2023 Resolutions

Resolution 2023-02: “Request for a Special Annual Conference for Disaffiliating Churches”
General Church Budget Implications: Yes
East Ohio Conference Implications: Yes

Rationale: ¶ 2553 is available to be used for disaffiliation from The United Methodist Church through December 31, 2023. The final step is approval by the Annual Conference. Without a specially called East Ohio Annual Conference in late fall or early December of 2023, churches must have completed all of their work over six months before the deadline given by the General Conference. A church could complete all of the work that is required of them, and still not be allowed to disaffiliate in the time allowed by The Book of Discipline, because the final action of Annual Conference approval is not available to them. If this action is not taken by the bishop, East Ohio Conference Board of Trustees, and the East Ohio Annual Conference.

Whereas: in 2019, the Specially Called General Conference approved ¶ 2553 which suspends the Trust Clause and allows churches who meet the specific requirements of the legislation to disaffiliate, over matters pertaining to human sexuality through December 31, 2023. 

Whereas: churches may meet all of the requirements that they control, before the December 31, 2023, deadline, and still be denied this Disciplinary privilege, because the final requirement is a vote by the Annual Conference.

Whereas: bishops in multiple annual conferences have declared their intent to hold a special Annual Conference session for the express purpose of voting for or against the disaffiliation of churches who meet the ¶ 2553 requirement before December 31, 2023. This conference could be held in-person or online with the intent of incurring the least expense possible.

Whereas: the following annual conferences of the United Methodist Church have or will conduct special conferences on these dates; North Texas 3/4/23, Upper New York 3/25/23, Holston 4/22/23, Florida 4/22/23, Oklahoma 4/22/23, Illinois Great Rivers 5/5/23, Alaska 5/6/23, Oregon 5/6/23, Rio Texas 5/6/23, Western North Carolina 5/6/23, Pacific Northwest 5/7/23, Alabama-West Florida 5/7/23, North Alabama 5/11/23, West Texas New Mexico 5/20/23, Florida 8/5/23, Virginia 10/7/23, Upper New York 10/14/23, Alabama-West Florida 11/12/23, Tennessee-West Kentucky 11/13/23, Iowa 11/18/23, Michigan 11/30/23, Illinois Great Rivers 12/5/23 and Mississippi 12/3/23.

Whereas: a bishop may call a special session through ¶ 369.6 of The 2016 Book of Discipline, which states: “A special session of the annual conference may be held at such time and at such place as the bishop shall determine, after consultation with the cabinet and the executive committee of the Board of Ordained Ministry.”

Whereas: an Annual Conference may request that a session be held under ¶ 603.5 of The 2016 Book of Discipline which states, “A special session of the Annual Conference may be held at such time and in such place as shall have been determined by the Annual Conference after consultation with the bishop, or by the bishop with the concurrence of three-fourths of the district superintendents. A special session of the Annual Conference shall have only such powers as are stated by the call.”

Whereas: a called Special Session of the Annual Conference at the close of 2023, would be an act of grace and a step toward peace and reconciliation to those churches seeking to follow their conscience out of The United Methodist Church. 

Therefore, be it resolved: that the East Ohio Annual Conference request that Bishop Tracy S. Malone, in consultation with the Cabinet and the Executive Committee of the Board of Ministry, call for a Special Session of the Annual Conference between November 1 and December 15, 2023, to vote on the matter of disaffiliation for all churches that have completed the required work to disaffiliate under ¶ 2553 in The 2016 Book of Discipline. This conference could be held electronically, at a church, or at a suitable location as directed by Bishop Malone and the Cabinet. Cost to be borne by the East Ohio Annual Conference through the Administrative Reserve Fund or another fund recommended by CF&A and reported before the conclusion of this Annual Conference. 

Submitted by the following East Ohio Lay General Conference Delegates: Bob Wagner, Betty Wilson, Jerry Rinehart, and Holly Grant

Contact Person: Bob Wagner, 4170 Perron Rd. S.E., Amsterdam, OH 42903, Phone: (330) 324-7193, E-mail