DISCERNMENT

The Discernment Team of Pell City First UMC would like for you to be as informed as possible.  Please take advantage
of reading and watching the various items below so that you can prayerfully
discern your position concerning the future of our congregation with the most information as possible.  Because there are strong feelings from all perspectives, we have tried to provide resources that are as unbiased as possible.  If you find that you have questions that are not answered here, please email your questions to  PCFUMCQuestions@gmail.com  and the team will respond promptly.




What is Discernment?

The Administrative Council of Pell City First UMC voted (by majority), that our Church should enter a
“discernment process” – a time to prayerfully seek God’s direction for our church.



Why are we doing it?


       •      For many decades, the UMC General Conference (the highest governing body in the UMC) has discussed changing the                  Book of Discipline (the book of church law for the UMC) to allow same sex marriages and the ordination of ministers from              the LGBTQ+ community.


       •      In 2019, at the last General Conference of the UMC, delegates voted between two plans for the future of the UMC:

                       •      The One Church Plan would have allowed for the officiation of same sex marriages within the church
                             and the ordination of practicing LGBTQ+ pastors.

                       •      The Traditional Plan would continue to follow the current Book of Discipline which prohibits same sex                                               marriages and the ordination of practicing LGBTQ+ pastors.


       •       The Traditional Plan passed by a narrow margin but there is still much division within the UMC, both globally and locally.


       •      To date, some churches, Annual Conferences, and Bishops are not abiding by or upholding the current language in the                    UMC Book of Discipline.


       •      Some think we should disaffiliate from the UMC because of the expectation that the Book of Discipline will be                      changed to allow practicing LGBTQ+ individuals to marry in our church and to become pastors of United Methodist                Churches.


       •      Others think there is room in the United Methodist Church for a variety of viewpoints and would prefer we do not
            disaffiliate at this time.



Why Enter the Process Now?


       •       The disaffiliation process is governed by the UMC Book of Discipline and Paragraph 2553                                                        (https://www.umc.org/en/content/book-of-discipline-2553-disaffiliation-over-human-sexuality)
            which will expire on December 31, 2023.


       •      The process needs to be completed before then if a church decides to disaffiliate.


       •      This link from Guntersville First UMC's website gives more background/history of why churches are entering the                    process now.  How-We-Got-Here-080222-.pdf (gfumc.net)



The Discernment Process


       •      The Discernment Team is leading the church in the process of discerning the direction of our congregation.
            The Team is committed to a process that fosters education, communication and dialogue.


       •     Our hope is that the information provided will help individuals make decisions that will lead to our collective
           discernment decision. 


       •     Our prayer is that we all will hold to our shared values which include

                        o      centering ourselves and our process in Jesus Christ as our Lord

                        o      talking with respect and great love

                        o      seeking understanding


       •     In holding to these values, our hope is to minimize hurt within our congregation.



Possible Futures for Pell City First United Methodist Church:

Videos of Speakers

  • DS Discernment Presentation:  Video

  • GMC & UMC Presentation:  Video

  • Free Methodist & Independent Methodist Presentation:  


Pell City First UMC Discernment Timeline:

Discernment_Timeline.pdf



What are the Possible Outcomes of Discernment?


       •     Remain a United Methodist Church: 2016-book-of-discipline_UMC.pdf


       •     Join the new Global Methodist Church: https://globalmethodist.org/
 
         Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline: https://globalmethodist.org/what-we-believe/


       •     Join another Methodist denomination such as the Free Methodist Church: https://fmcusa.org/
            Book of Discipline of the Free Methodist Church, USA: https://fmcusa.org/resources/2019bod


       •     Become an Independent Methodist Church with the possibility of joining a network of other large former UMC                     churches that is under development, or later deciding to join another Methodist denomination.



Other church websites with Resources for Discernment:


More information will be added to our webpage as we go through the process.


Here are links to resources provided by other UMC congregations going through discernment:


Canterbury UMC: https://www.canterburyumc.org/discernment

Huntsville First UMC: https://huntsvillefirst.org/discernment/

Vestavia Hills UMC: https://vhumc.org/discernment/

Guntersville First UMC: https://www.gfumc.net/going-forward/



Please save these important upcoming dates:


                      Oct 9th: Presentations from Free Methodist and Independent Methodist @ 2pm in the Beacon


                      Oct 23rd:  Discernment Presentation in Worship (both services)


                      Nov 6th:  Congregational Meeting to discuss recommendations @ 11:30am in the Sanctuary


                      Nov 20th: Church Conference @ 5pm in the Sanctuary