Disaffiliation Information

FAQ Topics for Disaffiliation

Explanation and Reasons for Disaffiliation from the United Methodist Church
As of January 31, 2023
 

Why did the Bellview Church Council vote to enter the disaffiliation discernment process?

John Wesley issued the cautionary warning: “In all cases, the Church is to be judged by the Scripture, not the Scripture by the Church.” The United Methodist Church is irreconcilably divided over many significant issues of interpretation of Scripture and doctrine. Among the churches within the UMC, there is a wide variety of opinions as to the authority of, approach to, and application of Scripture. Too many look to the culture as the source of authority and not God’s Word. This leads the UMC to a theological impasse. On paper, the UMC professes the historic Christian beliefs. But in practice, many UMC leaders espouse conflicting theological and doctrinal beliefs, even beliefs that directly contradict the basics of the Christian faith.
The UMC is also at an institutional impasse. UMC leaders are inconsistent in their approach to holding ministers and laity accountable to the UMC Book of Discipline. Some provisions are enforced; other provisions are violated without consequence. Although we can’t predict the future for certain, the divisions within the UMC will likely grow wider at the 2024 General Conference. As more traditionalist churches and clergy exit the UMC, the remaining church clergy and delegates to General Conference may move even further away from traditional, orthodox beliefs. These differences have led us to recommend that Bellview prayerfully enter the discernment process regarding disaffiliation.
This decision isn’t based solely on the issue of sexuality, as some voices would have you believe. The reasons supporting disaffiliation are far more complex than a simple disagreement over one issue. The issue of sexuality is a symptom rather than the cause. The divide within the UMC stems from broader and historically rooted differences in interpretation of Scripture that have been brewing since 1972.
 

Process for Disaffiliation in UMC Book of Discipline

What are the requirements under Paragraph 2553 to disaffiliate?

Our first step was for the Church Council to vote to invite our District Superintendent to come and address this issue in a Town Hall. Our town hall was held on October 10, 2022. That started our discernment process.
Bellview’s church council voted, after a time of prayerful discernment to seek disaffiliation, to ask for a date for a special called church conference. Our special called church conference was held on January 23, 2023. At that time, the full members of Bellview UMC who were present at the called church conference voted with a 99.5% majority to approve disaffiliating from the United Methodist Church.

Financial & Costs Associated with Disaffiliation

Can you clarify the costs of disaffiliation under paragraph 2553?

Bellview will pay twelve months of apportionments plus its share of the unfunded pension liabilities and medical benefits determined by the conference treasurer. To date, these costs include the following:
 
● The current year and future year’s apportionments, which is approximately $23,470 (which will already be partially paid).
● Unfunded Pension Obligation, which totals $20,545.
         ●  Post-Retirement Medical Obligation, which totals $22,212.
         ● Other charges considered by the Conference Board of Trustees, such as the repayment of any loans and grants given in the                    last three years (Bellview has $0.)
 
If Bellview were to exit today, the cost would be $66,551, but will be reduced by the partial apportionments already paid. At the time of disaffiliation, the disaffiliation costs will be due. By the grace of God, Bellview will have the ability to pay these costs when due.
 

What’s Next?

Now that Bellview has voted to disaffiliate, what happens next?

The next step of the process is that our voting results will be sent to the Conference Trustees for approval. Preliminary paperwork will be due to their office by March 15th. With the Trustee’s terms, our vote would then be presented for approval at a special called Annual Conference session on May 7th. Once approved at Annual Conference and upon payment of the disaffiliation fees, Bellview will be free to join another denomination or be independent. We have entered a time of discernment and research to learn about other Wesleyan denominations before our church would make a decision to join another denomination.
 

Since Bellview has voted to disaffiliate, what will happen with Bellview’s ministry?

Our church family will not notice any major changes. Our mission remains make disciples of Jesus Christ by teaching, sharing, and serving with love. The relationships we share, worship services, small groups, and our love for all people will remain just as they are now. All people will continue to be welcomed here, sans judgment.
We will still follow our regular Wesleyan Methodist doctrine, theology, teaching, and liturgy. Bellview will be the same church (remember the church is the people) we have known and loved for years! And we can go back to spending more time on our missions and ministries.
Members may notice some minor “branding” changes such as removal of the word “United” in our name and the Cross and Flame insignia as the trademarked logo of the UMC. Bellview will own outright our property, which we currently hold in trust for the UMC.
Membership will vote to change our name, since we need to change our incorporation documents with the state.
 
Our next church conference to vote on our next steps will be held on February 20th at 6pm. We kindly ask that all members              of the church be in attendance.
 

Who can vote at the Church Conference?

• Those who are members of Bellview United Methodist Church are eligible to vote.
• Those who are physically in attendance at the Church Conference will be able to vote
   (there will be no voting by proxy).
• The decisions made on affiliation and name change will be approved by a simple majority of those present.
 
We hope this clarifies some of the questions you may have had. If you need further answers, please call the office and set up a time to come meet with the pastor. She will be glad to answer any question honestly and to the best of her ability.