Bishop Coyner of the Indiana Conference has offered some very interesting ideas about one possible way forward in the UMC. The meat of the proposal is this: “What if we allowed each AC around the world to make its own decisions on all matters other than those restricted by the Constitution? What if we allowed each AC to be innovative and flexible on all matters other than our basic doctrine and theological task (as outlined elsewhere in the current Book of Discipline)?” He then asks a number of questions regarding the implications of giving annual conferences much more latitude to establish policies that are now determined by the General Conference.
Here’s my question: Doesn’t this simply shift the problem of division from the General Conference to individual annual conferences? Rather than seeing our entire denomination divide at the level of the General Conferences, won’t we see annual conferences split over the same issues?
I’d be interested in your feedback on this matter.