Dear Siblings in Christ,
For several years now the members of the California-Pacific Conference Board of Trustees have been praying that the United Methodist Church would find a way to live together under one, big tent as we have always. It is clear now that some do not feel they can live together and we mourn this decision.
The Board of Trustees has been tasked with creating a path for churches in our conference to disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church, in a manner that might allow them to retain their properties. We began this process by using the guideline for disaffiliation that was created by the General Council on Finance and Administration under ¶2553 of the Book of Discipline.
The Cal-Pac Trustees completed that task in August 2022. The day-to-day process has been delegated to the District Superintendent (DS) of each district. They, along with our support, have been working with churches to assist them in leaving the UMC.
We write to you now to share some important information. First, the provisions in ¶2553 that allow disaffiliation for theological reasons related to the full inclusion of LGBTQ+ persons expire on December 31, 2023. This means that those who wish to disaffiliate from the UMC must complete the process on or before that date.
Second, we have found in working with churches in process that this is a long procedure. We are now of the opinion that it will take a rapidly working church a minimum of six months to complete all of the requirements to disaffiliate.
Finally, the California-Pacific Annual Conference must vote on each church’s request to disaffiliate, and all paperwork must be completed and finances placed in escrow before the Annual Conference is able to vote. With the 2023 Annual Conference fast approaching on June 14-17, we write to you to share that Bishop Dottie Escobedo-Frank has agreed to hold a special Annual Conference late this year to exclusively consider disaffiliation for church’s that cannot meet the deadline of June’s session.
In order to meet the anticipated date of the special Annual Conference, congregations that are considering disaffiliation must have written to their district superintendents to begin the process no later than April 15, 2023. (Again, if you are already in process, keep in mind that it will take at least six months to complete from the time you began.)
Once the date for the late-2023 special Annual Conference has been firmed up, we will let you know immediately. Please contact your DS or me if you have any questions.
Your Servants in Christ,
Rev. Joy Price
President, Conference Board of Trustees
Bishop Dottie Escobedo-Frank
Los Angeles Area Resident Bishop
Conference Treasurer and Executive Director of Finance & Administration