N. Ga. United Methodists to hold town hall meetings before General Conference

Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson prays over a lof of bread before communion is served Sunday at the St. Mark United Methodist Church in Atlanta March 3, 2019.

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Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson prays over a lof of bread before communion is served Sunday at the St. Mark United Methodist Church in Atlanta March 3, 2019.

Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson, resident bishop of the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church, will hold a series of town hall meetings to discuss what’s ahead for the denomination.

Haupert-Johnson meets with clergy and laity on an ongoing basis, but these particular gatherings are scheduled ahead of the denomination's 2020 General Conference in May 5-15.

The denomination is facing a separation over LGBTQ beliefs and inclusion.

According to its Book of Discipline, pastors cannot perform same-sex marriages and "practicing" LGBTQ people are not allowed to become ordained pastors.

RelatedAfter decades of debates, do United Methodists have a way forward?

The town hall meetings will run from March 1 through April 26 at different churches. The first will be held at 3 p.m. at Hillside United Methodist Church, 4474 Towne Lake Parkway in Woodstock on March 1.

The United Methodist Church has more than 13 million members worldwide, including nearly 7 million in the U.S., and more than 467,000 United Methodists in Georgia.

At least four proposals guiding the future of the denomination have been floated for the 862 delegates at the General Conference to consider. That number does not include proposals from individuals.

There are other proposals for various issues the denomination will consider at the upcoming General Conference in Minneapolis.

One, called the “Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation” has gotten the most attention because it included input from bishops and advocacy groups on all sides. It lays the groundwork for what happens to things like property, pastor pensions and outside ministries.

Under the proposal, a new “traditionalist Methodist” denomination could be formed.

Other town hall meetings scheduled:

  • March 8: Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, 3180 Peachtree Rd. N.E., Atlanta ; 2 p.m.
  • March 22:  Madison First United Methodist Church, 296 South Main St., Madison; 3 p.m.
  • March 29: Fayetteville First United Methodist Church, 175 E. Lanier Ave., Fayetteville; 3:30 p.m.
  • April 19: Trinity at the Well United Methodist Church, 814 West Ave.,  Cartersville; 3:30 p.m.
  • April 26:  Gainestville First United Methodist Church, 2780 Thompson Bridge Rd., Gainesville; 3 p.m.