With Eye to United Methodist Departure, Liberal Bishop Forms “Guiding Coalition”

Juicy Ecumenism | 10/17/2019 | Jeffrey Walton
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More liberal United Methodists in the Western Jurisdiction are inching closer to separation from the denomination after a bishop announced the formation of a guiding coalition to “shape and lead a new movement of Methodism in the Northwest that fully includes LGBTQIA+ persons.”

Bishop Elaine Stanovsky of the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area made the October 8 announcement that the coalition would be tasked to “develop proposals for United Methodists across the Greater Northwest to move into a future of vital, inclusive, innovative, multiplying, engaged Christian ministry in the Wesleyan Tradition.”

Coalition - Response - Conversations - February - Legislation

“We are forming this Guiding Coalition in response to many conversations since last February, and to legislation passed at the annual conference sessions earlier this year,” Stanovsky shared, obliquely referencing the 2019 specially called General Conference that adopted a modified version of the Traditional Plan. The plan made no fundamental changes to United Methodist ordination requirements or moral standards, but strengthened accountability requirements for clergy who operate in conflict with the United Methodist Church’s existing Book of Discipline. These new accountability measures take effect beginning January 1.

The move comes as some annual conferences in the Western Jurisdiction have pulled back their level of apportionment giving. At least eleven progressive congregations across the United States have taken initial steps toward disaffiliation from the United Methodist Church. Officials in the Mountain Sky Area, led by contested Bishop Karen Oliveto, have already stated their intention to depart the denomination if the 2020 General Conference does not produce a result favorable to them. Preparations for such a departure are already underway.


“The coming months may require...
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