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. 

The content of this page is divided into two sections. The top half of the page briefly highlights the process TFUMC has followed in its disaffiliation journey. The bottom half provides resources for people who are investigating the issues that are leading many UMC’s to disaffiliate.

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.)


After counting the votes at the Called Church Conference held on Sunday, January 22, 2023, District Superintendent Rev. Doreen Smalls announced that in a vote by 390 members of this church, 77.7% were in favor of disaffiliating from the United Methodist Church. This surpasses the 2/3 majority required by ¶2553 of the UM Book of Discipline.

The results were as follows:

303 voted in favor of disaffiliation.

87 voted against disaffiliation.

More information regarding the next steps for our church will be communicated in the coming days.

Our Process of Discernment and Disaffiliation

While there are no guidelines for how to move through a discernment process, church leaders began the process with the primary goal that this church be able to move past the divisive issues facing the UMC by making a decision on whether or not to disaffiliate. While some churches are choosing to have a small group of leaders go through the process and make a recommendation to the greater church body, TFUMC’s leaders believed the whole church body should go through the process together. Here is a brief overview of the process TFUMC has gone through:

June 24, 2022 – Lay Leadership submitted an email to District Superintendent Rev. Doreen Smalls, expressing the desire that TFUMC begin a process of discernment over the issue of disaffiliation.

July 3, 2022 – The Weekly Bulletin highlighted the division in the UMC, expressed that Rev. Doreen Smalls had been contacted, encouraged the church membership to take actions to begin to educate themselves, and to begin to pray over the issue at hand.

Sunday, August 28, 2022 – 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, 2022. 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 – 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.

September 14, 2022 – A survey designed to gauge our congregation’s views on the ordination of “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” and whether UM Clergy should person same-sex weddings, was mailed to every church member. See survey and results.

Sunday, September 18, 2022 – Southwest District Gathering w/ Bishop Graves. 4pm-6pm at Tifton First UMC. This was an opportunity to hear Bishop Graves’ thoughts on the future of our Conference.

October 6, 2022 – Our District Superintendent, Rev. Doreen Smalls visited TFUMC to host a congregational Q&A regarding disaffiliation. You can watch Congregational Q&A HERE.

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..

October 28, 2022 – Church publications (digital & print) began including church disaffiliation vote date.

January 4, 2023 – Letter mailed to church members informing them of the Called Church Conference scheduled for January 22, 2023. Read the letter.

January 22, 2023 – Called Church Conference – In a vote by 390 members of this church, 77.7% were in favor of disaffiliating from the United Methodist Church. This surpasses the 2/3 majority required by ¶2553 of the UM Book of Discipline.

The results were as follows:

303 voted in favor of disaffiliation.

87 voted against disaffiliation.

January 24, 2023 – Administrative Council tasked the Nominations Committee with putting together a small team of people to pray, research, and report back to the Administrative Council their findings regarding potential future denominational affiliation.

May 21, 2023 – Called Annual Conference during which disaffiliation requests should be ratified.

What’s the Next Step?

January 25, 2023 – The Nominations Committee has been tasked with putting together a small group of church members to pray over and research this church’s options for a possible affiliation with another Methodist denomination. This group will then bring its findings back to the Administrative Council.

The Finance Committee is beginning an effort to raise funds to cover the cost of disaffiliation, which is currently about $220,000.00. Of course there will be other costs to consider such as new signage, hymnals, and legal services. You can contribute to this effort by clicking here and selecting “Disaffiliation Fund”.

May 21, 2023 – The date of the Called Annual Conference during which disaffiliation requests should be ratified.

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.