What’s Next After the UMCNext Conference?

I spent the last 3 days at the UMCNext conference in Kansas City with around 600 centrist and progressive United Methodist leaders to discuss where to go from here following the passage of the Traditional Plan at the 2019 General Conference.

It was a blessing to be a part of a gathering with people of diverse perspectives and backgrounds committed to sharing openly and honestly with one another. As expected there was not one unified path forward, there were several goals which were strongly affirmed by the gathering which are listed below.

  1. We long to be passionate followers of Jesus Christ, committed to a Wesleyan vision of Christianity, anchored in scripture and informed by tradition, experience and reason as we live a life of personal piety and social holiness.
  2. We commit to resist evil, injustice and oppression in all forms and toward all people and build a church which affirms the full participation of all ages, nations, races, classes, cultures, gender identities, sexual orientations, and abilities.
  3. We reject the Traditional Plan approved at General Conference 2019 as inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ and will resist its implementation.
  4. We will work to eliminate discriminatory language and the restrictions and penalties in the Discipline regarding LGBTQ persons.  We affirm the sacred worth of LGBTQ persons, celebrate their gifts, and commit to being in ministry together.

Some within the gathering felt this could best be accomplished by staying within the UMC and resisting the implementation of the traditional plan. Others wanted to start a new form of Methodism where full inclusion could be immediately implemented. And within these options, there are a variety of possible strategies available which leaders will now begin to hash out in much more detail.

If you would like to hear more about these matters, I will be speaking for groups at Church Street UMC in Knoxville along with several others who attended the conference on Sunday June 2 at 6pm. I will also be speaking at First Broad Street UMC in Kingsport on Thursday June 6 at 6:30pm.

Please note, these invitations to speak do NOT indicate that Church Street UMC or First Broad Street UMC support the UMCNext movement – only that groups within those churches would like to learn more about it. If you are interested in being a part of this movement, I anticipate opportunities to get involved locally and, in some cases, regionally, will be announced soon.