Page 2 - New Project 1

"Centenary United Methodist Church"
3 W Washington St
Bath, NY
Pastor - Leanne Zeck
Phone - 607-776-3434
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Page 2

Pastor’s Letter

Many say the Christian Church overall is in a liminal space (a place of transition or the initial stage of change). The UMC definitely is occupying liminal space right now. The tension and angst that has been present in the denominational and annual conference meetings is starting to trickle down to local churches, including us.

I know there are questions that many have as well as a whole lot of misinformation and fear that is starting to spread, so I thought I would address some of the questions.

The United Methodist Church is not splitting. There are churches disaffiliating from the UMC to either join another or new denomination or to be independent. The United Methodist Church will continue as the United Methodist Church. Churches do not need to vote to remain UMC.

There are some who are saying there will be major changes to the Discipline in 2024. The Book of Discipline is how we United Methodists agree to live together. The Discipline has various sections.  Most are saying the changes will come in the sections about human sexuality. If you have ever attended an annual conference, you might realize that making changes is not a Methodist strong suit. There are no guarantees any resolution or changes will be made at any of our conferences.  No one can say for certain what will happen.

And still there are rumors going around there will be changes around the basic beliefs of our faith, such as the Divinity of Jesus and the Trinity. Our history and statement of faith or, as we call it, our Articles of Religion, can be found in the beginning section of the Book of Discipline. We hold these doctrines as sacred and have set from the very inception of our denomination, safeguards to our articles of religion. These will not change. We will continue to believe that Jesus is God in flesh and in the Trinity. There is no movement within the church to change our beliefs (articles of religion).  As Methodists, we have a big tent and in this big tent—we have people who understand our articles of religion along a spectrum. But that doesn’t mean we are changing our doctrines. Please know, I would be the first one out the door if we were changing our Articles of Religion. I am including the Articles of Religion in this newsletter so you can see what we believe as United Methodists.

Another rumor that seems to be going around is two-fold: people are saying pastors are going to be forced to preside at same sex weddings, and secondly, churches are going to be forced to receive pastors with a different theological perspective. First—I cannot be forced to preside over any wedding. I can refuse to do any wedding no matter what. Secondly, Bishop Burgos has stated that he is working with the Cabinet to match churches with pastors who are part of the same theological stance.

I know some people are going online and finding information on Face Book and websites. The only websites that gives you official United Methodist information will be The United Methodist Church— For our Annual Conference, the only official information will come from You may find individual church websites with information—but no single local church speaks for the conference or the denomination.

If you have any questions, please contact me so we can discuss them and find the best information possible.

Thank you,

Pastor Leanne
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