Discerning Our Way Forward

As the First Church congregation discerns its way forward in this time of denominational confusion and conflict, we offer this webpage as a way to provide resources and updates on issues in the United Methodist Church.


Frequently asked questions about current issues in the UMC

This FAQ page was developed by the PAT and will be updated as the Team continues to receive more questions.

Comparison of Proposals to General Conference 2020

This summary compares proposals from various groups, in alphabetical order, about the structure of The UMC. It does not include proposals from individuals. Further details are in the documents and legislation. All proposals will be open for amendments at General Conference and may be subject to Judicial Council review.



March 18, 2020

Church leaders chose to postpone the General Conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the full article from UM News here.

January 30, 2020

UM News, a division of United Methodist Communicaitons (for and about United Methodists) published this story of what is expected to be discussed and voted on at the upcoming General Conference in May in Minneapolis.  It presents a fair, thorough and non-biased account.

January 12, 2020

The Pastor’s Advisory Team (PAT), in collaboration with the Christian Education Department, released a schedule for All-Church Sunday School classes. See the full schedule here.

January 3, 2020

The Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church issued this statement in support of a “Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace for Separation” plan introduced by a diverse group of representatives from United Methodist advocacy groups.  The plan must still be formulated into legislation and submitted to the Committee on General Conference.  It is important to remember that contrary to what is being reported in the media, this is another of the several plans already submitted (a link to a summary of other plans is found under the December 6 date below.)

The press release can be found here, and you can access a Frequently Asked Questions document here.

December 19, 2019

Central Conference delegates and other members proposed a plan called A Christmas Covenant: Our Gift of Hope. This proposal calls for: 1) suspension of all actions furthering any dissolution or separation plans, 2) suspension of liquidation and distribution of assets of the United Methodist Church, 3) formation of a U.S. Regional Conference, and 4) establishment of legislative equality for central and jurisdictional conference. The full details of the plan can be found here.

December 6, 2019

United Methodist News offered this updated summary, which compares proposals from various groups about the structure of the UMC. The proposals will be open for amendments at General Conference in May 2020.

December 5, 2019

The Church Council of First Church sent this letter reaffirming First Church as a Reconciling Congregation and supporting the pastors’ decision to serve all of God’s children in terms of marriage equality.

November 20, 2019

First Church clergy sent this letter to reaffirm the 2015 decision that First Church clergy will officiate weddings for same-gender and different-gender couples and welcome these weddings in our church building.

November 19, 2019 — Three updates on UM issues

Bishop Sally Dyck
Bishop Sally Dyck

Northern Illinois Conference Bishop Sally Dyck gave this Episcopal Address at the Nov. 16 Special Session in which she promises not to facilitate or move on toward trial complaints against LGBTQ clergy or clergy who perform same-gender weddings.

Delegates to the Northern Central Jurisdiction, released a statement at their Nov. 14, 2019 meeting, that expresses repentance of abuse of privilege and power and calls for a moratorium on complaints, charges, and trials related to officiating same-gendered weddings and LGBTQIA+ identity and credentialing. 

The Northern Illinois Exploration Team issued this Conference Identity Statement at the Nov. 16 Special Session which affirms the sacred worth of LGBTQIA+ persons, and commits to being in ministry together.

November 18, 2019

Our First Church Annual Conference delegates, represented by Martha Rudy and Nancy Pendergrass, sent this report to the congregation regarding the Northern Illinois Conference Special Session they attended on Nov. 16.

November 4, 2019

The First Church Pastoral Advisory Team (PAT) issues this report to the congregation on their own work, that of the Northern Illinois Conference, and the work of the Judicial Council.