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Dear <<First Name>>,

As a member of Park Avenue UMC, we are sending you important information you need to know about the Called Church Conference Vote on Disaffiliation scheduled for this Wednesday, March 9th at 6:00pm in the Sanctuary.

This information includes why we're pursuing disaffiliation, the ballot you will receive on Wednesday, what's next after the vote if we choose to disaffiliate, and more.
 

Things You Need to Know when You come to VOTE on Park Avenue UMC’s Disaffiliation on March 9th:

 

1.  Why has Park Avenue decided to pursue disaffiliation from the United Methodist Church?

  • There are irreconcilable theological differences in the UMC that continue to move in a more progressive direction. Within the UMC, we see a denomination becoming increasingly accepting of clergy, including bishops, who denigrate the authority of Scripture and deny the Divinity and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, along with many other key tenets of the faith. Understandably, these theological disagreements have led to tremendous decline and dysfunction in our denomination.
     
  • The UMC has departed from its own mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.  It has become more focused on revising historic Christian teachings and pursuing social justice issues without preaching a Gospel that says we are all sinners and in need of the grace of Jesus Christ in our life.
     
  • The divisiveness is only getting stronger. The General Conference of the UMC has not been able to address this conflict, and has now been postponed again until 2024.
     
  •  Traditional United Methodist Churches in many parts of our country are being targeted by punitive bishops and conference leadership.
     

2.  Why is Park Avenue seeking to disaffiliate now?


Lay leadership has spent a significant amount of time considering this over the past two years. The primary reasons for choosing to leave now are as follows:
  • Because General Conference was postponed to 2024, it is likely that more progressive delegates will be present then, resulting in the change to our current UMC Book of Discipline to remove the biblical definition of marriage, allow same-sex marriages and ordination of self-avowed practicing LGBTQ+ persons.
     
  • The opportunity for disaffiliating from the UMC will expire Dec. 31, 2023, and additional requirements could be added for those who pursue leaving.  Additionally, the costs for disaffiliating could go up.  Moreover, delaying disaffiliation means that we continue to pay apportionments to the UMC totaling approximately $200,000 per year.  Some of those payments go directly to support progressive ideology and agendas inconsistent with our traditional Wesleyan, biblical understanding.
     
  • Plus, we are tired and weary of waiting on General Conference. Being proactive is our best response at this point.
     

3.    What will the ballot look like?

The ballot that we have been given was not prepared by us is as follows:

Shall Park Avenue United Methodist Church disaffiliate from The United Methodist Church for reasons of conscience over disagreements related to human sexuality, or the actions or inactions of its annual conference related to these issues?

____ Yes                          ____ No

 

  • You’ll notice that this ballot does not mention the bigger issue of the theological divide between traditionalists and progressives that we have addressed during our church meetings.  Unfortunately, while we asked for the language to include the larger “theological divide” - that language is not included on the ballot.
     
  • However, as we have discussed a vote to disaffiliate on the larger theological issue is appropriate by voting “yes” on this ballot.


To learn more about the deep theological division in the United Methodist Church, read:

A Fight for the Faith Delivered Once for All written by UMC Bishop Lowry.     https://firebrandmag.com/articles/a-fight-for-the-faith-delivered-once-for-all

A Strange Split in the UMC written by historian Carl Trueman.     https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2020/01/a-strange-split-in-the-umc
 

4.  Is it important that I show up to vote?

  • Yes!  If you are a member, it is very important that you show up to vote!  This is a historic moment in the life of Park Avenue.  It is a teaching moment for your children and grandchildren.
     
  • Don’t assume others will show up and vote as you might want to vote!
     
  • The Church Conference starts at 6:00 pm.  Please arrive early and be prepared to vote.

 

5.  Does our church leadership fully support disaffiliating?

  • Yes!  Our pastoral staff, Jimmy and Jamie, and all of our church staff  unanimously support this recommendation.
     
  • The Protocol Study Team unanimously recommended disaffiliation after 2 years of study, discussion and prayer.
     
  • The Administrative Council unanimously voted to accept the recommendation of The Protocol Study Team, and has recommended disaffiliation to our church membership.
     

6.  If we vote to disaffiliate what happens next?

  • The next step will be to enter into a Disaffiliation Agreement with the South Georgia Conference Trustees to set the terms for finalizing the process.
     
  • Then, the request to disaffiliate will go before our South Georgia Annual Conference for a vote to approve in June 2022.
     
  • Upon payment of the disaffiliation fees, Park Avenue will no longer be a UMC church.
     
  • Can we use the name “Methodist”?  If our church joins the Global Methodist Church (the new traditional Methodist denomination that will launch May 1st) or some other Methodist denomination, we will be able to use “Methodist” in our name.
     
  •  We will still follow our regular Methodist doctrine, theology, teaching and liturgy.  Nothing we do on Sundays or any other day will change.
     
  • Park Avenue will be the same church you have known and loved for years!
     

7.  How much will it cost us to leave?

  • The estimate that we have from our Annual Conference, which will be updated before we disaffiliate, is approximately $650,000.  That amount represents annual apportionments of approximately $200,000, plus pension liability of $440,000.
     
  • We have no debt, and have already started raising funds to satisfy the disaffiliation fees.  Because of your faithfulness and generosity, and God’s blessing,  we are in a very healthy financial situation.

 

8.  When will the disaffiliation be official?

June 30, 2022, or thereafter, depending on when Park Avenue satisfies the financial obligations under the Disaffiliation Agreement.

There will be a Called Church Conference and Vote on Wednesday, March 9th at 6:00pm in the Sanctuary. The purpose of this meeting is to vote on disaffiliating from the United Methodist Church. All members are strongly encouraged to attend. Childcare is provided.

Only Full Members who are present are allowed to vote. If you have any questions, please call the Church Office at (229) 242-3562.

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100 E Park Avenue Valdosta, GA 31602

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Park Avenue Church · 100 E Park Ave · Valdosta, GA 31602-2525 · USA

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