ENID, Oklahoma— The Willow View United Methodist Church voted Tuesday to disaffiliate from The United Methodist Church with a majority of 188 voting members, 73 percent, voting in favor of disaffiliating.
The process now moves to the Oklahoma United Methodist board of directors to review the disaffiliation documents, which will be voted on for approval on September 21. If approved, it will be taken up by the special annual Conference of The United Methodist Church beginning Oct. 21-22. If approved there, Willow View will have 14 days to fulfill any further obligations to formalize the disaffiliation.
Mark McAdow, pastor of what will now be known as Willow View Church for a short time, said the focus was on next steps pending disaffiliation approval.
“We’re just going to be an independent church for a while, I’ll say probably six months or something, so it’ll be until the new year,” McAdow said. “We will simply be known as Willow View Church and then approach our members about the possibility of affiliating with another denomination.”
McAdow said there are several denominations they would consider joining, the most likely being the Worldwide Methodist Church. McAdow said the World Methodist Church began on May 1, it was previously the conservative United Methodists, who left the United Methodist Church.
“The structure is going to be very similar to the United Methodist structure, but there will be less hierarchy, less bureaucracy,” McAdow said. “There will be fewer guarantees, as you will not be a bishop for life, there will be term limits.”
McAdow said there are hundreds of thousands of churches in America that are in the process of disaffiliation. He said there are also whole conferences that are disaffiliating, which has led to other conferences forming around new denominations.
“It’s more focused on local churches, although as Global Methodists it will also be a global church,” McAdow said. “Because there are actually conferences around the world that are also disaffiliating from The United Methodist Church and affiliating with World Methodists. If I understand correctly, when there are 120 churches in the region, they will form a conference. So it could be Oklahoma, or Oklahoma and Texas, or wherever, they’ll form their own conference to deal with these kinds of regional issues. But we will also support global initiatives. So our repartition dollars will also go to that.
With the disaffiliation vote now approved by the Willow View congregation, McAdow said there is a lot of work to be done in the coming months to ensure they strengthen their belief in God’s will.
“There is some relief that the decision has been made. We had a really good showing here with 188 voting members,” McAdow said. “So we had a strong majority of our people present who we are in favor of disaffiliating with so that we can maintain the integrity of the word of God and continue the mission of Jesus Christ here in Enid and beyond. So there are many changes taking place in the coming weeks and months that will require special attention, but we believe we are fulfilling God’s will for our family of churches. »
Nearly 50 people either voted against disaffiliation or voted to abstain, which was counted as a no. McAdow said some members of the congregation chose to associate with other United Methodist churches in Enid.
“Some people are making the decision to partner with other United Methodist churches in Enid, as we would have expected.”
While Willow View Church will be independent for a few months, McAdow said the first thing to do is let the dust settle. He also said that they will then refocus and make sure their mission is in line with God’s will, then look at all the options on the table and then present them to their congregation to make an informed decision on what to do next. step for the church.