Q: Why is our church considering separation from the United Methodist denomination?

A: Due to the ongoing division taking place in the greater denomination of the United Methodist Church, congregations across the U.S. are choosing their own pathways for future affiliation based on their core values and theological beliefs. The history is long and complicated, but ultimately, upholding the traditional, apostolic witness of the Holy Scripture as authoritative in all matters of faith and practice is the central reason why Mt. Horeb is considering leaving the United Methodist Church.

Q: Why is this happening now?

A: Bishop Holston of the SC Annual Conference, has provided the opportunity for each congregation to consider its future affiliation by March 1, 2023, whether that’s remaining in the United Methodist Church, or staying in Wesleyan connection by affiliating with another Methodist denomination.

Q: What will change if Mt. Horeb leaves the UMC?

A: As a 132-year-old standard-bearer of orthodox, Wesleyan theology and one of the largest congregations in Methodism, Mt. Horeb UMC will continue to advance its mission to make, mature and mobilize disciples who magnify Jesus Christ— regardless of denominational affiliation. Mt. Horeb’s clergy team, lay leadership, ministry partners and committed members are working to ensure the ministry and mission of the church advance without delay, interruption or redirection.

Q: What is the process to disaffiliate from the UMC?

A: The SC Annual Conference requires a multi-step process for each church seeking to separate from the

  • The church council votes to pursue separation and then sends a written request to the district superintendent to schedule a church conference.
  • The local church prayerfully enters a 30-day process of discernment and fasting.
  • The following financial obligations must be met 30 days before a separation date:
    • 10% of the appraised value of all church property
    • 10% of liquid assets
    • Unpaid apportionment giving for the prior year and up to the date of the annual conference of the year of closure, plus an additional 12 months of apportionment
    • Any unpaid salary and benefits due to clergy appointed to the church.
    • A proportional share of any unfunded pension obligations.
  • At a church conference meeting, the support of two-thirds of professing church members present and voting is required to formally declare that the church can no longer function as a
    United Methodist Church.

    • This vote must take place by March 1.
    • The Annual Conference must vote on a resolution to close the local church and transfer its assets to a new entity. A simple majority vote in favor of the resolution is the final step before the local church separates from The United Methodist Church, maintaining its property.

Q: When will the change be official?

A: The SC Annual Conference will be held the first week of June 2023 and will vote on releasing congregations that have completed the necessary steps and settled all financial and legal obligations.

Q: Will Mt. Horeb United Methodist Church affiliate with another denomination?

A: Mt. Horeb UMC seeks to advance its connectional Wesleyan heritage; however, it’s too soon to determine a specific affiliation pathway for the future. Among the options for possible future affiliation are 1) The Global Methodist Church, 2) the Free Methodist Church or 3) another Methodist affiliation. The clergy team and lay leadership will be studying the best path forward.

Q: How will this affect my church membership?

A: Your vows of membership are honored regardless of denominational affiliation. Your membership is recorded in our local church database, and that status will not change as a result of any separation or affiliation activity. If you wish to remain United Methodist, you will have the opportunity to do so.

Q: Will we change our church name?

A: Mt. Horeb Church will retain its name as it is written here; no further changes are required or anticipated regardless of any future affiliation.

Q: Can I cast an absentee vote if I am not available the day of the vote?

A: Per the guidelines Mt. Horeb was given, each member has to be present to vote on the day of the vote.




Q: Where do our pastors stand on this issue? Do they support leaving the denomination?

A: Mt. Horeb UMC clergy team joins the greater congregation in the current period of discernment; they support taking a vote to separate from the United Methodist Church.

Q: How will our staff be impacted by a transition away from the UMC?

A: Mt. Horeb UMC’s clergy team would continue to serve as licensed local pastors, ordained elders, and deacons in the UMC until the church’s separation becomes final by a vote of the SC Annual Conference. After that time, they will seek licensing and credentials from either a new denomination or an independent licensing organization.

Non-clergy staff will not be impacted.




Q: What is the financial impact of this transition for our church?

A: The financial obligations associated with separation in the SC Annual Conference are as follows: 1)10% of the appraised property value of all church property, 2) 10 % liquid assets, 3) any unpaid apportionments along with 12 months of additional apportionments, and 4) a proportional amount of unfunded pension liability. We have been given a total number of 2.762 million. These costs are available within the current cash reserves of Mt. Horeb.

Q: Will the church retain our buildings and property?

A: Completing the separation process from the United Methodist Church ensures Mt. Horeb Church will leave the denomination with full ownership of its properties, buildings, and other material assets.

Q: What is the trust clause and how does that affect our church?

A: The trust clause is a historic, universal claim made by the UMC and written into the church’s articles of incorporation, to retain ownership rights of local church properties. Mt. Horeb UMC will be automatically released from this claim upon a final vote for separation by the SC Annual Conference.

Q: What is the legal risk of leaving the denomination?

A: There is no risk or liability associated with separation by following the prescribed steps for completing the process. The risk of litigation increases in cases where churches take steps to separate outside the prescribed process.




Q: Isn’t the division in the UMC about accepting LGBTQIA+ people in the church? I’ve seen it in the news

A: News media coverage often highlights UMC clergy and/or congregations that either advocate for or stand against the full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ persons as clergy and as couples married in the church. At Mt. Horeb, discernment and affiliation decisions are focused on the primary matters of scriptural authority regarding marriage and human sexuality. We believe in celibacy in singleness and fidelity in marriage, with marriage being defined between a man and a woman. Mt. Horeb relies on the Scriptures and what orthodox Christians have always believed about God to guide all matters of human relations, including sexual ethics. Regarding this specific topic, Mt. Horeb UMC relies on scriptures to guide all matters of human relations,
including sexual ethics.

Q: What is our stance on LGBTQIA+ clergy and marriage?

A: The UMC Book of Discipline has been the same on this matter since 1972, and yet it is disregarded by progressive clergy and congregations across the denomination with no accountability or enforcement. Paragraph 304.3 of the UMC Book of Discipline says, “The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore, self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.”

Please note that the Book of Discipline says practice, not the person. All persons will continue to be welcome and Mt. Horeb. All of us are sinners who need God’s grace. Mt. Horeb UMC has always followed the authority of scripture and the Book of Discipline regarding marriage and sexual practices outside of marriage. (Gen. 2:24, Matt. 19:4-5), (Rom. 1:26-27, Lev. 18:22)

Q: Are LGBTQIA+ persons welcome at our church?

A: Mt. Horeb UMC views all people as individuals of sacred worth. Therefore, LGTBQIA+ persons are invited to participate in worship as lay congregants, or in ministry programs as lay participants. We extend welcome, grace, and respect to all who call Mt. Horeb UMC their church home.

Q: What does the Bible say about sexual sin?

A: Scriptures require us to live in pursuit of holiness with our human bodies, because of the sacrifice Jesus made for us in reconciling us to God. For this reason, scripture instructs us to flee from sexual sin (1 Cor. 6:9-11, 12-18; Eph. 5:3). These scriptural principles apply to all, including heterosexuals who profess to be Christ’s followers.

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