The United Methodist Church is the closest it has been to fracture since the Civil War. We have engaged in forty years of contentious struggle around human sexuality with no resolution. The 2016 General Conference voted for a new path. The Conference voted to table all legislation related to human sexuality and asked the Council of Bishops to come up with a plan. The Bishops agreed and engaged in an unprecedented two year, global discernment process. They formed The Way Forward Commission and received their three proposals. Nearly 2/3 of the Bishops have now recommended the One Church Plan for approval to the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference in St. Louis. This carefully discerned resolution is the best path forward for the church.
Mainstream UMC has formed to fund, staff, and organize a global campaign to pass the Bishops’ proposal and to prepare contingency plans leading up to the 2020 General conference. Multiple established advocacy groups, including Good News, Confessing Movement, Wesleyan Covenant Association, and the Institute for Religion and Democracy, are actively organizing and raising money to defeat the One Church Plan. They have all publicly pledged to bring counter petitions. If we do not get behind the Bishops’ well-considered proposal, we will be left with a proposal from the margins that is sure to divide the church further. Mainstream UMC represents a broad coalition, both left and right of center. We believe the vast majority of United Methodists want the church to stay together and learn to live with our differences.
Mainstream UMC has partnered with Grace United Methodist Church and its nonprofit cohort, Center of Grace, to provide organizational structure for this mission and vision. Mainstream UMC’s Executive Director, Rev. Dr. Mark Holland, will office at Grace UMC, and Center of Grace will provide payment processing for donations to the organization. Operating independently but under the umbrella of the Grace organization, our intent is to support Mainstream UMC in its campaign to keep our denomination together.