Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church completes Called Session to ratify disaffiliation agreements
Media contact: Amy Ezell, Director of Center for Communication
November 21, 2022, Little Rock, AR: The Arkansas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church conducted a called Special Session on Saturday, November 19, in Hot Springs, Arkansas at the Hot Springs Convention Center.
There were 296 charges represented with 396 clergy and 347 laity. There were approximately 200 in-person visitors and over 700 live-stream visitors.
The minutes from the Special Session may be found here.
Bishop Gary Mueller presided over the 7-hour-long session and shared the following statement, “The body of the Annual Conference did a fine job with the work put before it. Each agreement from each local church who reached an agreement with their local Board of Trustees and the Arkansas Conference Board of Trustees, was given considerate evaluation by the voting members.”
There were 38 churches that were presented for ratification. 35 churches were approved by a majority vote to move forward with disaffiliation. 3 churches did not reach a majority vote: First United Methodist Church in Cabot, First United Methodist Church in Jonesboro, and First United Methodist Church in Searcy.
To move forward with a complete disaffiliation, the 35 churches who received a majority vote will need to finalize the detailed steps in the agreement. Those pieces include: setting up a new legal church entity with the Secretary of State; transferring property and other assets to the new entity, and completing payment obligations to the United Methodist Church. Once all steps have been completed, the church will be permitted to transfer property to the new entity.
The three churches who did not receive ratification for disaffiliation, have the option to restart the process or resubmit to the next called session, which date has not been officially announced yet.
The Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church is one of the 54 annual conferences that make up the United Methodist Church in the United States. Founded in 2003, the Conference, as part of the South Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church, is responsible for coordinating more than 598 United Methodist churches and over 300 clergy throughout Arkansas to fulfill its trajectory “to make disciples of Jesus Christ, who make disciples equipped and sent to transform lives, communities and the world.” The Conference also supports a number of United Methodist-affiliated ministries in the state of Arkansas. For more information, visit arumc.org.