• If two-thirds of our members vote to disaffiliate, we have an amount of money we have to pay to the United Methodist Church for pastors’ pensions, unpaid healthcare, etc. The payment amount required by disaffiliation will be approximately $325,000. In addition, there would be other miscellaneous costs for legal counsel, rebranding, etc. In addition, upon disaffiliation the United Methodist Church would transfer title of assets including our Church building and property and the Santa Claus United Methodist Church Cemetery to our congregation. The vote will have to be approved at Indiana Annual Conference in June, 2023, and will become effective July 1, when our church will need to tender payment.
If the Church were to approve disaffiliation, our future options would be:
• Become an unaffiliated church: (Ex. Santa Claus Community Church). Our congregation will be responsible for finding our own pastor from that time forward and we would cover pension, healthcare, and other benefits for our senior pastor. We will no longer owe apportionment (Church tithe) to the United Methodist Denomination. If we choose to pursue this option, we will likely need to have a pastor ready by July 1, 2023, and we will need to form our own bylaws and file for a new 401(c)3 organization by then as well.
• Join another church denomination: Our congregation might consider joining with another denomination. We could affiliate with another Wesleyan denomination such as Presbyterian, Lutheran, Global Methodist, etc. There are a few benefits including likely not having to find our own pastor or form new bylaws. A new affiliation would likely require paying apportionment to a new organization, just as we do the United Methodist Denomination now.