Bandera UMC Discernment Resources

Welcome to our Discernment page. Here you will find the latest updates and helpful resources for the UMC Discernment process. These resources include links to files, websites and videos that have been helpful to our staff, leadership and congregation here at Bandera UMC . There is also an FAQ section at the bottom of the page that will be updated weekly. Using the form provided, please submit any questions you may have. 

Discernment Team Mission Statement

To provide a sufficient amount of factual information to BUMC members, 

through various easily accessible communication channels and formats, 

so that they are able to gain a good understanding of the issues and options

and can make a well-informed decision regarding disaffiliation. 

Weekly Prayer & Scripture For Discernment

    Dear God, thank you for Your guidance. Our hearts are indeed scorched and in need of Your guidance. Please make Your desire for this congregation known plain and clear as we near the date of our vote. We ask in Jesus mighty name, Amen.

"And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places."

                                                                                                                                                                                             Isaiah 58:11

click here to view our discernment TEAM



Frequently Asked Questions

1. Question: If we do not disaffiliate by December 31st, 2023, then we lose our building and assets, is this correct? 

     Answer:  In the guidelines for disaffiliation under paragraph 2553 of the Discipline, the local church will keep its real and personal, tangible and intangible property, if we disaffiliate. This paragraph expires on December 31, 2023. Disaffiliations after this date, including the handling of property, will be addressed under paragraph 2549. Current Disaffiliation Policy, as relates to property, states that the Conference Board of Trustees will continue to enter into agreements with local churches that desire to exit the Annual Conference on the same terms as outlined in 2553. This policy is in place until at least December 31, 2024. 

2. Question: What percentage of member votes are needed in order to disaffiliate? Is there a minimum age requirement in order to vote for disaffiliation? And do they need to be present to vote?

     Answer: A disaffiliation resolution must be approved by a two-thirds majority of the professing members of the church who are present and voting at the scheduled church conference.

3. Question: When will the church hold its first listening session and who will be present? Our current UMC District Superintendent?

     Answer: The BUMC Lead Team will be scheduling three listening sessions with the District Superintendent during the six month discernment period. We are looking at late May to early June for our first session. We are working with the DS now to schedule the first meeting. The DS or their assigned representative will be present at these meetings. Once the date is confirmed, the church membership will be notified so they can plan accordingly.

4. Question:  When will we know the costs involved? From what I have heard we pay two years of apportionments and one year towards the pastors retirement. Also, what costs may be incurred with our TMF loan. We will no longer be under a name that appears on the loan docs, so does that mean a new loan with new costs and a new interest rate. Has thought been given to all the signage with BUMC and the flame and cross that we can no longer use? Could this easily add up to $100,000.00 and if so can we afford it?

     Answer:  As pointed out in your question, there are financial implications to our church if the decision is made to disaffiliate. Our Discernment Lead Team has discussed the topic and has designated this as a focus area for our team. The BUMC Finance Committee has already begun to identify the various costs associated with disaffiliation. We do not have a total cost estimate at this early stage of the discernment process, but we do recognize the importance of making that calculation. We will have estimated costs in the next two months and will share them with our church membership at that time. These cost estimates will be made and shared well before our membership will have to make a decision on disaffiliation. 

5. Question:  If a church disaffiliates, then does it affect the pension of an already retired pastor from the church who is drawing their pension?

     Answer:   According to the Rio Texas Conference, the disaffiliation of a church has no direct affect on a retired pastor. The payment of the pension liability by the church at the time of disaffiliation is how the pensions of those who have already retired is secured.

6. Question:   How many UMC churches in Texas have voted to disaffiliate?

     Answer:   As of December of 2022, a total of 546 churches out of a total of 1260 have voted, and have been approved by their respective conferences, to leave the UMC in Texas. This represents 43.3% of the UMC churches in the state. Although the number of disaffiliations in 2023 has not been made available yet, there have been additional churches leave UMC this year. The current percentage of churches in Texas that have voted to leave the UMC is now close to 50%. 

7. Question:   Why shouldn't we wait until after the next General Conference in 2024 to see if changes are made to the Book of Discipline before considering disaffiliation from UMC?

     Answer:   Many churches have decided not to wait until after the 2024 General Conference based upon the actions and teachings that are currently taking place, in some areas of UMC, that are contrary to the Book of Discipline. At the special General Conference in 2019, a Traditional Plan was approved to uphold stronger compliance with the Book of Discipline. Some UMC bishops and clergy announced that they would defy the decision of this conference. As a result, there has been some non-compliance with the BOD over issues related to human sexuality without anyone being held to account for their actions. With the existence of this divisiveness within UMC, a pathway to disaffiliation was established for churches with the addition of paragraph 2553 in the Discipline. Since the pathway that is outlined in this paragraph expires on December 31, 2023, many churches are going through the discernment process now and a significant number of congregations are choosing to leave UMC prior to the end of the year.

8. Question:  If we decide to disaffiliate and go with GMC or Independent, can we still be called Bandera Methodist Church?

     Answer:   According to the Rio Texas Conference, there are no restrictions around the use of Methodist in the name of a church. The word Methodist is not a trademark and cannot be trademarked. If a church disaffiliates, then they can no longer be named a United Methodist Church. There are a number of UMC churches that have recently disaffiliated that have Methodist in their new name.

9. Question:  If we leave the UMC and join the GMC, then will we continue to support the UMC in any way, shape or form? And, if so, in what manner?

     Answer:  If BUMC were to disaffiliate, then it would no longer be a part of the UMC or have any type of formal or legal relationship with them. If this were to happen, then the church would no longer be supporting the UMC through apportionments. If BUMC were to disaffiliate and join the GMC, then apportionments, which are calculated at a much lower rate than for UMC, would be paid to the GMC.