What WILL change if we leave the UMC?
• We will need to remove “United Methodist” from our name.
• We will need to remove the cross and flame logo from our signage and buildings.
• Our budget - we will have approximately $130,000 to invest in our local ministries (apportionment money we pay to the UMC now).
• Our association with Methodist Men/Women will end, and these ministries will continue here at Timberlake as before but without that name. • The Bishop will not pick our pastors. Our membership and lay leaders will do this (like congregational churches do).
What will NOT change if we leave the UMC?
• Our hymnals
• Our worship services and order of worship
• Our location (we keep all of our property and assets)
• Timberlake’s theology, culture, mission, ministries, love of Jesus and our neighbors
• Much of our governance will likely remain the same. Our members and lay leaders will determine if there will be changes.
Why now? What’s changed?
We have been monitoring the deteriorating unity and quality of the UMC for some time. We were hopeful that corrections and solutions would be instituted. Instead, our Bishops and General Conference have only worsened the situation by refusing to address critical issues and problems, which have only intensified/exacerbated the growing divide. The Virginia Annual Conference has recently agreed to follow a specific process for churches wishing to disaffiliate, with a deadline of December 31, 2023.
What will the community be told if we leave the UMC?
If TImberlake were to disaffiliate with the United Methodist Church, our message to the community is the mission and ministries of Timberlake will not end. In fact, we anticipate growth and expansion of our ministries and impact in reaching, feeding, and releasing people to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We are excited about our future.
What about our gay and lesbian members and friends – are they still welcome here?
Of course! Timberlake loves all people regardless of race, sexual orientation, or nationality. We are all children of God, sharing God’s love with all.
As a United Methodist Church, we historically have been governed by the UMC Book of Discipline. If we disaffiliate, what will be our governing document and church governance?
If Timberlake members vote to disaffiliate, the Church Council (or its designees) will work with an attorney to draft scriptural church bylaws detailing how our church will be governed. Timberlake members will vote on the bylaw document. The document will explain our governance (what committees/councils within the church will make which decisions, when and how elections will take place, and all other requirements for Timberlake to function.
Why will we not immediately join another denomination if we vote to disaffiliate?
• It will take time to study various denominations – Wesleyan, Global Methodist Church, Nazarene, and Free Methodist, to name a few.
• Timberlake does not “have to” join another denomination. We may choose to be independent (congregational) or associate with other like-minded churches.
What is the discernment process, and what are the details of how we disaffiliate?
• The Virginia Board and Bishop have specific rules and procedures we must follow, in addition to things Timberlake chooses to include in the process. •
Timberlake’s process is:
1. A steering committee studied the UMC issues and options. Timberlake Church Council reviewed committee recommendations and reached a
consensus to proceed with a congregational discernment process and potential vote.
2. Town hall meetings – congregational
3. Information meeting with District Superintendent Rev. Denise Bates – July 25 (required)
4. 30-day minimum time of discernment and prayer (required). To include meetings with Lifegroups, ministry teams, and individuals that have
questions or want to talk. We will also have a day of guided prayer.
5. A “Straw Poll” (required) of church members. To determine if there is a simple majority to call for a church vote.
6. Church vote – approx. September. (required – church members only and must be present to vote. A vote to disaffiliate requires a 2/3
7. Paperwork and legal matters (application deadline for Special Annual Conference is September 29).
8. New church name (must remove “United Methodist”). New incorporation and tax id.
9. Vote by Annual Conference (October 30).
10. Closing on real estate, disaffiliation official (within 30-days after Conference vote on October 30) estimate last week of November 2022.
1. Timberlake may keep our real estate and assets without penalty or purchase.
2. We must pay one year’s additional apportionment (approximately $130,000). This is not an additional cost, as we pay this annually as part of
3. We must pay our portion of the Annual Conference unfunded pension liability. This is the pension for all pastors that retired before 1982.
4. We must pay all legal fees, real estate transfer fees, and taxes.