Using dollars to disagree

Good News shared this story about Mt. Bethel UMC, a huge United Methodist congregation in North Georgia, voting to withhold apportionments:

One of the largest congregations in The United Methodist Church withheld over $200,000 of its apportionments in 2014 in response to what it believes to be “wholly unsatisfactory” inaction on the part of the Council of Bishops to recent controversies within the denomination. The congregation will make no further payments in 2015 without the explicit approval of the church’s administrative council.

The story says the church will not pay apportionments in 2015 unless the Council of Bishops responds satisfactorily to a statement issued by a group of United Methodists pastors and other leaders last summer.

It will be interesting to see how North Georgia Bishop Michael Watson responds.

18 thoughts on “Using dollars to disagree

  1. The Council of Bishops should have known they were opening up a big ugly can of worms when they made this so-called just resolution. Why should they expect others to follow the rules if they won’t? How can they justly discipline anyone who breaks any rule for any reason, now that they have clearly defied the Discipline and broken the covenant?

    If the Council of Bishops has the right to break the rules because they don’t agree with them, or for the sake of circling the wagons and protecting one of their own, then why don’t pastors and churches have that same right?

    The Council of Bishops has called down chaos on TUMC. Thanks for nothing.

  2. A view from the pew: This discussions speaks to me personally. After a lifetime of faithfully and cheerfully and willingly giving money to my local UMC–my husband and I were above average in our giving–I am no longer sure about blanket financial support of the UMC locally or as a denomination. We no longer submit a pledge card–I was devastated the first year I just could not fill one out. The problem is the wheels came off for us locally which prompted me to explore what was going on at the denominational level. In short, the United Methodist Church is not what we thought it was. But there is another reality, we do not feel the call to walk away. I would like to see the United Methodist Church survive and embrace the unique message and method that brought her into existence. What is emerging is we put random amounts of cash in the plate on Sunday–I always go for the largest bill in my billfold–and we are cherry picking what we make “significant contributions to. In reading all the different reactions to what Mt. Bethel has done, three thoughts have emerged when I think about giving. First, it is not so much about the amount of money given, it is the fact it is done willingly and with a cheerful heart. Second, John Wesley consistently taught never go against your conscience. At this point in time, blanket giving does not promote a cheerful heart and it very much goes against my conscience. There is also a third aspect that Tom Lambrecht brought up in his latest post on this subject: truth spoken in love. As I have stated earlier, I would love to see the United Methodist Church survive, but the truth is, there is currently much about it I can not agree with.

  3. Something else to consider is that a church withholding some of their apportionments may defy the Discipline, but it in no way defies the word of God. Performing homosexual union ceremonies and ordaining homosexuals clearly defies both the Discipline and the word of God, as does not disciplining those who do these things.

    And I’ll take the word of God first every time.

    That does not mean I’m endorsing withholding apportionments, but I won’t condemn those who do. I understand that they don’t believe they are being left with any choice. As the stern requirement to pay full apportionments unconditionally indicates, money talks.

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