I want to stay a United Methodist.
I have been a faithful member of the United Methodist Church since its birth in 1968. I have devoted my efforts and worked hard for the last 15 years to become an elder in full-connection in the United Methodist Church. I want to stay United Methodist. However, if the Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace through Separation is passed at the upcoming 2021 General Conference, the United Methodist Church will no longer stay the same.
I see at least two denominations being created through the Protocol: Post-separation United Methodist Church and a new Methodist Denomination. This breaks my heart because this change will press me to make a choice I would rather not make. Either way, I will not be a member of the United Methodist Church as I have always known her to be. Basically, I am a quiet person. I can just stay quiet and avoid the conflict. It’s human nature to avoid difficult situations and conversations. Can I remain a United Methodist by simply staying quiet and doing nothing?
I Read the Protocol.
Here is how the Protocol defines terms within ¶ 2556:
- Post-separation United Methodist Church shall mean The United Methodist Church after the formation of a New Methodist Denomination under this ¶ 2556.
- Traditionalist Methodist Denomination shall mean a New Methodist Denomination that maintains the current stance of the Book of Discipline regarding the definition of marriage and ordination standards related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer persons.
I learned that “staying” United Methodist is not an option. Each Local Church and the North Alabama Annual Conference must expect sufficient change to occur.
For me, the question is who do I want to represent? Do I want to serve and do ministry as a representative of the Post-separation United Methodist Church or as a representative of the Traditionalist Methodist Denomination?
How I Decide
How I decide to serve and minister is not based on forfeiting my memories. I do not have to give up any of my memories that took place in the United Methodist Church, at Camp Sumatanga, or on an Emmaus Walk.
How I decide to serve and minister is not based on finding and aligning myself with others who think like me. Even in my own house, my husband and I do not always think the same things and think in the same way, but we still work together as one.
How I decide to serve and minister is not based on a logo. The cross and flame logo is only 52 years old. Many of our churches have stood as symbols of Methodism longer without the logo than with it.
How I decide to serve and minister is not based on an appointment system or how well rural ministry, small-membership churches, and women are supported in ministry. I have experience in these areas because I am a female clergy appointed to a small-membership church.
How I decide to serve and minister does not alter my role in serving my community or the world. Any denominational name is not a license to do ministry, nor does that name set limits to how far ministry can reach.
How I decide to serve and minister and who I decide to represent as a Methodist comes down to one thing. I choose to maintain the definition of marriage as I understand it in Scripture and how it is presently stated in the Book of Discipline. Through the Protocol, The United Methodist Church will be creating a pathway for the development of new denominations of Methodism that will allow me to maintain that definition. Since the United Methodist Church is creating this pathway, I am not a defector. I am a loyal Methodist who is choosing a new path that the United Methodist Church will approve through the Protocol. This will allow for me to become a member and serve in a Traditionalist Methodist Denomination while maintaining my understanding of marriage.
Read the Protocol.
I invite every United Methodist to read the Protocol. Investigate all the future denominations thoroughly. The post-separation United Methodist Church will be a future denomination that will adopt a doctrine. The Traditionalist Methodist Denomination will be a future denomination that will adopt a doctrine. Staying United Methodist is not an option because the United Methodist Church, as we currently know her, will no longer exist. Read. Investigate. Pray. As a Methodist, decide who you will represent and how best you can serve and minister in the name of Jesus Christ.
Rev. Cam Price
Pastor, Turning Point United Methodist Church
If you would like to give voice in support of the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church joining the new, traditionally orthodox, Methodist Denomination, you can sign the petition here.
Cam grew up in and currently lives in Palmerdale, Alabama. For over twenty years, Cam was a cabinetmaker and worked in construction until the Lord called her and asked her to “lay down her drill.” Her call was and is to build people in the name of Jesus Christ instead of building things. Cam began full-time ministry as Discipleship Coordinator at Palmerdale United Methodist Church. During her time at Palmerdale, Cam became a local pastor and served as Associate Pastor. While serving as Associate Pastor at Clearbranch, Cam returned to the University of Alabama and finished her degree in Communication. After graduating, she attended Memphis Theological Seminary. She has been serving Turning Point UMC as Lead Pastor since 2013. Cam and Bill have been married and have been doing ministry together for 41 years. Even though they have no children, Cam and Bill enjoy many nieces and nephews and other children they love as their own. Cam still enjoys building things.