Monday, June 27, 2022

European Annual Conferences Update

Here is a short run-down on recent developments at European annual conferences related to the future of the UMC in those contexts:

Czechia and Slovakia, May 19-22
At their annual conference meeting, the Czech and Slovak Annual Conference acknowledged that the two parts of the annual conference may be moving in different directions regarding the future of Methodism. The Czech district intends to stay UMC; the Slovak district intends to join the GMC, though they have some outstanding questions they want answered first, "on the employment of pastors, on the adaptation possibilities of the church order or also on the administration of assets in the GMC."

Estonia, June 17-19
The most significant news comes from the Estonia Annual Conference, which voted by 96% to leave The United Methodist Church. It is not immediately clear whether they intend to join the Global Methodist Church or become autonomous, nor is it clear what this decision means for the Lithuania and Latvia districts (neither of which have mentioned the decision on their Facebook pages). The process is envisioned to take a year and be completed at next year's annual conference.

Switzerland, France, and North Africa, June 15-19
The Switzerland/France/North Africa Annual Conference approved (with only four dissenting votes) a resolution to continue working on a plan entitled, "Kaleidoscope – living the mission." The Kaleidoscope proposal would allow the annual conference to remain together despite divergent views on sexuality by acknowledging those differences and allowing congregations and pastors to follow their own consciences. In this regard, it is similar to the plan approved by the German church executive committee. The Kaleidoscope plan has not been finalized; the vote merely approves further work on it.

Norway, June 24-26
The Norway Annual Conference passed a resolution stating that they would stay in the UMC but would develop a means for any congregations wishing to depart to do so by 2025. They also resolved not to make decisions against the Book of Discipline but to continue to work towards a more open and inclusive church and to hold in abeyance complaints against clergy performing same-sex weddings.

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