Affiliation Vote Information

Save the Date:  
  • Sunday, February 19, 2023 at 10:15 am CST

  • All currently registered SCUMC Members. 
  • Non-SCUMC Members who are active participants who currently contribute their time, talents and treasures to SCUMC or intend to going forward with the newly aligned church. 
  • Must be 7th grade or above (Confirmation age)

• Vote to determine whether our church should align with the Global Methodist Church or
become Independent/Otherwise Associated.

• Sunday, February 19, 2023 at 10:15 am CST: In-Person and Online vote
• Mail-In and Email Ballots will be accepted until 4pm CST on Wednesday, February 22, 2023
• In-Person voting will be held at Santa Claus UMC, but there are multiple options for submitting
your Ballots. Please see below for all the options.

• To determine the path forward for our church before the official disaffiliation from the United
Methodist Church on July 1, 2023.

Many of the FAQs are covered in the Town Hall presentation available here.

Frequently Asked Questions

(click on any question to show or hide answer)

Our church is voting on our path forward once we are officially disaffiliated from the United
Methodist Church (July 1, 2023).

The Admin Council of the church has brought two options before the congregation for us to vote
on. The two options are:

  • Join the Global Methodist Church
  • Become an Independent congregation
Below are the notes that the Admin Council has prepared regarding the Global Methodist

  • Global Methodist most aligns with Traditional UMC Doctrine and Discipline with some modifications though currently forming and being led under transitional Leadership until their 1st General Conference estimated to be later 2023 or early 2024 thus allowing incoming UMC churches and Conferences to participate in that decision-making process.
  • Tithing apportionment lowered to 6.5% is anticipated.
  • Traditionalist view of Biblical interpretation of Human Sexuality, marriage, LGTB+
  • Bishops, Clergy and Church leadership
  • No Trust Clause - Individual congregations retain ownership of local church assets not held in trust by the larger conference.
  • Churches with majority vote can disaffiliate without financial recourse and/or a long, lengthy dictated process.
  • Term Limits on Bishops
  • Local Churches have more say in placement of Pastoral Staff.
Below are the notes that the Admin Council has prepared regarding becoming an Independent/Otherwise Associated church:
  • Total say in Doctrine and Discipline formation…downside is it will take considerable effort and strong Lay Leadership to retain.
  • No tithing apportionment. All finances to be used at the discretion of the Local church to fund staffing, Ministry, Missions, and Community Outreach.
  • Church assets remain the property of the local church.
    o 100% say in Church’s Pastoral and staff appointments, terms, salary etc. Downside is
    no pool or assistance to place one either. An Independent Church would be 100 percent
    responsible meeting the Salary, Retirement, Insurance, and Parsonage funding.
  • Opportunity to be more inclusive and/or make Disciples of Christ that are not in alignment with portions of the doctrine or disciplines of traditional denominations/conference or synods.
    • Historically speaking, larger organizations tend to
      become encumbered with higher church policy and
      can get increasingly autocratic
  • Can still consider alignment with other like-minded Independents or join associations like Independent Association of Methodist Churches.
    • IMA is not a denomination but an association that helps fill in the gaps otherwise offered by the Higher Church body.
    • Items like assistance in finding Pastors and Staff. Camps and Retreats. Traditional Methodist publications, etc.
The Admin Council of Santa Claus UMC has been working diligently since the disaffiliation vote to discern the best options for the future of our congregation.

The vetting process took the following key points into consideration:
  • Doctrine and Discipline - Must align with Traditional Biblical Interpretation of Scripture and closely align with that of Santa Claus United Methodist historical positions.
  • Trust Clause - Where Church’s assets are required to be held.
  • Tithing appropriation required by prospective affiliation options
  • Disaffiliation/Separation Policy should a church’s membership not align in future.
  • Inclusiveness of membership and roles within Church body. Not gender or race restrictive.
  • Progressive vs Traditionalist learnings now and in future.
  • Other Considerations:
    • How Pastor and Staff is placed - Church’s voice in this process?
    • Viewpoints on Teetotalism (alcohol use) and membership in associations and societies.
    • Terms for Leadership of Higher Church (Bishops for instance if applicable).

  • To know how best to align in the future, we first need to know who we are, which is:
    • Christian, Protestant, Traditional Wesleyan/Arminian Methodist

Affiliation Options Considered Eliminated Based on Key Factors:
  • Catholic
    • Although the Catholic church of today has had some changes since the beginning of the Protestant Reformation beginning in 1517, stark differences remain between Roman Catholic and Protestant denominations that could take hours to discuss and quantify.
  • Protestant (Lutheran, Baptist, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Etc.)
    • Though there is alignment with some doctrine and discipline, there are obvious differences in those interpretations and accepted belief systems. Open vs
      closed Communion, Sacraments, Free will vs Predestination, etc. to name a few.
    • Some already have Progressive and Traditional Branches.
  • Other Wesleyan/Methodist Options:
    • Many Protestant denominations have local churches in or close proximity to Santa Claus for those who want/feel that best aligns with their beliefs.
    • Besides Global and United Methodist, There are numerous conferences like the Wesleyan Church, Free Methodist, Church of the Nazarene, and others which our history does align with in a traditional Wesleyan/Arminian sense.
    • In some cases, they tend to be even more conservative within their membership by Race, Use of Alcohol (teetotalism), and allowance of membership in societies
      like masons, etc.
    • Many of these branches of Methodism are headed down a progressive vs traditional split in the next 5 to 10 years. All require church assets to be placed
      in Trust (Free Methodist allows a possible waiver for UMC churches joining).
    • Tithing apportionment is equal to or greater than the 11+ percent required currently by UMC conferences.
    • There is no current disaffiliation process, should an individual church decide to separate in the future.
    • Here, too, there are local options within a reasonable distance from Santa Claus should individuals feel better aligned with.
  • Becoming a satellite or branch of another Independent or Non-denominational Church through affiliation vs association.
    • May lose identity as a local church or lose voice all together in decision making, doctrine and discipline.
  • All currently registered SCUMC Members
    • No members have or could be removed from the registry without a lengthy process and Charge conference as dictated by the United Methodist Book of Discipline which we will adhere to until July 1st.
    • In essence, if you were a voting member during the November disaffiliation vote, you
      are still a member and eligible to cast your ballot during this vote.
  • Non-SCUMC Members who are active participants who currently contribute their time, talents and treasures to SCUMC or intend to going forward with the newly aligned church.
    • We understand that the decisions being made now will affect our church beyond our affiliation with the United Methodist Church. Therefore, anyone who has an interest in
      how our church will function when outside the umbrella of the UMC may cast a ballot.
  • Must be 7th grade or above (Confirmation age)

Multiple voting options were approved to be as inclusive and as accommodating as possible, knowing some may not be able to be in attendance due to travel, family, or work requirements.

The voting options are:
  • In-Person: 10:15 am CST on Sunday, February 19, 2023 at Santa Claus UMC
  • Online: 10:15 am CST on Sunday, February 19, 2023 via
  • By Mail: You can request a ballot from the office or download one here
  • By Email: Send an email with your vote to 

More details about each option are on this page.

Please note, regardless of voting method, please cast only one vote. 
An In-Person vote will be taken at Santa Claus United Methodist Church at 10:15 am CST on Sunday, February 19, 2023.

In-Person votes will be anonymous. Regardless of voting method, please only cast one vote.
We will be utilizing as a live voting platform during the In-Person vote at 10:15 am CST on Sunday, February 19, 2023.

To utilize this option, please follow the steps below:
  1. Visit on your mobile device or desktop computer.
  2. Enter #SCVote as the Room Code next to “Joining as a participant?”
  3. In the poll that appears, please select your desired option

Online votes will be anonymous. Regardless of voting method, please only cast one vote.
You can download a Ballot here. Please print it, mark it, and mail it to the church office. You may hand-deliver your Ballot to the church office.

Additionally, if you would like for us to mail you a paper Ballot, please request it from the church office at 812-937-2938 or by emailing

Mail-In/Drop-Off Ballots are due back to the church office by 4 pm CST on Wednesday, February 22, 2023.

Our mailing address is:
Santa Claus UMC
351 N. Holiday Blvd.
Santa Claus, IN 47579

Regardless of voting method, please only cast one vote.
You may send an email to with your preference.
In the Subject Line of the email, please denote your vote by writing either:


You do not need to write anything in the body of the email as long as you have specified your preference in the subject line.

For your convenience, you may also click one of the following links to have the email subject line auto-filled with your choice. Simply click the appropriate link and hit send.


Click here to vote (via email) for Global Methodist affiliation


Click here to vote (via email) for Independent affiliation

In-Person and Online voting will be held on Sunday, February 19, 2023 at 10:15 am CST.

All Mail-In/Drop-Off and Email Ballots must be received back in the church office by 4 pm CST Wednesday, February 22, 2023.

Mail-In/Drop-Off votes will be anonymous. Regardless of voting method, please only cast one vote.
In-Person, Online, and Mail-In/Drop-Off votes will remain completely anonymous.

Due to the nature of email, your name and/or email address may be visible to those tallying the votes. If you wish to remain anonymous, please choose a different way to vote.

Regardless of voting method, please only cast one vote.
The Admin Council will certify the vote on Thursday, February 23, 2023 and notification of the vote will follow from the church office.
•  Ken Mulzer, Jr., Chair
•  Loyce Kulbeth, Recording Secretary
•  Mary Helen Brown, Lay Member
•  Denise Richlen, SPRC Chair
•  Evan Weatherford, Trustee
•  Sherrill Clark, Finance Chair
•  Deann Siegel, COM Chair
•  Susan Teaford, Treasurer
•  Judy Heilman, SS Superintendent
•  Dean Merder
•  Staci Jones
•  Greg Turner
•  Leah Koch
•  Bud Schaaf
•  Bruce Tesch