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Frequently Asked Questions on Church Disaffiliation

What are some of the benefits of remaining with The UMC?

The UMC is a connectional system; meaning no church stands alone. We are comprised of districts, conferences and jurisdictions to ensure each local church is empowered to make disciples for Jesus Christ. Whether churches pay apportionments or participate in this larger connectional system, each church receives a pastor to ensure the mission and ministry of the local congregation continues. We also pool our resources to make a bigger global impact through supporting initiatives such as Africa University, Imagine No Malaria, UMCOR and other disaster response, grants, scholarships and much more. In good times and in bad, we are joined together knowing that we support one another in mission and ministry.

I've heard claims that The UMC is changing its Doctrinal Standards and Articles of Religion or do not believe in them anymore.  Is that true?

This is simply false. It is not true that the Doctrinal Standards nor the Articles of Religion will be changed in The UMC. Furthermore, these are the beliefs all clergy claim as true at his or her ordination. Our bishop, cabinet, and leadership of the New Mexico Conference affirm these beliefs and hold them as the foundation of their lives and ministry. You can find clergy preaching about the virgin birth or the resurrection on Christmas and Easter, respectively, throughout the New Mexico Conference.

Could you provide an overview of the NM Conference disaffiliation process?

1. The church administrative council votes on whether the church will enter into a 4-6 month discernment period.
2. The church will hold a minimum of 2 listening sessions facilitated by a DS or designated elder (not the appointed pastor).
3. Upon conclusion of the discernment period, the church council will vote to continue or discontinue the disaffiliation process. If they're to continue, the DS will call a church conference, which they will chair. With a 2/3 affirmative vote from professing members present, the church will have decided to disaffiliate from The UMC.
4. The finalization date is when all paperwork and payments are submitted to the Conference. A simple majority of members present at Annual Conference ratifies the disaffiliation.

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In the NM Conference, what payment is required of churches to disaffiliate?

The Board of Trustees of each Conference determined the disaffiliation policy for their individual Conference.  Because of this, policies differ across the connection.  For the NM Conference, the only requirements are to fulfill our covenant to pay for unfunded pension responsibility as outlined in ¶1504.23 of the 2019 Addendum to the 2016 Book of Discipline and to pay any unpaid apportionments for the twelve (12) months immediately prior to the Disaffiliation Date and an additional twelve (12) months of apportionments, as calculated by Annual Conference in full so that the conference has time to adjust to the new financial reality. There is no requirement to pay for the property of the church. When the process is complete each church will keep their property.

What about members of a church who are in the minority of a church vote to disaffiliate? Will there be a place to worship and gather?

If a church votes to disaffiliate and there are members who wish to remain UMC, we ask that they contact their DS to make them aware of this. We want to help all people who wish to remain UMC find a church home. Our New Church Development Team has been working on ways to support those groups.

Does my local church have to go through the Disaffiliation Discernment Process or take a vote on disaffiliation?

No, if your church is able to fulfill their mission in the UMC, they don't have to take any action.  If a congregation begins the disaffiliation process and then decides to call a church conference, a vote will then take place. Even after discussions, a vote is not required unless the decision is to disaffiliate, otherwise the church remains United Methodist.