Updates from The Way Forward Committee & Church Council

The Way Forward Committee

The Way Forward Committee was formed more than 4 years ago to research issues regarding the United Methodist denomination as it related to enforcement of the Book of Discipline. Specifically, the ordination of bishops, clergy, issues on human sexuality, and accountability within our UMC Polity. This page is dedicated to resourcing our church members with details pertaining to the issues and help educate them.  

Below you will find our 4 week “Educational Campaign”, a Comparison of Wesleyan Denominations, Scripture References, a Discernment Guide, and a copy of a letter sent to the Office of Bishop L. Jonathan Holston, South Carolina Annual Conference’s residential bishop. 

This page will constantly be updated as The Way Forward Committee continues to meet and get further updates pertaining to the issues facing our denomination and what Covenant’s role is in the midst of it all. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please direct your communications to one of the following individuals: Bonnie Blackman (Church Council Chair), John Thomas (Way Forward Committee Chair), or Rev. Darren Hook (Senior Pastor).

Even in the midst of these challenging and concerning times within our denomination, we are excited and confident that God will continue to work in BIG ways here at Covenant as He has for the past many years. 

Please Register in Advance if you need Childcare in order to attend a Town Hall meeting. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do only members of Covenant get to vote?

It is a requirement set forth by the South Carolina Conference for local churches.

If I want Covenant to remain a church with traditional values and theology, as it is now, how should I vote?

Vote to leave the United Methodist Church denomination.

What denomination will Covenant be affiliated with?

The Church Council will be studying the Global Methodist Church. It seems the best fit for Covenant. It is a new and developing Methodist denomination. Nationally, many UMC churches have already voted to leave the United Methodist denomination and are in the process of joining the Global Methodist denomination.  To date, 2003 churches have voted to disaffiliate. 

What date and time is the Church Conference vote?

February 5, 2023, 3:30pm in the Sanctuary.

Must I be present to vote?

According to the South Carolina Conference you must be present to vote. Ballots will be issued starting at 3:00pm on February 5, 2023. Alphabetical tables will be set up for checking member status and issuing ballots. There will be no proxy voting.

I’ve been visiting Covenant for a long time may I vote?

  • Professing membership status is necessary to vote. According to the Book of Discipline ¶215,The professing membership of a local United Methodist church shall include all baptized people who have come into membership by profession of faith through appropriate services of the baptismal covenant in the ritual or by transfer from other churches.”

You must be on the rolls of Covenant Methodist Church.

What will the cost be to disaffiliate?

South Carolina is one of the last conferences to announce terms for separation. Covenant’s cost is outlined in the terms of the SC Agreement to Separate. The cost is being tabulated now by our financial staff and overseen by Church Council. The final cost should be available at our first Town Hall meeting on January 22, 2023. The major categories are:

  1. 10% value of Covenant’s property equity minus the mortgage debt.
  2. 10% value of liquid assets.
  3. Eighteen months of Apportionments prior to date of approved separation by the SC Annual Conference.
  4. Twelve months of Apportionments after the approved separation by the SC Annual Conference.
  5. Unfunded pension liability
  6. Three years of insurance liability.
  7. Salary and Direct billing for Clergy benefits for 6 months.

(This is not in addition to our currently monthly payments.)


Do our pastors support separating from the UMC?

Yes, they do.

Will the pastors lose their pension?

Their current pensions with the UMC will not receive any further contributions after Covenant is approved to separate. Their UMC pension payments will be available when they are eligible to retire. Future pension plan payments will be paid by Covenant on the pastors’ behalfs through our new denomination pension plan.

What will happen United Methodist denomination in the future?

Only our gracious God knows the future; however, there are two resolutions that the five UMC Jurisdictions have already passed. These will probably become part of the 2024 General Conference agenda for a vote. The following are direct quotes from the minutes of the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference held at Junaluska, NC in November 2022.

  • Justice and Empowerment for LGBTQIA+ People

“Queer Delegates’ Call to Center Justice and Empowerment for LGBTQIA+ People in the UMC,” was submitted by nine queer delegates in the SEJ.  This passed with one amendment changing a word in the resolution from “commit” to “aspire” in an effort to make the resolution more aspirational for the SEJ and, therefore, legal.

The resolution urges: the SEJ to support LGBTQIA+ people, affirm a moratorium on lawsuits and complaints surrounding sexual orientation, not pursue (or resolve in a non-punitive and just manner) complaints against bishops around their sexual orientation or who officiate LGBTQIA+ weddings, and support elections of bishops who uphold this.

  • Leading with Integrity

“Leading with Integrity,” submitted by Tennessee lay delegate Jim Allen and newly elected Bishop Robin Dease, South Carolina, passed without amendment.

The resolution urges those who intend to disaffiliate from The United Methodist Church to recuse themselves from leadership roles in the UMC in an effort to move forward in fairness and integrity. It also encourages annual conference boards to develop codes of conduct to manage conflicts of interest.


Where can I get more information?





Wesleyan Denominations

Here is a breakdown of current Wesleyan Denominations in a “comparison” format.

Scripture References

Resource Guide

Letter to the Bishop

Town Hall Video

Click the button below to watch the most recent Town Hall from back on November 13th, 2022.

Connect with us.

1310 Old Spartanburg Road
Greer, SC 29650

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