Bishop Dease and Cabinet Respond to Misinformation
We regret that misinformation about The United Methodist Church continues to be spread in the North Georgia Conference. While it benefits no one to repeat misinformation, the following information corrects some of the latest inaccuracies encountered by the bishop and cabinet.
The truth is: Not all are traditional
Not all churches that disaffiliated from The United Methodist Church in 2022 were theologically traditional congregations.
The truth is: Our bishops have guarded our United Methodist doctrine
Paragraph 401 of the Book of Discipline
, which states that a Bishop is to guard the doctrine of the church and administer the Book of Discipline
, has been cited in some documents by those pushing congregations to leave the UMC. Our Bishops have always guarded our doctrine. If anyone is stating that our Bishop or Conference Leadership does not believe in our doctrine or are changing it, they are offering incorrect information. The United Methodist Church is founded on a Wesleyan theology of grace which is anchored in Scripture, and professes faith in the teachings, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and in the continuing movement of the Holy Spirit.
The Articles of Religion
, Confessions of Faith
, The Standard Sermons of John Wesley
, The Explanatory Notes on the New Testament
, and The General Rules
are our doctrinal standards as stated in our United Methodist Book of Discipline
They are our theological foundation for faith and the ministry and mission of the church in the world. This is what we believe as United Methodists. Read these in the Book of Discipline
or online at:
The truth is: No one is seeking to change our doctrine
All United Methodists have access to a free digital copy of the Book of Discipline (https://www.cokesbury.com/book-of-discipline-book-of-resolutions-free-versions
) or can order a copy from Cokesbury.
Our Doctrinal Standards begin on page 47 of the 2016 Book of Discipline
. No one is changing, asking to change, or opposing our Doctrinal Standards. The questions around human sexuality related to same-sex marriage and ordination are addressed in our church’s policy section, which is a separate section of the Book of Discipline
Church policies and procedures are regularly discussed, amended, and changed at General Conference every four years. Everyone from clergy, to laity, to bishops have different opinions and viewpoints on UMC policies. In the UMC it is okay for ordained clergy and bishops not to agree with everything in the Book of Discipline
’s policies. However, clergy and bishops do make a vow to uphold the Book of Disciple
. If there is something in our Book of Discipline’s
policies that you do not agree with, then you, too, can write proposed legislation to amend, change, or remove policies from the Book of Discipline
which may be considered at the General Conference. All legislation is reviewed, discussed, and decided on at General Conference, which is the only body that can officially speak or make decisions for the UMC.
We are not aware of any time that either Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson or Bishop Robin Dease have not guarded our doctrine or administered the Book of Discipline,
even portions of the Book of Discipline
with which they do not agree.
The truth is: Bishop Dease is and has been clear about her vow to uphold the Book of Discipline
A partial quote from Bishop Robin Dease in the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate
has recently been shared in some of our churches, with the design of stoking fear that she will not uphold the Book of Discipline
. Here is a full and true statement from Bishop Dease about her opinion, which includes her clear vow to uphold the Book of Discipline
“Why I Am United Methodist?”
Who I am ... I am a United Methodist who believes in a theology of grace. Through God’s grace every person is welcome at the table and may be baptized into the family of Christ. This is why I believe same gender loving persons can fall in love and marry. I believe they can be called by God to serve God’s Church and be faithful to their call to transform lives for Christ’s kingdom.
Who I am not…is a person who will disobey The United Methodist Book of Discipline. I uphold and support our polity including our present stance concerning the practice of homosexuality. Yet, my hope remains constant; that the General Conference, our decision-making body, will change our polity to reflect a more inclusive Church that models the grace God gives to all humanity including LGBTQIA persons. Until then, as Bishop, I am committed to upholding the Book of Discipline while applying grace to individuals and local churches.
—Bishop Robin Dease
The truth is: Our bishops have upheld the Book of Discipline regarding human sexuality
Regarding the allegations that our Bishops have not “administrated” the Book of Discipline
by enforcing the provisions regarding human sexuality, it is very important to note this is not the case in North Georgia:
1. Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson and the cabinet investigated any allegation regarding clergy performing same-sex weddings. And as of today, there has not been a clergyperson in our Conference that has performed a same-sex wedding.
2. The North Georgia Conference has continued to use the same policy around what is considered “officiating a wedding” since Bishop Lindsey Davis’s tenure. That policy states that administering the wedding vows, pronouncing the marriage, and signing the marriage license are what constitutes performing a wedding. Others (laity or clergy) may offer prayer or read scripture at a wedding. Those participants are not considered to be the “officiant” or to have “performed” the wedding.
3. Some have shared that there was an alleged violation of this policy at a wedding in 2021. This was investigated, and it was determined that the clergy accused of the violation did not perform the wedding.
4. Bishop Dease has instructed the cabinet to continue to ensure every clergy in North Georgia is upholding the Book of Discipline
in all matters, including matters of human sexuality.
5. The cabinet has heard of an alleged violation of our policy at a wedding in 2022. We have not received any evidence of this situation. If this matter is brought to us, we will investigate.
6. No United Methodist church in North Georgia has hosted a same-sex wedding. If evidence of a violation is brought forward, it will be investigated. You can read St. Mark UMC’s actual wedding policy and sample service from the UMC Book of Worship
on their website https://www.stmarkumc.org/weddings.
Learn more about The United Methodist Church
We encourage you to not take information passed out to you by anyone as truth until you have verified it. We also encourage you to read more information about the UMC from our North Georgia Conference website at https://www.ngumc.org/beumc
Finally, we encourage you to contact your District Superintendent
with any questions. We are here to help you find truthful information and to help you make well-informed decisions.
—Bishop Robin Dease and the Appointive Cabinet