The United Methodist Church will likely be different in 2020, but the pastor of two Kewaunee County congregations hopes the changes will not be drastic. In February, the UMC General Conference chose to stick to its ban of same-sex marriages and gay clergy, spurring efforts to make changes to the church’s Book of Discipline to allow it to be more inclusive. While some fear a sharp divide or full split of the denomination, Pastor Jennifer Emert of Algoma United Methodist Church and West Kewaunee United Methodist Church hopes the United States becomes its own regional conference. She says that would allow them more autonomy like other conferences in the denomination.
Emert says some UMC congregations in places like Africa that have been blamed for the passage of the “traditional plan” already operate under their own regional conferences and do not have to follow everything in the Book of Discipline.