Methodists/Constituent Status

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Question
I have been a life-long member of the United Methodist Church.  However, I want to change from member to constituent because I do not believe in the content of the creeds and the basic beliefs of the Christian religion.  I am also very disgusted with the Social Principles' stand on homosexuality.  I have an emotional connection to the church, but I'm in conflict with my own beliefs every time I attend the services.  I am much more comfortable in a class that discusses social issues.  I would like to find a religious community that shares my beliefs, but there isn't one available in my area.  I believe that I best fit in the category of a humanist religion.  I don't believe in a personal God, but I do believe in a creator of the universe.  I don't believe in heaven or hell, and I don't believe in a God that listens to prayer.  I'm not sure where I fit, but I don't fit in the Christian religion.  Help!

Answer
Dear Marjorie:

    I'm always glad to see your first name, because my mother was a Marjorie. My wife has a son who is a chef on the Upper Peninsula.

    As you know, the category of "constituent" would best fit your situation. Paragraph 230.3 of the 2012 Discipline describes members of the Constituency Roll as being persons who are not members, but "for whom the local church has pastoral responsibility." You would not be eligible to hold office in the church, but you would continue to be welcome at such worship, classes, and other events as you chose to attend. You would talk with the pastor and request to be removed from the "professing members" roll and placed on the constituent roll.

    It seems to me that the Unitarian/Universalist Church would be closest to your theological stance. There may not be one nearby, though.  

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The Rev. William E. Olewiler

Expertise

United Methodist church structure and doctrine. Science and religion. Christian Education and the Sunday School. Religion and race. Women in the church. United Methodist pastor for 22 years. Member, commissions on Religion and Race and Status and Role of Women. Masters in Divinity and Religious Education.

Experience

Ordained deacon and elder, United Methodist Church. District and conference leadership.

Education/Credentials
Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, George Washington University, Washington DC Master of Arts, Political Science, Brown University, Providence RI Master of Arts, Teaching Secondary Social Studies, Teachers College/Columbia University, New York NY Master of Divinity, Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington DC Doctor of Ministry, Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington DC

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