Trustees' Report Gives Update on Disaffiliation Process

During the Corporate Session of the West Ohio Annual Conference, Ann Baird, chair of the West Ohio Board of Trustees, reported the following:

  • The renovation of the West Ohio Conference center is now complete, including increased meeting space and offices for the Capitol Area districts, which will save over $600,000 over a 10-year span. The project is fully paid for and there is no debt on it. Feel free to stop by for a visit!
  • Routine and preventive maintenance continues at the three West Ohio camps, but no major building projects have arisen over the past year.
  • Seven churches have closed in the past year: Pickerington Trinity (CAS), Fairfield Beach (CAS), New Zion Hocking (FTH), Turning Point (MWS), Water’s Edge (ORV), Victory Chapel (SHV), and Bethel in Lawrence County.
  • Working with Extended Cabinet, the Board of Trustees agreed to a new process for allocating closed church proceeds in a more strategic way so these resources become an investment in future ministries.
  • Performance for Conference investments of more than $82 million was down at the end of 2018, but in the first quarter of 2019 was back to market highs.
  • The Board of Trustees continues to work with all of West Ohio’s affiliated organizations, including senior living facilities, UMCH Family Services, the Charitable Pharmacy of Central Ohio, OhioHealth, the United Methodist Financial Credit Union, and the Preacher’s Relief Society.

Also during the Corporate Session, Conference Chancellor Chris Hogan reported on changes following the 2019 Special General Conference. Highlights of the newly passed disaffiliation process include…

  • Disaffiliation can only be for disagreement with the Book of Discipline on the issue of homosexuality.
  • Begins with a church conference called by the District Superintendent.
  • Sets minimum costs to be covered by disaffiliating churches, including two years’ apportionments and the church’s share of the Conference’s unfunded pension liability.
  • Provides for annual conferences to establish additional costs of disaffiliation.
  • Each disaffiliation agreement must be adopted/approved by a majority vote of the Annual Conference.

More information will be provided at this year’s West Ohio Legal Forum on Friday, October 25, at Ohio Wesleyan University. At the end of both reports, the Annual Conference voted to adopt the Trustees Report as given.