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The Future of SUMC and the United Methodist Church

by Kathy Cosner, Lay Represenative to Annual Conference on April 14, 2021
These are unprecedented times around the world.  In addition to a global pandemic and global political unrest United Methodists are struggling to deal with a schism in the denomination.  Thank God for His promises and His gift of the Holy Spirit to comfort, sustain, and guide His children!  Times like this have always resulted in a new realization of the need for repentance and recommitment to God.  I pray that all of us will be drawn deeper into an attitude of repentance and confidence in God’s mercy and provision for us.

Some recent events on the denominational front include the following:
  • Cancellation of the special called session of General Conference scheduled for May 8, 2021
  • Rescheduling General Conference to August, 2022
  • Protest by several progressive annual conferences to the Council of Bishops of a lack of transparency due to closed door meetings
  • Retirement of Bishop Stanovsky in December, 2021
In addition, the formation of the Global Methodist Church denomination and the sharing of responsibilities between the new denomination and the Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA) is complex and increases the questions on how traditionalists transition away from the United Methodist Church.

In summary, a lot has been happening recently in both the UMC and the WCA.  Most of these events are viewed as significant but the consequences are unclear.  In addition, there are many changes taking place that can potentially affect the timing of General Conference.  These are complicated times that we as a church are navigating. 

Your church council has begun developing a plan of preparation for the step into a new future for us as a congregation.  Over the next few months several of us will be gathering a lot of information and we will also be putting together a list of decisions to be made.  There will be periodic updates given to the church council and when all the information has been assembled there will be a series of meetings announced.  We will make this decision together.  God's message to His people when they faced the challenge of exile and loss of their homeland was: “For 
I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)  We also can count on this promise!  God’s provision for us can be seen as we look back at all of the ways that He has blessed us in the past and the way He continues to be present with us. His promise is personal, and it is for us.  Now is the time for us as a congregation to strongly unite and prepare together.  We ask that each person take time to join with one or more others from the SUMC family to regularly pray to God as the Holy Spirit leads you.  We as a congregation need to be united in Jesus Christ now more than ever.  This is our time of Exodus with the Holy Spirit ahead of us and behind us.  Praise God for His faithfulness and love!
 
Kathy Cosner, Lay Represenative to Annual Conference
Grant Bosshardt, Chuch Council Chair
John Weston, Senior Pastor
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