This past Tuesday, the Council of our church held a called session and invited all church members to attend. The meeting communicated information on the state of the United Methodist Church and to discuss the possibility of Chapel Hill entering a period of discernment for our church to consider our options. After much discussion, good questions and comments, and a presentation on the process, the Council voted 10 – 7 in favor of beginning the discernment period. This time of discernment will last for two or three months, and will involve an elected team of active members who will gather and share information, listen to the congregation, and discern with much prayer whether to recommend to the Council that a vote be made regarding disaffiliation from the United Methodist Church. This process will be facilitated by a “coach” from the Conference Offices who has been trained to lead a church through this step.
This is not a process to disaffiliate. It is simply a time to listen, learn, and gather information on what the team and Council thinks is best for Chapel Hill. Should the team recommend that, after their research, listening, and gathering of information, a vote to disaffiliate is not needed, the Council will not recommend a vote at that time. If the team discerns a vote is needed, all members of the church will be notified and encouraged to attend the voting session at which they may vote. The vote to disaffiliate must be at least 66% of those attending and voting.
Please keep our church, the discernment team, our pastors, and staff in your prayers as we work through these steps. We ask that you pray for wisdom, patience, and support. We also ask that members of the church be patient with the process and know that you will be kept informed during the discernment period. Rest assured, all members will be given the opportunity to vote should the Council call for it.
Printed materials are available upon request or can be found at the Welcome Center in the narthex of the church.
Thank you to those who attended Tuesday’s meeting, to Dr. Sam Powers for helping me organize the meeting and share information, and to Rich Rudebock for presiding.
Dr. Dyton L. Owen
Sr. Pastor, Chapel Hill UMC