New Hope UMC

hutto

Upcoming Disaffiliation Vote Details

A membership meeting will be held on February 18, 2024 at the church at 12 noon.  The purpose of the meeting is to vote on disaffiliation from the United Methodist Church  

About the Voting

Voting will be supervised by District Superintendent Rev. Ken Nelson. It is limited It to members although non- members may attend. a two thirds majority is required for disaffection. Voting is in person. This is the official vote to disaffiliate so adherence to Conference rules is important.

Current Status

In December, we completed the document requirements for eligibility for disaffection. This is the second round of disaffiliation in the South Carolina Conference of the UMC. In June 2023, 113 churches were approved for disaffection at the annual meeting. We had voted in a meeting in January 2023 not to pursue disaffection at that time as we lacked the resources to complete the necessary documentations. We also had concerns about the proposed exit fees. The Conference then provided a pathway for churches still wishing to consider separation and set forth requirements to do that.  These churches, including New Hope, will be voted on in the 2024 Annual Meeting. 

Background

A split between traditionalists and progressive factions of the UMC had been in the works for some time. A separation plan was voted on and approved in the 2019 General Conference. This plan, proposed by the traditionalists, called for the progressives to leave and form a new denomination. That was never carried out and other plans also failed. The General Conference meetings were interrupted by Covid, so a 2022 scheduled GC did not happen. The split finally proceeded with each of the 54 Annual Conferences using their own exit plans under the interpretation of the Book of Discipline.

At the root of the dispute was a long standing disagreement over sexual orientation, i.e., gay mariages and gays in the pulpit, which were prohibited by the Book of Discipline. To complicate matters, the UMC, under a trust clause, owns the physical and financial assets of the local churches. This meant that the property had to be acquired in a financial transaction by the local church in order to continue as independent. This process, as could be expected, took time to arrange and accomplish. Our "exit fees" include a 10% share of assets to be paid to the Conference. These funds will be placed in escrow, pending the approval by the Annual Meeting in June 2024.  It consists of (1) 10% of assets, (2) our share of unfunded pension benefits labially and (3) our apportionment obligations.

This information including the breakdown and totals will be made available soon in a discernment period preceding the official vote. New Hope has adequate funds to assure the transfer of property from the Conference to New Hope.