ACTS Nov/Dec Statement

January 3, 2020

Dear King Avenue Friends,

King Avenue UMC’s vision, which states in part that we “lead reconciling ministries,” and the decisions of the 2019 General Conference leave our congregation "misaligned" with our current denomination's policies. In March, the Staff Parish Relations Committee voted to create an ad hoc subcommittee, Alternative ConnecTional Structure (ACTS), to investigate emerging options to affiliate King Avenue Church with a Methodist judicatory of a compatible missional alignment. Since that time, our committee and church have been actively pursuing options including:

The ACTS committee held meetings from May to November 2019.

  • In these meetings we chose to begin a journey of discernment in the hopes of investigating options to affiliate with a compatible missional alignment.
  • We became aware that the Traditional Plan passed at General Conference in 2019 does not allow for pastors to marry LGBTIQ or hold weddings in churches, ordain LGBTIQ ministers, and increases accountability for ministers who are found guilty of charges of having married LGBTIQ at weddings or in their Methodist church.
  • These findings led us to write a letter to our Bishop as well as hold conversations with many other conference and denominational leaders to clarify the risks and options associated with the Traditional Plan.
  • As a result of these findings, the ACTS committee expanded our discovery to include any affiliation or partnership that will allow us to be aligned with our mission and vision.
  • There is a great deal at stake in this decision making, and we know we can’t be reckless, so for now we have chosen to enter a season of hopeful Advent and discernment.
  • In that spirit, we have reviewed and considered the five plans proposed for General Conference of 2020 and plan to proactively support plans we feel are missionally aligned.
  • We have had people attend meetings in Columbus, Kansas City and Denver to explore options for alternative Methodist expressions that have been proposed
  • We held two meetings to lead Reconciling Ministries from East and West Ohio Churches and allies to call for discernment and to educate and inform laity and lay leaders of risks and opportunities that surround the Traditional Plan and to broaden our network of influence.
  • Further, we conducted a survey to help us align our plans to what the majority of our congregants feel and how that compares to other Methodist churches throughout the US.
  • Our finance committee recommended and Admin Council approved withholding apportionments in escrow since March of 2019, and we plan for this to continue.

Be assured that King Avenue Church will continue to welcome and affirm all persons as God intends. We were proud to have hosted the recent Transgender Day of Remembrance and the Cap Pride concerts, as well as the Hubbard School Thanksgiving Dinner. Our pastors continue to celebrate same sex marriages in the church.

Our work is not done and will continue into 2020. To continue to be proactive:

  • We will meet with administrative chairs in December of 2019 to provide a detailed update of our findings.
  • We will be hosting a leadership meeting with all Admin Committee members on Jan 4, 2020.
  • We will be hosting a listening session on Sunday, Jan 26, 2020 to answer any questions you may have about what we’ve discovered and what will be our next steps.
  • We will encourage committees in 2020 to establish strategies to support opportunities for missional alignment and to help mitigate risks particularly in light of changes as a result of the Traditional Plan in January and in support of plan(s) to be discussed and voted upon at the General Conference in May 2020.

We appreciate your prayerful consideration and support as the ACTS committee pursues this important work. May peace and joy be yours as we celebrate the birth of our Savior.

ACTS Committee: Tim Bechtol, Janet Blocher, Linda Guyton, John Keeny, Rhonda Luetje, Colleen Ogle, Andy Shockney, Pam Springer, Cean Wilson

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