June 15, 2022

Greetings First Church family!

With the Kentucky Annual Conference behind us for 2022, we wanted to share a few observations.

  1. The Annual Conference was a civil and non-anxious affair. As a matter of fact, the word non-anxious was mentioned by many of the speakers, as well as Bishop Fairley, on multiple occasions. If that was the goal, the goal was achieved.
  2. The total number of Kentucky Annual Conference churches leaving the UMC numbered eight total. No church in Lexington, or any of the larger urban areas were on that list. Bishop Fairley announced that a special Annual Conference would be held this fall to handle disaffiliations. Our guess is that the fall will give churches enough time to go through the process if they want to leave the denomination. Let us say again…we are not considering this.
  3. A few churches were designated Cooperative Parishes at this Annual Conference. This provision in the Book of Discipline allows a UMC denomination to co-exist with another denomination in the same building which allows for shared resources, pastoral leadership and missional outreach. This shows that even within our current Book of Discipline there are ways to think creatively about the future that lead to third way options.
  4. This didn’t take place at the Annual Conference, but has potential implications. The Protocol, which is proposed General Conference 2024 legislation guiding amicable separation, may be off the table. There was an open letter released this week by a number of persons related to the Protocol which said they no longer are willing to support it. There was also a response to that letter. We are sharing both so you can see for yourselves the dialogue that is happening. What does this mean? It sets forth a serious question as to whether anything will happen in 2024. This is why we are moving forward with our First Church conversation about “who we are” and not waiting for legislation which quite frankly may never come about.

If you ever desire to go back to read or listen to something we've shared, you can now find it on our website in one easy to use place by clicking here or going to (http://lextogether.org/generalconference). As always, let Todd, Chad, Carol, Taylor or Jennifer know if you have any questions. You can do that by clicking here.