“Announcement… will push churches to accelerate their plans to disaffiliate…”

Media Contacts: Barbara Fornasiero, EAFocus Communications; barbara@eafocus.com; 248.260.8466; Dan Dalton; ddalton@daltontomich.com; 248.229.2329

Detroit —-March 3, 2022—It was almost one year ago to the day when the United Methodist Church (UMC) announced, citing pandemic concerns, it would hold off until 2022 to discuss the Separation Protocol at the General Conference in person. Today’s announcement that the General Conference and Separation Protocol discussion are again being canceled – this time until 2024 – is a stall tactic aimed to slow down the increasing number of departures from the UMC. And it won’t work, according to Daniel Dalton, a religious property and land use attorney with national law firm Dalton & Tomich, who has assisted hundreds of local churches leave the UMC, retain their church property and continue as flourishing non-denominational congregations.

“As the world emerges from the pandemic, in-person meetings are happening, even on a global scale. This announcement of the General Conference delay is not pandemic-related. It is an attempt to keep local churches who are waiting for an amicable departure plan in a holding pattern. But I’m quite certain it will have the opposite effect and push churches to accelerate their plans to disaffiliate, hastening the demise of the United Methodist Church,” Dalton said.

Dalton notes that even if the General Conference were to take place as scheduled, there is no desire by the Council of Bishops to allow a vote for separation – and that’s unlikely to change.

“Many local churches who have already separated, especially the larger ones, have learned they don’t need a formal denominational affiliation. They are growing and thriving as independent churches,” Dalton said.

A brief video addressing the reasons behind the General Conference cancellation and an exploration of local church options moving forward can be found on the Dalton & Tomich website.

Dalton is the author of the desk reference, Religious Property Disputes and the Law: House of God, Laws of Man, published by the American Bar Association in 2021. He is also the author of two eBooks on the topic of UMC separations: UMC Separation Plan 2021: What Your Church Needs to Do Now, and What the Proposed UMC Separation Means for Your Church. His firm represented more than 50 local churches in 2021 seeking to separate from their mainline denominations, including the United Methodist Church, while retaining their property using denominational trust clauses. The firm also represents religious institutions throughout the country in cases related to the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA).

 About Dalton + Tomich
Established in 2010, Dalton + Tomich PLC is comprised of religious liberty, land use, denominational trust law, and business law attorneys. Learn more about our services at https://www.daltontomich.com/.