Mississippi Conference Trustees 2549 Process for 2024

Questions and Answers from Trustees 2549 Process Webinar,

A: The 2019 Called Session of General Conference created the disaffiliation process and according to paragraph 2553 in The Book of Discipline, that process sunsets December 31, 2023. Due to the fact that only General Conference can extend disaffiliation, the Mississippi Conference Trustees set in place a process to help congregations depart from the time disaffiliation expires on December 31, 2023, until annual conference session 2025 through the provisions of paragraph 2549 in The Book of Discipline.

A: The Mississippi Conference has not shared such information. Disaffiliation paragraph 2553 sunsets December 31, 2023, but the Mississippi Conference Trustees provided another method following paragraph 2549 as explained during the Trustees 2549 Process Webinar.

A: There has been no change in the timeline. This is the disaffiliation process timeline that was released to the conference stating that local church lay leadership had to request an exploration meeting in writing by email or letter to the district superintendent by August 1, 2023. A church has 30 days from their exploration meeting to file their certification to begin the disaffiliation process, so the certification deadline will vary for each individual church based on what day each local church had their exploration meeting. 

A: Basically, they are the same, but disaffiliation is a General Conference adopted paragraph (2553) that expires December 31, 2023, and it does not require a church to close. The Mississippi Conference Trustees will use paragraph 2549 to allow churches who are leaving over human sexuality to close so that the trustees can dispose of the property at their sole discretion and the local church gets their property back through meeting the covenants and other votes, etc. or remain in The United Methodist Church.  If a congregation decides to remain United Methodist after General Conference in May 2024, they will not be required to pay the covenant payments to receive their property back. It is only the congregations that enter the paragraph 2549 process and decide to leave The United Methodist Church that will be required to pay the covenant payments for mission shares and pension liability.

A: Yes, new deadlines for the process will be announced for congregations who decide to leave at the 2025 annual conference session.

If you have more questions, email your district superintendent at your district office, or email David Stotts at dstotts@mississippi-umc.org

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