Mt. Bethel Actions Lead North Georgia Conference to Respond to Exigent Circumstances


Acting out of love for the church and its mission, the North Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church's Central West District Board of Church Location and Building, the Bishop, and the eight District Superintendents have unanimously determined that “exigent circumstances” have threatened the continued vitality and mission of Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church. Given this determination, all assets of the local church have transferred immediately to the Conference Board of Trustees of the North Georgia Conference. These conference agencies have taken action to preserve the legacy of the Mt. Bethel church and its longstanding history of mission and ministry.

As part of the ongoing and unfortunate situation, North Georgia Conference and District committees, boards, bishop, and cabinet have met in recent weeks to prayerfully discern the best and most responsible path forward as a small group of leaders at Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church stray further from our denomination’s practices and procedures.

Mt. Bethel leaders received notification from the Conference Board of Trustees and its attorneys on June 18, 2021, with an offer to help resolve these current issues, which include the refusal to accept the appointment of a new pastor in charge and making significant decisions regarding financial and personnel issues without the consensus of church membership and without following the Book of Discipline. No resolution came from this communication.

A critically important dimension of the Conference Board of Trustees’ responsibility, as outlined in the Book of Discipline, is to “intervene and take all necessary legal steps to safeguard and protect the interests and rights of the annual conference anywhere and in all matters relating to property and rights to property whether arising by gift, devise, or otherwise, or where held in trust or established for the benefit of the annual conference or its membership.”

Mt. Bethel’s leaders and attorneys received notification on Monday, July 12, 2021, of the closure and transfer of assets from the individual church to the Conference Board of Trustees. While the transfer of assets is effective immediately, the Board of Trustees has given the acting leaders of the local church 10 days to complete the transfer.

The Trustees will assume management of the church. The Trustees are mindful of the concerns of employees, families, and members of Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church and the families connected to the Mt. Bethel Christian Academy. Employment, instruction, activities, and worship at the church and Academy will continue, but under the direction and control of the Conference Board of Trustees.

Like many organizations, the North Georgia Conference holds and is responsible to steward a variety of resources aimed at supporting its mission, which in our case is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The Conference Board of Trustees is charged with the responsibility, and is vested with the authority, to steward all such assets held in trust for the benefit of the denomination on behalf of the Annual Conference.

The North Georgia Conference has established a webpage to share information as it is available.

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