If you are a United Methodist and you are not aware of the schism (split) in your denomination, you may be living under a rock, or more likely you have a pastor afraid to discuss it with his or her congregation. The founders (I’m one of three) of Moyock Christian Fellowship were ushered out the doors in 2019 over issues of stewardship at our rural UMC congregation. Bishop Hope Morgan-Ward disagreed with us that the congregation needed to know the church had become insolvent, and every penny of the congregation’s healthy 230K+ savings depleted. Secrecy is alive and well in the UMC.
The good news for United Methodists is there are a couple of good resources that can be used to stay current on what’s happening at the denominational level. Both Good News Magazine and Institute on Religion and Democracy publish quality articles on the UMC (and so do we to a lesser level). Recently writers from both publications have documented acts of reprisal against traditional pastors and congregations by liberal bishops. New Jersey and North Georgia conferences in particular have been hit hard. Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson of the North Georgia Conference notified the pastor at Mt. Bethel, the largest congregation in the conference that he would be moved without thoughtful consultation with him or the Staff Pastor Parish Relations Committee. Bishop Haupert-Johnson gives a differing account on her website. I believe in this case, that Mt. Bethel has taken the correct course in holding apportionments in abeyance. I have taken a firm and public position on this as the last only means available to traditional pastors and congregations. Money absolutely gets the attention of these liberal bishops; they thrive on it.
Apportionments are a denominations tax on the tithes and offerings of each congregation in the UMC, usually paid monthly.
Walter Fenton at Good News Magazine wrote a very good article covering the unplanned move of The Rev. Dr. Jody Ray, at Mt. Bethel. I share my comment left on Fenton’s article below, because it very well may never see the light of day after review by moderators:
I am aware my comment may not be published as others on this topic have not, but United Methodists at congregations like Mt. Bethel have only one means of being heard by bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson. That one means is to do what other congregations have done and withhold all apportionments in escrow.
Good News Magazine and the Institute on Religion and Democracy continually publish accounts of these liberal bishops suffering reprisal on congregations and traditional pastors. This will not get better between now and next year’s general conference. It is past time for the WCA to stand up to these actions by liberals that are neither in keeping with the Gospel nor the book of discipline.
I call on the WCA to vocally recommend traditional congregations withhold apportionments in escrow until next year’s vote.
Brother Thom, Moyock Christian Fellowship
I leave you with one last thought. Do you know where your tithes and offerings are being spent? Are they going to support liberal ideals of “wokeness?” Are your gifts supporting “social justice warriors” who have banned the use of “mother” on Mother’s Day and replaced it with “birther person?” How much of God’s money has been used by liberal bishops to support Black Lives Matter (the organization not the idea)?” Black Lives Matter uses its money to support liberal causes. Try and find where they have spent one dime on rebuilding the cities burned in their name or help reopen the businesses looted in their name. Lastly, try and find where BLM has condemned the violence across America committed in their name. Stop the madness and stop funding liberal bishops.