UMC Polity Q & A

Based on suggestions from our session at Leadership Institute, this section helps explain the polity of the UMC. We have asked Rev. Amy Lippoldt to help answer these questions. 

Q: If the Protocol for Separation passes at General Conference, will my church need to vote?

A: Nope. The Protocol, as currently written, assumes staying with the United Methodist Church as the default. No entity has to vote unless at least 20% of the membership want to. The first votes will happen at the Central Conference, or for us the USA, the annual conference level. If a vote occurs in an annual conference, 57% of the members present must vote to join a “New Methodist Denomination.” If that mark is not reached, the annual conference stays with the UMC. Once it is known what an annual conference will do, then local churches can vote to do something different than their annual conference. If a church is happy with the annual conference decision to stay or leave, no need to vote! If a church is not satisfied with the decision of the annual conference, the church council will decide if a simple majority or 2/3rd majority will be needed to pass. Such a vote to leave the annual conference would happen at a special called charge conference of the local church. In the case of an annual conference that votes to leave the UMC, any local church can vote to instead stay with the UMC. In the case of an annual conference that stays,