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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
This is a short list of Frequently Asked Questions about the Discernment Porcess and Disaffiliation.
Rev. Dr. Allison Andrews will also be addressing questions in the Facebook Group, “St. Luke’s Pastor’s Page.”
The Texas Annual Conference has a complete list of questions on its website, txcumc.org
Q: When will there be a vote to decide if St. Luke’s will disaffiliate or remain in the UMC?
A: A vote could likely be scheduled in early October, near the time of our charge Conference. We must work through a defined process of discernment lasting 40 days, including open town hall meetings for members and information distributed through various means. Additionally, a defined prayer emphasis for the entire church is required during discernment.
If, after discernment, we decide to hold a vote to determine whether to remain or disaffiliate, It would be a vote by virtue of a Called Church Conference. As it stands now, only full members of the church PRESENT AT THE CALLED CHURCH MEETING are eligible for the vote. Members of the church include youth who have completed the confirmation process and church staff and employees if they are members. Retired pastors calling St. Luke’s their church home are also eligible to vote.
On the subject of disaffiliation:
Under P. 2553 of the Book of Discipline, a 2/3rds majority is required for a definitive decision either way.
Q: Where does our pastor stand on the decision to disaffiliate from the UMC or remain within the denomination?
While it is a highly personal decision and an emotional subject for her, Dr. Andrews is committed to supporting St. Luke’s Kilgore UMC in an unbiased manner and providing information as requested and needed. She will remain or disaffiliate along with St. Luke’s.
Q: Why is St. Luke’s having to vote as an individual church? I thought the Texas Annual Conference as a whole was to vote on disaffiliation.
The Judicial Council of the UMC has since ruled that an entire conference’s disaffiliation is not presently allowed by the Book of Discipline.
Q: Who makes up St. Luke’s Board of Stewards?
The Board of Stewards is made up of the 15 laity and clergy nominated and approved to serve in their capacities. A list of current church officers can be found HERE.
Q: Should St. Luke’s vote to disaffiliate with the UMC, what would be the cost the church would have to pay to the Texas Annual Conference?
Disaffiliating churches are required to pay any unpaid apportionments from the current and previous year along with the “unfunded pension liability” amount specific to our church. We are current with our apportionments. The unfunded pension liability is a calculated number meant to fulfill our obligation to retired pastors in proportion to their service at St. Luke’s. It is the right thing to do and can be equated with an obligation such as Social Security.
Q: What if St. Luke’s decides to disaffiliate next year or later?
While disaffiliation is an issue that needs to be fully considered from all angles, it is never-the-less important to note that If St. Luke’s decides to disaffiliate later than the Dec 3 Annual conference of 2022, additional costs will be incurred. These costs would include the full amount for the next year’s apportionments and the possibility of our new Bishop (beginning in 2023) putting in place additional financial requirements in order to be released from the trust clause which binds our property to The Texas Annual Conference. (In some annual conferences, Bishops currently require up to %50 payment of the total value of the church property.)
Our current Bishop, Bishop Scott Jones of the TAC, has made it his mission to minimize cost and burden for churches seeking to disaffiliate. A point of reference for the minimal cost incurred to disaffiliate this year is the remainder of our apportionments for 2022 and an amount probably much less than 30,000.00 for the unfunded pension liability expense.
Other costs would include branding and logo revisions.
Q: If St. Luke’s were to move to the GMC, how would pastors be appointed to our church?
Pastor Allison would remain your pastor. The GMC would continue to have a hybrid appointment system which would include input from the local church and direction from the GMC.
If, in the future, St. Luke’s requested a different pastor, Pastor Allison would not have a guaranteed appointment elsewhere. The GMC is abolishing the guaranteed appointment system.
If St. Luke’s elected to remain in the UMC, Pastor Allison would continue as your pastor unless the new Bishop rearranges appointments.
Q: Would the Texas Annual Conference seek to claim St. Luke’s building and property if the church voted to disaffiliate in 2022?
With a formal church vote and a subsequent conference-wide vote, the conference would execute a legal agreement releasing St. Luke’sChurch from the requirements of what is known as the “Trust Clause.”