The Discernment Team of Pell City First UMC would like for you to be as
informed as possible. Please take
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
“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:
One Church Plan would have allowed for the officiation of same sex marriages
within the church
and the ordination of practicing LGBTQ+ pastors.
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.
hope is that the information provided will help individuals make decisions that
will lead to our collective
• 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: Video
- Congregational Listening Session: Video
Pell City First UMC Discernment Timeline:
What are the Possible Outcomes of Discernment?
• Remain a United Methodist Church: 2016-book-of-discipline_UMC.pdf
• 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: