Disaffiliation

United Methodists throughout the world are bound together in a connectional covenant in which we support and hold each other accountable for faithful discipleship and the mission of Jesus Christ. UMC congregations are not an independent church. Local church congregations and property are connected for the benefit of the denomination, each church, and the ministry and mission of all in the AWFUMC Conference and throughout the world. Disaffiliation means separating from the Alabama-West Florida Conference and the entire UMC.

The 2019 Special Session of the General Conference of the UMC adopted paragraph ¶2553 in the Book of Discipline: "Disaffiliation of a Local Church Over Issues Related to Human Sexuality." Because of the current deep conflict within the UMC around issues of human sexuality, a local church shall have a limited right, under the provisions of this paragraph, to disaffiliate from the denomination for reasons of conscience regarding a change in the requirements and provisions of the Book of Discipline related to the practice of homosexuality or the ordination or marriage of self-avowed practicing homosexuals as resolved and adopted by the 2019 General Conference, or the actions or inactions of its annual conference related to these issues.

Information about disaffiliation for local churches and withdrawal for clergy can be found below.  As more information becomes available, we will keep this page updated with the most accurate and current information. 

C H U R C H    D I S A F F I L I A T I O N S

Disaffiliation Process Milestones (for complete information click on "full disaffiliation process document" after Step 8).

Step 1

The figures that will be used for May 2023 disaffiliations should be available by end of January or early February.  Once the actuarial updates are available, then local churches may access disaffiliation figures for use in the May 2023 Special Called Annual Conference by going to their church dashboard. The same process for logging in that is used to access charge conference forms is used to access this information. Click “church info” in the left hand navigation panel. Disaffiliation figures including pension liability, post-retirement medical, and two years of apportionments are listed above the total figure needed for disaffiliation. For further questions about how to access figures on the church dashboard, please contact your district administrator.

www.awfumc.org/dashboard

Step 2
Pastor contacts their district superintendent (DS) to schedule a "Town Hall" meeting. This meeting is to address questions the entire congregation may have about disaffiliation or the process involved. No vote is taken at a Town Hall meeting.

Step 3
If disaffiliation is the discerned path, an impact of disaffiliation assessment can be conducted to determine any missional, economic, and ministry impact on the community as a result of a church's disaffiliation.

Step 4
After a time of prayerful discernment, and with proper notification to church members that is a minimum of 10 days including 2 Sundays, the local church may schedule, in coordination with the DS, a Church Conference . The district superintendent presides. A vote to disaffiliate can only be approved under the stipulations set forth in paragraph 2553 and the resolution must be passed by a 2/3 vote of the membership present at the conference. No write-in ballots are allowed. Required documentation must be provided to the DS. Refer to the below disaffiliation process document. 

Step 5
The district superintendent presents a vote to disaffiliate to the bishop's cabinet and requests approval to close the disaffiliating church.  The cabinet formulates and approves a recommendation for disaffiliation.

Step 6
A report of the cabinet vote and recommendation are presented to the Conference Board of Trustees.

Step 7
If disaffiliation passes in step 4, the church will need to provide the following information to the conference treasurer, Suzanne Jones:
    - a copy of the church deed,
    - name of the person who will be her point of contact for the church,
    - names of two persons who will be final signees on the disaffiliation contract to be signed prior to a regular or called Annual                        Conference,
    - name of new church,
Suzanne Jones may be reached at suzanne@awfumc.org or calling 334-356-1034.

Step 8
Final approval must be ratified by a vote of a Called Annual Conference on May 7, 2023. 

Full Disaffiliation Process Document

Frequently asked questions about church disaffiliations

The Disaffiliation Agreement
The disaffiliation agreement is signed by two officers of the local church. It may be signed by a local church attorney if desired. The local church signs the agreement prior to the Annual Conference. If the Annual Conference approves the disaffiliation, the conference treasurer and chancellors will sign and provide copies to the local church.
Disaffiliation Agreement Pursuant to Paragraph 2553

Documents to be provided to the Alabama-West Florida Conference
Three documents are provided to the Annual Conference two weeks prior to the Annual Conference vote.  They are the partially executed disaffiliation agreement, the certified minutes from the local church vote and the local church resolution to disaffiliate, signed by a church officer. Click to the below links to access the documents. 
Partially Executed Disaffiliation Agreement Pursuant to Paragraph 2553 (for disaffiliations occurring in November 2022)
Partially Executed Disaffiliation Agreement Pursuant to Paragraph 2553 (for disaffiliations occurring in 2023)
Church Conference Minutes, Appendix B
Church Conference Resolution, Appendix C
Church Vote Ballot, Appendix D

C L E R G Y    W I T H D R A W A L

Forms
The below forms are necessary for clergy to withdraw from the UMC. Please note there is one withdrawal form for local pastors and another for ordained clergy as they use two different disciplinary paragraphs. If you need information shared with another denomination, please fill out the permission to release information form and send it to Rev. Jenni Hendrix at jenni@awfumc.org. If you cannot find your ordination or membership certificate, please fill out the substitute form and return it to your DS and conference secretary. Click here to read a letter from Rev. Jenni Hendrix, director of ministerial services

Please note that if you are leaving with your church and for some reason your church disaffiliation date changes, we will work with you to make sure that your withdrawal date coincides with the actual disaffiliation date of your church.

Notification of Intent to Withdraw from Ordained Ministerial Office 

Notification of Intent to Discontinue as a United Methodist Local Pastor

Permission to Release Information to Another Denomination

Substitute Annual Conference Membership Form

Substitute Ordination Certificate Form

Click here to learn more about changing your charge conference


Health Benefits

Pension & Benefits Information (including church disaffiliation related to pensions)
    - For active clergy, health, vision and dental benefits terminate on the last day of the month of disaffiliation.
    - For retired clergy who have previously met the requirements for the PostRetirement Medical plan (MedSupp) may remain             on the plan.
    - All health benefits are subject to change annually

Impact on benefits chart from Wespath

FAQs for Clergy Credentials when seeking to Withdraw or Discontinue