In this video: Dr. Jimmy Asbell, senior pastor of Vineville UMC in Macon and chair of the Conference Trustees, and Mrs. Cater Thompson, Conference Chancellor, explain what happens when South Georgia's current disaffiliation expires on December 31, 2023.
At the June 2022 Annual Conference session, Conference members approved a report from the Conference Trustees in which a process was affirmed that honors the terms of South Georgia’s current disaffiliation policy through December 31, 2024. (See wording below)
Already voted on and approved by the Trustees, the resolution states, “the Trustees wish to provide a means for local churches desiring to exit the denomination on the terms outlined in ¶2553 after the expiration of ¶2553.”
With the further postponement of General Conference to 2024, the Trustees believe it is important to give South Georgia congregations additional time to pray, discern, and make decisions, said Dr. Jimmy Asbell, chair of the Conference Board of Trustees.
“It was the intent of the Trustees to prevent an unpredictable or unanticipated closing of a window and force a church to make a decision it was otherwise not prepared or not desiring to make,” he said. “We didn’t want time to be the deciding factor but wanted to give congregations time to make informed, prayerful decisions. If us honoring the terms a year longer does that, we think that’s in the best interest of the Conference.
“This action is to reduce the fear or the need to make a decision based on incomplete information,” said Dr. Jimmy Asbell, during the Trustees report.
Wording in the Report of the Trustees
The Trustees affirmed that, after the expiration of the provisions of ¶2553 and the Disaffiliation Policy, and in accordance with the provisions of ¶2549 which vest the Trustees with the power to dispose of property of a closed church their sole discretion, the Trustees will continue to enter into agreements with local churches that desire to exit the Annual Conference on the same terms outlined in ¶2553 and the Disaffiliation Policy. A local church shall have a limited right to exit the denomination pursuant to this resolution which shall be available until the later of any new deadline set by General Conference for disaffiliation or December 31, 2024. Any Disaffiliation Agreement entered into pursuant to this resolution shall require approval by a majority vote of the Annual Conference in accordance with the Annual Conference’s existing Disaffiliation Policy.