Below you will find information that explains the three major plans that are before the General Conference. This chart is a summary of recommendations in the Commission on a Way Forward’s report to the special 2019 General Conference.  For more information, read the entire report of the Commission which can be accessed HERE.

One Church Plan

Affirms sexual relations only within the covenant of monogamous marriage between two adults (thereby permitting homosexual marriage)

Declares we are not of one mind regarding human sexuality and permits persons in the church to interpret and decide issues of human sexuality differently

Permits pastors to bless monogamous homosexual marriages anywhere secular law permits such marriages

Removes restrictive language from the Book of Discipline that prohibits same-gender weddings at UMC properties and ordination of “self-avowed practicing homosexuals”

Does not require churches or conferences to accept such practices and contains language to protect consciences of pastors and congregations

Connectional Conference Plan

Replaces current five U.S. jurisdictional conferences with three connectional conferences based on affinity on issues related to the definition of marriage and ordination standards – Progressive, Unity, and Traditional

All three would use a general Book of Discipline (Articles of Religion, General Rules, Confession of Faith) with the ability to adapt other portions to their context of ministry

Provides space for different practices and beliefs by the different connectional conferences

Central conferences could choose to be own connectional conference or join a U.S. one

Requires numerous Constitutional Amendments

“Modified” Traditional Plan

Retains the church’s current position on the practice of homosexuality, enhances accountability, and provides a gracious exit path for annual conferences, local churches, and clergy who cannot abide by the requirements of the Book of Discipline into a new self-governing Methodist church

This plan will be adjusted to adhere to Judicial Council Decision 1366

One Church Plan

Could be assigned practicing homosexual clergy or pastors who would perform same-sex weddings, and would not be able to refuse the appointment

Relies on bishops to be sensitive as to the desires of local churches

May write policies explicitly allowing or forbidding same-sex weddings on church property (requires local church vote)

Creates a patchwork of different practices across the UMC

No gracious exit provisions

Connectional Conference Plan

Can choose affiliation with any of the three connectional conferences regardless of their annual conference’s choice.  Thus congregation may have to vote on where to align if disagrees with annual conference choice

Clergy appointment only within the chosen connectional conference

Abide by wedding policies set by their connectional conference

Ordination standards determined by the chosen connectional conference

“Modified” Traditional Plan

No vote unless local church disagrees with annual conference decision to stay or leave UMC

If annual conference votes to leave, church may vote to stay.

If annual conference votes to stay, church may vote to leave with property and join another annual conference which is leaving

Churches which elect to stay when their annual conference is leaving would be realigned with a remaining annual conference

Churches that leave must pay their share of pensions

One Church Plan

Depends on bishops matching clergy with churches of similar theological conviction, but clergy have no way of refusing an appointment based on a mismatch

Clergy have ability to refuse to perform same-sex ceremony for reasons of conscience

Ends potential for church trials involving same-sex weddings and homosexual practice

LGBTQ candidates can be ordained and appointed if Board of Ordained Ministry and Clergy Session permit or can transfer to a conference where it will be permitted

Conscience of bishops and superintendents not protected from having to oversee or appoint practicing homosexual clergy

Connectional Conference Plan

Choose a connectional conference with subsequent transfer subject to Board of Ordained Ministry approval

Ordination recognized across all connectional conferences, but service depends on the standards of each connectional conference

Security of appointment determined by each connectional conference

Could result in misalignment of the number of churches and clergy in a particular connectional conference

“Modified” Traditional Plan

Clergy subject to current prohibition of same-sex weddings with due process rights guaranteed

Bishops may not arbitrarily dismiss charges for no reason

Penalty for first conviction for performing a same-sex wedding results in one-year unpaid suspension

Penalty for second conviction is surrender of credentials

Church given right to appeal trial verdict for egregious misapplication of church law

Practicing homosexuals cannot be ordained or appointed

One Church Plan

Limited input on whether practicing homosexuals can be ordained because only Board of Ordained Ministry and Clergy Session make that determination

Participate in local church conference vote on whether to allow same-sex weddings on church property

May find themselves in church which votes to accept same-sex practice and weddings

Connectional Conference Plan

Participate as delegates in decision of jurisdiction and annual conference as to which connectional conference to affiliate with

Participate in local church conference vote to affiliate with different connectional conference (if desired)

May find themselves in a church which votes to join a connectional conference with which they do not agree

“Modified” Traditional Plan

Participate as delegates to annual conference in determination of whether to enforce the Discipline or exit from the UMC

Participate in any local church vote to exit from the UMC

One Church Plan

No vote needed. Progressive position is de facto adopted

Central conferences would need to make their own statements on ordination and same-sex weddings

Boards of Ordained Ministry and/or clergy session can vote to ordain LGBTQ persons with limited lay involvement

In order to adopt traditional position, clergy session must affirmatively vote to do so by a majority vote

Traditionalists would not be able to prevent the assignment of an openly homosexual bishop to their episcopal area

Connectional Conference Plan

Jurisdictional and central conferences will vote to join a connectional conference on simple majority vote.

Annual conferences who want to join a different connectional conference than their jurisdictional or central conference may do so on a simple majority vote.

Annual conferences can revote every four years.

Clergy and churches may find themselves displaced as alignment changes

“Modified” Traditional Plan

Must certify it will uphold whole Discipline.

Conferences not upholding the Discipline cannot use the UM name or insignia or participate financially in the general church.

Annual conference can vote to leave denomination with their property if they disagree with the Discipline.

Those who choose to leave can negotiate continued participation in some UM general church agencies.

$200,000 grant to departing conferences

One Church Plan

Continues as one body providing spiritual leadership to the whole church

Assignment may match convictions of bishops and annual conferences.

Bishops protected if conscience will not allow them to ordain practicing LGBTQ persons, but must call upon a bishop who will ordain and allow it to occur

Must lead their conference regardless of personal conviction

No protection of bishops from having to appoint or supervise practicing LGBTQ clergy on basis of conscience

All bishops funded by the whole church

Connectional Conference Plan

Learning and support community for bishops and ecumenical relations, less supervisory authority

U.S. bishops funded solely by their connectional conference at comparable levels

Central conference bishops funded by general church apportionments

Oversight and accountability of bishops is provided by each connectional conference.

Each bishop chooses a connectional conference and abides by its requirements.

“Modified” Traditional Plan

Bishops must certify they will adhere to the whole Discipline

Bishops who will not certify adherence no longer receive compensation of expenses as of 2021 and will be encouraged to leave for a self-governing Methodist church

Bishops held accountable by an independent global committee with due process rights guaranteed

One Church Plan

Continue to operate as now

Could overtly support LGBTQ causes

If funding declines, boards and agencies would need to consider a strategic restructuring

Connectional Conference Plan

Wespath, GCFA, UMCOR, Archives, parts of GBGM, and the Publishing House funded by entire church

Task force would evaluate each general agency and propose new model for UMC by 2025

Program agencies would only serve connectional conferences that choose to relate to them

“Modified” Traditional Plan

All general boards and agencies continue

Each agency can contract with churches that leave UMC as occurs now with affiliated, autonomous churches

If funding declines, boards and agencies will undergo strategic restructuring

One Church Plan

No change with related institutions

Some independent conservative institutions may no longer work with the UMC

Connectional Conference Plan

Properties owned by annual or jurisdictional conferences follow them to new connectional conference

Institutions can choose to relate to one or more connectional conferences as bylaws permit

“Modified” Traditional Plan

No change unless they choose an action permitted by their bylaws

If annual conference leaves the UMC, owned or affiliated institutions go with it unless they change affiliation under their bylaws

One Church Plan

Wespath has recommended two petitions to cover churches or clergy who withdraw from the UMC

Connectional Conference Plan

Wespath has recommended two petitions to cover churches or clergy who withdraw from the UMC

Wespath stays intact and works with connectional conferences.

Wespath will allocate pension liabilities associated with churches depending on connectional conference chosen

“Modified” Traditional Plan

Wespath has recommended two petitions to cover churches or clergy who withdraw from the UMC

Churches which leave pay proportionate share of unfunded pension liability.

Clergy which leave have accrued benefits transferred to an individual investment account

One Church Plan

No change to funding

Connectional Conference Plan

Central conference funding unchanged; U.S. salaries & benefits paid by connectional conferences

“Modified” Traditional Plan

No change to funding

You can download printable versions of this chart comparing the major plans before the special General Conference HERE