top of page

United Methodist Church Future

Dear Covenant Family,


As you are likely aware, the United Methodist Church (UMC) is facing challenging days ahead. There is much conversation surrounding a number of issues including theology, belief about Jesus, the authority of Scripture, and biblical interpretation primarily as it relates to human sexuality, the blessing of unions, and the ordaining of the LGBTQIA+ community.


The Wesleyan theological perspective which was at the heart of the Methodist movement remains a vibrant theology balancing the extravagant grace and uncompromising truth of a holy and loving God. However, the denominational connection in which this theological perspective has historically been practiced is eroding. As the UMC is wrestling with its own identity, theology, and practice, the natural effect will be that local churches are going to have to decide what kind of relationship they want to have with the larger denomination that is the UMC.


Covenant UMC is not exempt from this conversation, and must also do the hard and spiritual work of looking at our future, and determining who we are, and if we want to remain in connection with, or consider disaffiliation from the denomination that is the UMC. To this end, the following information is provided as a resource for research, prayer, and discernment about the present and future.


May God use this season of discernment to help us determine the kind of church we wish to be in the future, and that we might have the strength to become the people he is calling us to be. May the Holy Spirit lead us with wisdom, compassion and truth that we may walk with one another in the kingdom of God.

Should we stay or should we go?

The following is adapted from comments collected by an independent consultant, who has worked with other UMC congregations, and other good practices of communication from church leadership around the Conference.

Reasons to STAY AFFILIATED with the UMC

Historic Connection

  • Covenant has been a UMC congregation for over 45 years.

  • Covenant has long established itself as a missional outpost that offers direct need, resources, and hope to a large community—particularly during large scale disasters. This missional mindset and practice has proven a blessing for the entire region and beyond.

  • Covenant has historically been known as a church of “covenant love” and as such has a reputation for welcoming and loving all people.

  • The UMC is an established denomination with a defined reputation worldwide for proclaiming God’s love and doing social good.


Inclusive Culture

  • The UMC has a deep culture committed to welcoming all people.

  • The UMC can reach a broad diversity of people from a wide variety of backgrounds and lifestyles with its “Big Tent” approach to ministry and theology.

  • The UMC has a proven track record of positive community impact through its local church and denominational ministries like UMCOR.

  • Covenant could resolve the conversation, embrace a more progressive position of acceptance, and move forward in freedom knowing the identity of the church body.

Big Tent Theology

  • The UMC will likely change its current policies to allow for the ordination of LGBTQ+ persons and the officiation of same-sex weddings in local congregations. Annual conferences and local congregations would be free to set their own rules regarding these issues in keeping with the “big tent” culture.

  • The UMC is committed to being a welcoming culture for all regardless of where they fall on the theological spectrum, from traditional to progressive.


  • Staying in the UMC would cost nothing additional other than the ordinary annual apportionments we currently pay (around 10% of our General Fund income).

  • Leaving the UMC will result in a large monetary “buyout” that will be due in a very short time frame. That dollar amount will be determined by the Conference Office, and shared with Covenant at the next Church Council meeting, on Feb. 26, 2023

Reasons to DISAFFILIATE from the UMC

New Opportunities


  • Covenant would have the opportunity to become an independent congregation or join another new denomination more closely aligned with an historic and orthodox theological position.

  • Covenant could resolve the conversation, embrace historic boundaries around leadership and key biblical issues, and move forward in freedom knowing the identity of the church body.

  • Covenant would have an opportunity to establish a new reputation in our area, as a church with a Wesleyan theological heritage who is distinctly orthodox and conservative, while simultaneously being grace-filled and compassionate.


Compassionate Culture

  • Covenant would be free to maintain a welcoming culture committed to historic Christian beliefs and practices without creating confusion due to questions about when and how and why the UMC is considering changes to the beliefs and practices currently in the UM Discipline.

  • Covenant would be free to move on from the long-standing denominational debate over human sexuality to focus on mission and ministry.

  • Covenant would be free to determine our own governance and policies based on our culture, mission, and vision (and in conjunction with any future denominational connection if desired).


Traditional Biblical Theology


  • Covenant would be free to seek a denominational affiliation and mission partners aligned with an understanding of, and commitment to, a traditional view of scripture and Christian practice.

  • Covenant would be able to align with a denomination that is willing and able to hold leaders accountable when they do not adhere to that denomination’s accepted beliefs, statements, or actions.



  • If Covenant votes to disaffiliate by a margin of 2/3, the UMC will release all of our land, facilities and assets from the “trust clause,” allowing the church to control our future direction while retaining all of our land, facilities, and assets. A “one-time” lump sum of money will be due to the conference prior to Annual Conference as determined by the Conference Office.

  • Future “apportionments” would be determined by any specific denomination our church decides to affiliate with, but may be less than what we currently pay to the UMC, thus allowing more money to be spent on local church mission and ministry

A Process of Discernment for Covenant

Read and Research

  • Seek to better understand the process and the issues surrounding this conversation and make an informed decision.

  • This includes reviewing the information available in this document and more to come on the website, as well as following the links provided under the “Where Can I Learn More” section, found here to further expand the resources and information to consider.


Attend the Church Council Meetings (held in the Sanctuary)

  • Feb. 26, @ 2:00 PM—The District Superintendent will be present to provide the conference perspective and the value of the connection within the UMC, as well as the financial costs for Covenant related to disaffiliation.

  • More meetings may be necessary, and communication will be provided via email from the church, postings and announcements during worship.

  • Covenant Church Council is considering a time of “listening to the church. ” This would be space for the church body to provide real-time feedback. This will not be a debate, but an opportunity for any member to briefly present a position statement related to the disaffiliation conversation.


The Church Council Will Decide Our Next Steps


  • The Church Council will review the information from the District Superintendent, consider the comments from the Covenant Church body, and make a decision on whether to hold a Church Conference whereby a vote will be taken to determine the future of Covenant’s relationship to the UMC.

  • The Church Council will make this decision no later than April 1, 2023.


Next Steps If the Church Council Decides to Move Forward with Disaffiliation Vote:


  • Church Conference – Date TBD by District Superintendent & Church Council. Likely sometime in late April or early May.

  • Annual Conference will need to Ratify the Decision – June 21-23, 2023.


Next Steps If the Church Council Decides NOT to hold a Disaffiliation Vote:


  • Covenant will remain United Methodist

FAQ's and Links

Frequently Asked Questions
about Discernment and Disaffiliation

What is Disaffiliation?


  • A vote for Disaffiliation means leaving the United Methodist Church. A vote against Disaffiliation means we desire to stay in the United Methodist Church.


Why consider Disaffiliation?

There are a number of reasons to consider disaffiliation, including:

  • Theological Differences. There are emerging differences of belief regarding Jesus as being uniquely God the Son, who is without sin, and as such is “the way, the truth, and the life” whereby “no one comes to the Father except through him.” With the rise of cultural relativism, and a compromise on the historic and orthodox positions of faith regarding Jesus from pastoral and denominational leadership, separation becomes a viable option to consider.

  • The lack of pastoral (clergy) and episcopal (bishops) accountability relating to breaking covenant. All pastors have to stand before the Conference, and acknowledge that they have read the Book of Discipline, agree with, and vow to uphold what is presented as our doctrines and polity (ordering of the church life and structure). Unfortunately, many pastors, and even some bishops, have made this covenant promise, and then violated this covenant agreement by performing and blessing same-sex unions—in direct contradiction to the covenant vows they made. Furthermore, upon this violation of covenant, little to no consequences has been considered for the violation. A lack of accountability in leadership leads to a lack of trust, and will inevitably resulting in relational and structural collapse.

  • Some Bishops and Annual Conferences in the United States have publicly stated that they will not enforce the current prohibitions in our United Methodist Discipline regarding homosexuality. This is evidenced by current lack of accountability by bishops and clergypersons who have already violated covenant within the UMC.

  • Differences regarding human sexuality. It is possible that the UMC will change its position on homosexuality to ordaining practicing homosexuals and allowing for churches and pastors to celebrate homosexual weddings. Many churches and pastors do not see this as something they can accept as a biblical position.

  • The opportunity to be free of the restrictions in the UMC Trust Clause. Local churches who disaffiliate will have full control over the future direction of their local church while retaining all land, facilities, and assets.


What is the current UMC stance on homosexuality?


  • The United Methodist Church affirms that sexuality is “God’s good gift to all persons” and that “all people are of sacred worth and are equally valuable in the sight of God.”

  • Since 1972, the UMC has affirmed that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.” The UMC has also maintained long-standing restrictions regarding homosexual clergy and weddings. Pastors may not be “self-avowed, practicing homosexuals” and may not conduct ceremonies that celebrate same-sex weddings or unions. Such ceremonies also may not be held on church property.

  • For more information, see What is the Church's position on homosexuality? (


What are the proposed changes to the UMC stance on homosexuality?


  • There are many proposals being considered, however, most of them involve removing the “incompatible” statement, allowing homosexuals to be pastors, and permitting pastors and churches to celebrate homosexual weddings.


If the rules haven’t changed yet and Louisiana is currently enforcing the rules we have, why consider Disaffiliation at this time?

  • The next General Conference of the UMC (a worldwide gathering of UMC delegates) will be held in 2024, and it is possible changes will occur at this time. However, the current method for disaffiliation expires on December 31, 2023, and it is unlikely that a similar disaffiliation plan will be passed after the current one expires.

  • The current method for disaffiliation was passed by the 2019 General Conference and can be found in Paragraph 2553 in the UMC Book of Discipline. In 2021, the Louisiana Annual Conference passed our version of the 2553 plan.

  • Here is the text of Paragraph 2553 from the Discipline:

  • The Louisiana 2553 Process can be found in the 2021 Journal on pages 254-262:


What is the Financial Cost of Disaffiliation?


  • The exact cost will be presented by the District Superintendent at the Church Council meeting on Feb. 26. This cost will be determined by the Louisiana Annual Conference and is using the process outlined by paragraph 2553, with additions from the Conference Board of Trustees. Under Louisiana rules, churches disaffiliating under paragraph 2553 in Louisiana must pay:

    • The rest of the current year’s apportionments, plus an additional two years of apportionments. 

    • The church’s fair share of the unfunded pension liability as determined by Wespath (the UMC Pension Agency) and allocated by the formula developed by the Conference Board of Trustees.

    • Any arrearages in pastoral pension or health benefits.

    • Other costs as determined by the Conference Board of Trustees (including loans from the Conference, etc.)


How will we pay for the cost of Disaffiliation?


  • Covenant leadership will have to look at this, and consider a plan going forward.


If we hold a Church Conference, who can vote?


  • Any professing member of the church who attends the called Church Conference in person is eligible to vote. Those who are unable to be present cannot submit a proxy vote, nor can anyone vote electronically.


What is the voting threshold to disaffiliate?


  • At least two-thirds of the professing members who attend the called Church Conference must vote to disaffiliate for the measure to pass. While we want as many members as possible to come and vote, there is no minimum number required to reach a quorum. Whoever is present at the meeting constitutes a quorum.


What will happen if disaffiliation is approved?


  • If the vote for disaffiliation passes, Covenant leadership will begin the legal process of transferring all assets into the name of the new church entity, which will have to be created. Covenant will then begin exploring next steps as a church, including whether to affiliate with another denomination or become independent. If disaffiliation occurs, Covenant will continue to love and serve the great people in Lafayette and beyond, seeking to continue extending covenant love in the name of Jesus.


What will happen if the vote is to stay in the UMC?


  • If Covenant votes to stay in the UMC, Covenant will continue to love and serve the great people in Lafayette and beyond, seeking to continue extending covenant love in the name of Jesus.


What will happen to current members who disagree with the results of the vote?


  • Regardless of the results of the vote, the Covenant family will continue in the mission of loving people and making disciples for Jesus Christ, where all are welcome at the foot of the cross. It is understood, however, that some people will choose to join another church that more closely aligns with their beliefs. It is a great hope, however, that even in disagreement, genuine love can be on display within this community.

What will happen to current pastors after the vote?


  • The local church has to consider their own their position, and decide their relationship to the UMC. Each pastor, likewise has to consider their own position and conviction, and decide his or her relationship to the UMC.


What are the denominational options if the vote to disaffiliate from the UMC passes?



Will the church name change with disaffiliation?


  • Yes, but only somewhat. Covenant will no longer be “United” Methodist and must remove all references to the UMC from signage and church buildings. However, “Covenant” and “Methodist” can remain in the church name. While the final name has not been determined, one common suggestion would look like “Covenant Methodist Church.”

Learn More

Where can I learn more information?

bottom of page