A Message from our Bishop Regarding Church Affiliation
At our Administrative Board Meeting held on August 7, at 3 pm, our Administrative Board chose to enter the discernment process officially.
On Monday at 2 pm, an email was sent to Jeff Olive, our district superintendent, informing him of our intent to have these discernment discussions.
Our next step in the process will be to attend the meeting on August 13th, 10:00 - 11:30 am at John Wesley UMC, 5830 Bermuda Dunes Drive, Houston, TX 77069*,
Resources for Information
TXCUMC Discernment Task Force District Meeting
A meeting will be held on August 13th, 10:00 - 11:30 am at John Wesley UMC, 5830 Bermuda Dunes Drive, Houston, TX 77069*, where information for all sides of this challenging discussion will be presented. This is available for all, and I highly encourage you to make plans to attend if possible. Other dates are available as well.
The following information is intended to provide background information as to the issues we are facing, the reason for talk about discernment and other general questions.
Questions Answered about UMC Future - Txcumc.org Website (3/24/22)
Frequently Asked Questions - Txcumc Navigating the Waters Website containing answers to questions asked at Texas Annual Conference Held discernment meetings (Updated 5/11/22)
Navigating the Waters - Webinar with Scott Jones (May 2022)
GMC UMC Comparison Chart hosted by TXCUMC (Revised July 2022)
The following information is either provided by the GMC or promotes the ideals and proposed reasons why a church should consider joining the GMC. It should be noted that the GMC is in a transitional stage and will not be a completely formed denomination until after it holds a Convening Conference in 2023.
GMC/UMC/WCA Comparison Chart - Created by Wesley Covenant Association (9/1/21)
Read carefully as some items do not reflect what is currently said in BOD but predictive by this author. Other items are not listed in current UMC BOD which is binding but in the Book of Resolutions which is not binding.
The UMC is more traditional than ever, but it doesn’t matter - Article by Matt O-Reily updated May 25 on reasons to leave UMC.
Kingwood UMC Affiliation Discussion - Pastors of Kingwood UMC at a Town Hall Style Meeting
The Methodist Church is Divided and Dividing - Rob Renfroe - Global UMC (June 2022)
The information included here promotes why churches should consider staying with the UMC and not disaffiliating from the UMC.
INFORMATION ABOUT STAYING UMC
Is the UMC Really? - Q&A series posted on UMC.Org clarifying questions about staying in the UMC
Stay UMC Facebook Page - North Alabama Conference page dedicated to those who want information about staying with the United Methodist Church.
Why Resurrection UMC is Staying UMC - Adam Hamilton - UMC (May 2022)
The information shared here is about other expressions of faith that may be pertinent to this conversation.
All Church Emails
Lake Houston UMC friends and family, please note this update I received yesterday from our district office.
From the Central North District Office,
Some of you and your members are planning on attending the Future Discernment Task Force Meeting on August 13th, 10:00 - 11:30 am. There has been a location change and we will now meet at John Wesley UMC, 5830 Bermuda Dunes Drive, Houston, TX 77069. You can see the full meeting schedule and the resource page below. Please let me know if I can help in any way.
Faithfully in Christ,
As we have shared in a previous email the United Methodist Church as a whole is engaging a time of discernment to determine the future of every United Methodist Congregation.
I wanted to once again direct you to locations on line and in person where you can gain more insight and information into these important decisions.
One way you can learn more is by visiting our website. We have set up a page for Future Church Discernment which contains links to other websites, videos, and charts that will provide more information. Visit https://lakehoustonumc.com/discernmentprocess
Conference Future Discernment Task Force Meeting
A meeting will be held at Faith UMC in Spring on August 13 from 10:00-11:30 am where information for all sides of this difficult discussion will be presented. This is available for all and I highly encourage you to make plans to attend if possible.Other dates are available as well.
As a church we will need to enter a period of discernment to decide whether our congregation will choose our future direction. Our discernment process and meetings will begin either in Fall of 2022 or Spring 2023.
On August 7, at 3pm our Administrative Council will meet. At this meeting we will only be discussing and choosing the best time to begin our future church discernment process. This meeting is only about the logistics of the discernment process.
An outline of the discernment process timelines along with other helpful links can be found here. https://www.txcumc.org/local-church-disaffiliation
Again we will not be presenting information or having discussion in favor or against any particular way forward or any specific side at this time, this is only logistical.
Once the beginning date is set, I will contact the District Office to inform them and register that our church is officially entering the discernment process. The discernment process is just that. It is a time where our church will prayerfully consider the direction God is leading us to move in the future.
During the discernment process we will have times of prayer by our congregation, house meetings, town hall meetings and other formats which will give everyone in the church an opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings and find out all the information which is available. These will begin at the earliest in September of 2022 and at the latest February of 2023.
At the conclusion of the discernment process which will last around a month, our church will come together for a called Church Council meeting. At this meeting all who are fully confirmed members of the church will have the opportunity to cast a vote to determine our future denominational affiliation.
Again please be in prayer for our church, and our denomination at this time.
Here are further links from the Texas Annual Conference which will be helpful.
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Future Discernment Task Force (FDTF)
- Local Church Disaffiliation
- Webinar May 10, 2022
- Cross Connection article UMC Future
- Recent Judicial Council Decisions
I am sure you are aware by now that the United Methodist Church is in a time of disruption, and uncertainty.
The UMC as a whole is facing an impending split based on differences in understanding, interpreting, and enforcing that which is in our book of Discipline.
My goal in this short email is ,not to explain all of the issues, sides or stances. I want to provide you with the next steps we must take as we discern the best way forward for our congregation. No matter the path Lake Houston UMC chooses, we will have to make a decision in the end.
Two dates are available for this process to occur and be completed. One is this coming December, and the other is May 2023. Before then our church would need to complete a process of discernment as to our direction.
With two possible dates, it means two possible timelines. For a December 2022 decision, the process would begin around September 2022. For a May 2023 decision, the process would need to begin in March of 2023.
I am instructing the Administrative Board to set a meeting to occur before August 12. At this meeting, the board will decide which discernment timeline our church will follow.
After this meeting, a discernment task force will be created to guide us through this discernment process.
In the meantime, I would like to dedicate July as a Time of Prayer for the Future of the Church. Pray for our church as we begin this process of discernment. Pray for those churches that are currently making those difficult decisions. Pray for all of the people, staff, leaders, congregation members, and people of their communities who are affected by these decisions.
During this time I also ask that you take your own time of discernment as you research, read and have conversations about these decisions. There is much good reliable, information available. However, there is also much which is not current, and or based on fear, supposition, and personal opinion. Please check the dates on articles you read as many circumstances have changed even in the past month.
This decision is one for our church family laypersons to make for the future of Methodism here in the Lake Houston area. There will be a time when all church members in good standing will have to cast a vote of decision.
Throughout the time of discernment, my prayer is this.
In our discernment, we act out of courage and anticipation for what God can do, not fear of what might happen or what "could" occur.
In our discussions, we bear in mind that we are all children made in the image of God and are, no matter what, brothers and sisters in Christ.
And that we are tasked with proclaiming the hope-filled, healing message of Jesus Christ to everyone, everywhere, always.
In continued prayer
Pastor Russell Martin