan is that a fair number of progressives and LGBTQ+ people see it as more just than the One Church Plan. But, as you've said above, as there are no mechanisms to actually make anyone accept anyone else, I could see not even doing as well as the OCP.

    While it would be contentious, at least if a congregation voted to allow same sex marriage you'd know what the policy is. But with just removal of language the local church leadership could do anything or nothing and not even allow people input. So, while simpler, I don't know that I see it as a better fix. (For those who want a more open UMC.)
     
  4. Methodized

    Methodized God is love and in God there is no darkness. Supporter

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    By the way, I'm not a General Conference delegate, so I won't get a vote on the plan. But I do pastor a UM church and will have to deal with whatever plan is approved.
     
  5. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    There are suggestions in the One Church Plan to facilitate moving pastors between conferences if they don't agree with the policy adopted by their annual conference. I don't see anything similar for congregations though. It's hard to be sure how things would work out, but I can envision situations where someone caught in the wrong conference could find life more difficult in the Simple Plan than the One Church Plan.

    Personally I think this is moot. I don't see the GC adopting either. I'm expecting either no change or a version of the Traditional Plan softened to the point that there's little effective change.
     
  6. Methodized

    Methodized God is love and in God there is no darkness. Supporter

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    That is possible. But I'm also hearing some rumblings that a version of the OCP may just pass because there is a fear that the appearance of doing nothing (or actually doing nothing) will cause anger from all sides The level of frustration with the status quo is quite high.

    We can't keep having people disobey the Discipline and it be meaningful but we also can't keep putting people on trial when near half of the denomination believes they are in the right. Some resolution that gets us out of the legal wrangling really needs to happen.
     
  7. bekkilyn

    bekkilyn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    They really need to pass *something* so that we can all move on without continuing to hyperfocus on this topic and hopefully get back to the business of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Being in a perpetual holding state on one single issue isn't healthy and detracts from the real purpose of the church universal.
     
  8. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    Sure, but anything they do will cause a split.
     
  9. bekkilyn

    bekkilyn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Wouldn't mean it would need be any more than a small few of the most extreme congregations (on either end) splitting off and becoming independent while leaving the vast majority of people somewhere in the middle going on with business as usual.
     
  10. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    Yup. That's what happened in other mainline denominations. But they all went with something close to the Simple Plan. I still think some variant of the Traditional plan is likely. It's designed specifically to force a split. Personally I think it will force jurisdictions that aren't strongly liberal to leave, simply because they wouldn't be willing to commit to strictly discipline all liberals in their jurisdiction. Remember, while past GC's have consistently been unwilling to remove the prohibition on gays, the vote for the US has been favorable. By forcing a decision to be made jurisdiction by jurisdiction, the future becomes de facto a US decision. There's a reasonable probability that most jurisdictions in the US would leave. Particularly if the bishops talked beforehand after doing straw polls, and figured that enough jurisdictions would leave to allow a reasonably strong mainline denomination, leaving a conservative Southern church. That becomes even more likely if the plan adopted has weak enough enforcement that the more vociferous conservatives leave anyway.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2019
  11. Methodized

    Methodized God is love and in God there is no darkness. Supporter

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    I’d have to agree that we need to move not. And, I also agree hyper focusing on any one theological difference is bad. It’s why I’ve argued for passing one of the “live and let live” plans. The trials are stupidly expensive and horrible for our reputation as a Church. One side trying to force the other side to agreement obviously isn’t going to work, and hasn’t worked along.

    The shame of it all is that we could have avoided this if in 1972 the Judicial Council had determined that views on homosexuality are doctrinal issues (rather than ministry behavior issues) which would have required a super majority to add all these rules and penalties to the Discipline as part of the section of the Discipline with the restrictive clause. If the JC had made that move probably NO particular doctrine on homosexuality (pro, con or otherwise) would have passed since don’t have real consensus and we’d be in a lot less of a mess now.
     
  12. Methodized

    Methodized God is love and in God there is no darkness. Supporter

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    Including nothing. But I’d argue that taking a middle of the road approach will lose us less churches than going for either the punitive traditionalist plan or the connectional conference plan, that has no chance of getting through the amendment process.
     
  13. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    One thing I've been wondering recently is whether the current structure of the UMC makes problems inevitable. There's a growing international representation from groups that have their own rules and some of their own organizations. I'm a bit unclear whether they have their own disciplines, or their own rules that can customize the Discipline, but in either case they have the ability to adjust the Discipline where they don't think it fits their needs. That means that we have people voting in the GC on rules that don't necessarily affect them.

    I can't think of any other church with this property. US Catholics often disagree with the Vatican, but at least rules from Rome apply to the whole Church. General Conference, however, is voting on rules that needn't affect all of the people voting, and the percentage is growing.

    This seems like a structure that's bound to cause trouble.

    There is a committee looking at a restructuring of the Discipline, reporting I believe to the 2020 GC. One possible solution to the current problem would be to give the US the same kind of flexibility that non-US areas have, either a separate Discipline or the ability to make adaptations just for the US, with only US delegates voting on them. That would be a way to deal with the current problems. That would, however, require non-US GC delegates to vote to give up control over the US. I wonder whether they'd be willing to do that. Furthermore, the article I read said that the committee's charge didn't include giving the US this kind of flexibility.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019
  14. Methodized

    Methodized God is love and in God there is no darkness. Supporter

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    Your analysis is pretty accurate. They Central Conferences (non-us conferences) do not have their own Disciplines but can modify the current Discipline for their own culture. But the US Jurisdictions to not have the power to modify the Discipline for similar cultural issues.

    It is an odd situation that basically non-US conference have powers that the six US jurisdictions do not have. I don't think the founders of the UMC ever envisioned a situation where non-US groups would become such a large percentage of the whole.

    There have been proposals on the table to create regionalized Disciplines so that delegates would only be voting on items that effected them.

    The plan you mentioned that isn't being taken seriously takes too much unanimity to pass. It would require 28 amendments to the constitution of the denomination. An amendment requires a supermajority of all the voting delegates world wide to pass. We just don't have enough unanimity to make that happen right now.

    IMO, the best plan (though still imperfect) is the One Church Plan that the majority of Bishops are supporting. but I only believe so because I see it as a step forward in a better direction.

    The Modified Traditional Plan (which has had much of the teeth removed because it violated the constitution) largely leaves things as they are, which is just not acceptable to a large percentage of US delegates. If the Traditional Plan passes I can't see how a wide split in the US would be avoided meaning most progressives and many moderates as well would want to walk away individually, church by church or even annual conference by annual conference.
     
  15. Michael Snow

    Michael Snow Member

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    The one church plan does not have a realistic chance. The faithful from Africa plus those few here are enough to stop it.
     
  16. Pope66

    Pope66 New Member

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    It is not surprising that it did not pass. It was going to fail just like the previous one. I would not be surprised that there will be a split with this church.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2019
  17. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    Indeed the plan seems to be designed to create a split. Do any of the actual Methodists have a sense how many annual conferences will leave? Since the US vote seems strongly against this, I would think a lot of annual conferences would leave. Given the numbers, some of the people who want the One Church plan have to be from the South.
     
  18. bekkilyn

    bekkilyn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I doubt very many *conferences* will leave, if any. Some churches probably will leave, though that would happen regardless of the vote, or even if everything is left exactly the same. My conference has a follow-up gathering scheduled with the Bishop and delegates for this Sunday evening to discuss the results. I am 99% certain that my conference will not be leaving despite many being in favor of the one church plan.
     
  19. food4thought

    food4thought Loving truth Supporter

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    It will be interesting to see how my UMC handles the results... we have a somewhat conservative pastor and a quite a few progressive members.
     
  20. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    My prediction: Unless things change rapidly, few churches will leave. Instead the UMC in the US will become like the Catholic Church in the US: everybody is accepting, and just rolls their eyes at rules imposed from abroad.

    The decision changes no opinions, and doesn't change what is taught in seminaries and from the pulpits. It just makes the church hypocritical, because most of it will be accepting in all aspects of church life except ordination. (Marriage is easier to work around: just find a friend who is a minister in another church to say "I pronounce you ...")

    This isn't what I would want if I were a Methodist, but it seems the most likely outcome.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2019
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