Update on KUMC Lawsuit 5/20/2023
In the latest meeting with the NCLL Lawyers, the North Georgia Conference has agreed to comply with the Court Order and not file an appeal. The timeline for KUMC to vote has been set at July 2 at 7 pm. It is important that all church members be present at this Church Conference as only those in attendance will be allowed to vote. Please put this date on your calendar and plan to be here to vote on whether or not you want KUMC to disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church. We are trying to schedule at least one more Town Hall Meeting to deliver information to anyone who has not yet been able to attend one of the previous meetings.
There will be a specially called conference in Athens on November 18, 2023, for the North Georgia Conference to vote on the 185 who vote to disaffiliate.
Added May 19, 2023
Update on the KUMC Joint Lawsuit:
As you should know, KUMC Council voted on March 12, 2023, to join approximately 185 other United Methodist Churches in a lawsuit against the North Georgia Conference for their arbitrary “pause” in all conference churches’ ability to vote on whether or not they wished to disaffiliate from the UMC. The decision to join the lawsuit was made because our Council felt that KUMC should be allowed to vote and decide for themselves on this issue. (As did the other churches in the lawsuit.) On Tuesday, May 16, 2023, the case was heard in the Superior Court of Cobb County by Judge J. Stephen Schuster. Many of you may have already read news of this in the Marietta Journal and the Atlanta Journal. The Council wanted to inform you as soon as we had information on how to proceed. The lawyers had asked that we not take action until they had finalized the order and the judge has signed it.
The judge ruled that the churches should be allowed to vote. Our lawyers, Dan Parr and David Gibbs, held an informational meeting today at 3:30 p.m. to explain all the judgements and ramifications of the judgements for our churches. Below is the information that we received today.
David Gibbs praised God and said that the ruling gave us a lot to be thankful for. He praised all who attended the court hearing and said everyone displayed Jesus’ goodness! What was determined: The judge ordered the North Georgia Conference to allow the vote on disaffiliation to the churches involved in the lawsuit. The first step is for the District Superintendent to notify Reverend Stroud or a Council representative telling us the date for the vote. Time is of the essence and it should be done prior to June 1. If the District does as ordered, we will then have a church-wide vote on whether or not we wish to disaffiliate. For the disaffiliation to be approved we must have a 2/3 majority of all church members present and voting.
Because the District said they would appeal, this may not happen. If not, we do not need to do anything. Our lawyers will seek relief from the court as our representatives. They assured us that if nothing happens before Monday, May 22, 2023, they will begin the legal processes necessary.
The actual order is now a public record and can be provided to anyone who would like to see it. There is also more detailed information available. If you have questions please contact me, Dr. Ann Baker, or Michael Lumpkin.
Added March 1, 2023
Update on Response to Request Church Conference Vote on Disaffiliation:
In regard to the letter sent to the District Superintendent asking for a called Church Conference (all members of the church) vote, a reply was received that “…during this season of pause, [December 28, 2022 announcement of a pause in the paragraph 2553 disaffiliation process.] the appointive cabinet will not hold any church conferences for the purposes of disaffiliation.” KUMC Council began a discussion about whether or not to join other North Georgia Conference Churches in a joint lawsuit regarding this issue. The decision was made to study this option further.
Added December 30, 2022
Sisters and Brothers,
On December 28, an email announcement from Bishop Haupert-Johnson and the district superintendents of the North Georgia Annual Conference was sent throughout the conference. This informed us that all local church disaffiliation processes are “paused” until, at the earliest, the conclusion of the 2024 General Conference.
Your church council made the decision earlier this month that, in January, it would request a disaffiliation vote when the conference process allowed for the requests to be placed. The council reached this decision with a desire that every member of KUMC be allowed to voice their opinion and cast their vote.
The statement indicated that the reason for pausing the process is that “the cabinet has discovered and observed that many local churches have been misled about the disaffiliation process and have been presented with information about the process, and about The United Methodist Church and its leadership, that is factually incorrect and defamatory.” For us at KUMC, nothing could be further from the truth. Your leaders, pastors, and staff have endeavored to act with the utmost integrity throughout the process and have worked diligently to dispel any unsubstantiated claims, rumors, or falsehoods.
While we, like many of you, are disappointed with this news, we will be exploring KUMC’s options in the coming days and will keep you informed. Some of you indicated that you were unlikely to remain at KUMC if the church did not disaffiliate. We hope and pray that you will continue to be active in ministry and worship at KUMC. It is still your church home. It is a place where you have encountered and befriended Jesus. It is the home where you found a family that loves and supports you. It is a community where you have served together to bring hope and change to Kennesaw and the world for over 145 years. Please consider all these things when determining your future with KUMC.
On January 8th, we will worship together just as we have. We will pray for our 2023 leadership team, celebrate Holy Communion together, and witness the baptism of one of our students. We hope that you will join us.
~Rev. Alex Stroud, Ann Baker, and Todd Moore
Sisters and Brothers,
As you know by now, a Disaffiliation Task Force was formed in May of this year with the purpose of studying the process, benefits, and implications of your church disaffiliating from the United Methodist Church. The team has held listening sessions that were open to everyone, with the purpose of presenting the history of KUMC and the UMC, the options for disaffiliation, and the possible differences between remaining in the UMC and becoming an independent church. Many of you asked great questions and offered your feedback.
On Sunday, October 9, that task force reported to the church council and believes we had good attendance at these sessions and has advised the council to request a vote for disaffiliation so that you, as members of KUMC, can officially give your input on the future of the church.
To disaffiliate, our congregation has the burden of achieving a 2/3 vote of the members that are present for a called church conference in 2023. The task force reported uncertainty about how our congregation would vote, having heard opinions from many different perspectives. We are not permitted to take any straw polls but would like to seek more information before the church council makes a decision on December 4, so there are two things we are asking from you.
The survey we had asked for you to participate in has ended and our council will be looking over the results and make a more informed decision on how we need to proceed moving forward. Thank you to all who participated, we appreciate your input.
Please pray for your church leaders. On December 3-4, we will be holding a prayer vigil for the church council as well as for our congregation as a whole. Join us in praying for discernment, wisdom, peace, and unity as we seek the will of God in these matters and many others.
As always, I’m praying for you and my door is always open should you have any questions, concerns, or requests.
Grace & Peace,
Prayer Vigil Link: https://app.planhero.com/gatherings/16359-church-council-prayer-vigil