Looking for information about the split in the United Methodist Church?

This page is intended to be a resource for members of Thomasville FUMC who are looking for information about the turmoil taking place in the United Methodist Church. Thomasville FUMC has not voted to disaffiliate from the UMC, but is asking all members to get educated on the issues for the possibility that TFUMC will vote on the issue of disaffiliation. This page seeks to provide information in an unbiased manner, though many of the resources provided are biased. This page will be edited frequently as the situation develops and more resources become available! Please note: The issues facing our denomination are myriad. This page is not meant to “boil down” our differences into two groups. (For example one might argue that a third group called “Centrists” represents the feeling of a lot of Methodists.)

Our Process of Discernment

While there are no guidelines for how to move through this discernment process, we believe that the initial goal should be that every church member understand the deep divide taking place in the UMC. In addition to this page on our website, we are having at least two town hall meetings that will feature outside guest speakers who will present differing viewpoints. We strongly encourage you to attend these meetings and be involved in the discernment process. 

Sunday, August 28, 2022 at 5:00pm in the Fellowship Building Town Hall w/ Rev. Jay Hanson. Rev. Hanson serves The Chapel in Brunswick, GA. The Chapel is one of the 62 UM churches who disaffiliated at the Called South Georgia Annual Conference on August 20. Rev. Hanson will be sharing about The Chapel’s journey, as well as his personal journey to becoming an Elder in the Global Methodist Church. You can watch Town Hall #1 HERE.

Sunday, September 11, 2022 at 6:00pm in the Fellowship Building Town Hall w/ Rev. Dr. Ben Gosden. Rev. Gosden serves Trinity Church in Savannah, GA. Trinity Church is a UM church that leans Progressive. We’ve asked Rev. Gosden to visit Thomasville and present a Progressive point of view. You can watch Town Hall #2 HERE.

Other Important Dates: 

Saturday, August 20 – A Called Annual Conference approved the disaffiliation of 62 churches in our Conference. Thomasville FUMC is NOT one of these churches. These 62 churches have already voted in a 2/3 majority to disaffiliate from the UMC, and this meeting of the Annual Conference finalized that decision. You can read more about this meeting on the Conference website www.sgaumc.org. 

Sunday, September 18 – Southwest District Gathering w/ Bishop Graves. 4pm-6pm at Tifton First UMC. This will be an opportunity to hear Bishop Graves’ thoughts on the future of our Conference. 

Thursday, October 6 – Our District Superintendent, Rev. Doreen Smalls will be visiting TFUMC and hosting a congregational Q&A regarding disaffiliation. This meeting will be at 6pm in the Fellowship Building. You can watch Congregational Q&A HERE.

TFUMC’s discernment process included a survey to the church membership. 
What’s the Next Step?

Tuesday, October 18, 2022  – in a vote of 14-4 the Administrative Council decided to call for a congregational vote to decide whether our church will disaffiliate/depart from the United Methodist Church.

Sunday, January 22, 2023 at 1:00pm – The date our District Superintendent, Rev. Doreen Smalls, scheduled a Called Church Conference for the purpose of having a church-wide vote on the issue of disaffiliation.

Additional points:

The District Superintendent will preside over the Called Church Conference.
Only professing members of Thomasville First United Methodist Church will have a vote.
By the rules set forth by the General Conference, there will be no proxy voting at the Called Church Conference. Only members physically present at the Church Conference will get to vote.

An overview of the conflict.

Rev. Daniel Hixon, the pastor at St. Francisville UMC in St. Francisville, LA, gives a good overview of the situation facing the current UMC and how we got to this point.

An argument for staying in the UMC.

Rev. Adam Hamilton is the pastor of Church of the Resurrection, a large United Methodist Church in Leawood, KS. In the video above he talks about why he wants to remain in the UMC.

An FAQ Video with Bishop Graves of the South Georgia Annual Conference

Learn About Disaffiliation

Use the links to the left to visit webpages created by the South Georgia Conference that talk about the process of disaffiliation from the UMC. This should be a primary resource for answering questions about how disaffiliation would take place.  Additionally, there are links to FAQ’s.

FYI – The cost of disaffiliation (leaving the UMC but keeping TFUMC property) is not a static figure. As stated in the policy of our Conference, the cost of disaffiliation is 1 year’s apportionments (if paid up and current) + our share of pension liability + $1500.00 in legal fees paid to the Conference to cover legal fees for having deeds changed and other legal necessities.  The pension liability portion of the equation is a volatile number. The equation used to calculate our pension liability has some variables like market values and number of retirees, that change regularly. As of March 2022, TFUMC’s cost of disaffiliation was about $270,000.00. 

Here is the breakdown:
$107,598.00 = 1 year’s apportionments based on 2022 rate.
$159,262.82 = pension liability – calculated in March of 2022
$1500.00 = legal fees

An Appeal to Wait

Is the UMC Really…?

A UMC website created to “help clear up some common misperceptions or misinformation around disaffiliation”.

The Disaffiliation Journey of Trinity on the Hill in Augusta, GA

This church has provided a very comprehensive webpage documenting their discernment/disaffiliation journey. They have provided a lot of resources including full recordings of their “Town Hall” meetings. Though some of these videos can be quite long, they are very informative. Though this church is in a different Conference, and much further along in their process, they are a very similar church to ours.