“Drying up” often conveys a negative image. Think of fresh fruit that’s dried and shriveled, or dry and itchy skin. Yet drying can sometimes be a good thing. Ask anybody whose property was flooded by Hurricane Florence. This Sunday, I’ll preach from Exodus 17:1-1-7 and John 4:5-14 and discuss spiritual dryness. Is it good or bad?
Centenary and Disaffiliation
‘Tis once again the season for disaffiliation votes. Many congregations in our area had church conferences last fall, and a few more have chosen to go that route this month. I was asked recently, “When is Centenary going to vote? Why aren’t we voting, if everybody else is?”
Two key points: First, no church is required to vote. Voting is only for churches that believe there are enough people in their congregation (a 2/3 majority) who want to leave the United Methodist Church. Second, everybody else is NOT voting. Many churches have chosen, as Centenary did last October, not to hold a divisive vote just to see the outcome.
In every single case I’m aware of, holding a disaffiliation vote has significantly damaged the congregation. No matter how the vote goes, most of those who don’t get the result they want have decided to leave. Some have joined other churches, some have become part of new church starts, and some have given up entirely on church.
I addressed all this last fall. I read the declaration that our Church Council approved by acclamation. That document was shared on Facebook and in Friday Greetings. Printed copies have been available throughout the church since the last Council meeting. If you want to know--in detail--why Centenary has stayed the course as a United Methodist congregation, read the document.
Meanwhile, pray for congregations who have chosen the path of division. Many of those churches are small and can’t afford to lose anybody. They will likely face closure or merger with larger congregations, regardless of the outcome of their vote. And pray for pastors who will stay United Methodist but now face losing their church and, in some cases, their home.