Due to the threat of inclement weather, Rev. Durwood Foshee has requested rescheduling the UMC presentation originally set for Thursday, November 10th at 7:00 pm.
Subsequently, the GMC presentation scheduled for Wednesday, November 16th at 7:00 pm with Rev. Chris Ackers will also be rescheduled.
Please disregard any other communications to the contrary.
We will inform you as soon as new dates have been announced. Thank you for your understanding.
Please note: Certain times and dates are subject to change. Please return to this page often or join our email mailing list to stay up-to-date on all communications.
UPCOMING DATES & EVENTS:
Wednesday, November 9th at 7:00 pm in the FLC - Study Team Meeting. You are welcome to attend.
Date to be rescheduled - Join us to hear speakers: Rev. Durwood Foshee, District Superintendent North East District, and Rev. Wayne Wiatt, District Superintendent North West District as they speak on the United Methodist Church. *This meeting is open to the public. Make plans to come early to get a seat.
Date to be rescheduled - Join us in the Family Life Center at 7:00 pm to hear speaker: Rev. Chris Ackers as he speaks on the Global Methodist Church. *This meeting is open to the public. Make plans to come early to get a seat.
Date to be rescheduled - Rev. Durwood Foshee, District Superintendent, NE Florida present for charge conference to vote.
Q&A with the Study Team - 8/14/22
On Sunday, August 14, the Study Team hosted a Q&A session with Pastor Phillip. Some really good questions were asked, and some super helpful responses were provide. Worth the watch!!
Procedure and Checklist for Local Churches Concerning Disaffiliation Under Paragraph 2553 of The Book of Discipline between November 2021 to Annual Conference in June 2022 from the Florida Conference United Methodist Church
United Methodist Church - features several pages and links to help churches and clergy navigate the present moment in the UMC.
We would like to invite all who is interested to a special gathering in the Family Life Center this Sunday, August 14th at 10:00 a.m. As you know, the United Methodist Church is in a season of division. You are invited to come and hear an update from some of our committee leaders this Sunday.
There have been some on-going conversations about the United Methodist Church, the divisions that are coming to our denomination, and how Southside United Methodist Church will address them. During this season it is important to ask: “What does the Bible say?” A presentation on what the Bible says and how it pertains to the conversations in the UMC.
Pastor Phillip and the Decision 2022 Study Team will be giving a special talk on Sunday, May 15 at 12:00 pm about the issues that are presently challenging the United Methodist Church. This talk will be given in the Family Life Center and lunch will be served. Please make sure to RSVP to reserve your spot by May 11th.
The talk, which will be identical to the one given at the April SWM meeting, and will address five questions:
1. Who were we? 2. What have we become and how did we get here? 3. What is before us? 4. What are our options? 5. What can I do?
Pastor Phillip will offer his explanation of all of the above. You will have an opportunity to ask written questions. We will provide note cards and pens for your use.
Update August 18, 2022
Dear Southside United Methodist Church Family,
As you are aware, the United Methodist Church is currently facing difficult times with some congregations in the Florida Annual Conference deciding to disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church. Some congregations in the Florida Annual Conference have disaffiliated from the United Methodist Church, some have filed a lawsuit against the Florida Annual Conference and its leadership team to leave the United Methodist Church, while others are doing nothing. It was our decision at Southside United Methodist Church to form a study group to gather information regarding this issue and present our findings to the congregation to allow our church members to make the final decision on the future direction of our church.
Many of you may have seen a copy of a recent letter that was sent to the Bishop of the Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church. This letter was a form letter used by other churches in our conference. It was thought that this format was needed to coordinate a conference with our District Superintendent in order to schedule the congregational vote. We did not and do not agree with the language in this letter as it does not align with the values of our church family. Regrettably, we realize the wording of the letter of intent has caused pain for members of our congregation, and for that, we apologize.
Please know that no decision to disaffiliate or not has been made to date. The decision on whether to disaffiliate or not from the United Methodist Church will only be made by a vote of the congregation that attends a charge conference pursuant to section 2553 of the United Methodist Church Book of Discipline.
All the Study Team meetings have been open to all church members to attend. The Study Team also wanted to present the information they had obtained to date to the entire congregation and answer questions that the congregation wanted to ask. This was done on August 14, 2022, at 10 AM. Please see the link below to view the presentation. Once again, there has been no decision by the study group to disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church. This will entirely be up to the church membership that votes at a Charge Conference, pursuant to section 2553 of the United Methodist Church Book of Discipline.
We pray for God's guidance through these difficult times. We also pray for God's blessing on the entire Southside United Methodist Church family.
Reece E. Comer, Jr. Chair of the Church, Administrative Council
Letter of Intent
Update Letter 7/18/2022
Dear Brothers & Sister in Christ,
Each congregation in the United Methodist Church is at a place where it needs to make a decision. Does that congregation wish to be progressive and continue in the UMC? Or does that congregation desire to be more traditional as part of the GMC? Whether we like it or not these questions and the need for this decision to be made are coming even to Southside.
The United Methodist Church has long described itself as a “big tent.” This “big tent” paradigm is an attempt to describe an institution that has a wide variety of theological approaches within it. Some of the approaches are conservative, evangelical, charismatic, orthodox, moderate, liberal, and progressive. Some of the movements within the church are exclusively committed to evangelism, discipleship, or missions. Some are given over to a variety of socio-political or justice causes. You may well anticipate that such a wide diversity of approaches can make life interesting. It may be more accurate to say that our wide diversity of approaches has made such things as institutional focus a tremendous challenge. Over the years some of these different approaches have made coalitions and sought to control the resources and direction of the denominational church. One of the unfortunate aspects of the “big tent” approach is that different caucuses tend to form and work to out-position those who are thought of as the opposition. It has been difficult to maintain denominational unity. At times the different approaches seem as if they are rowing in opposite directions.
The United Methodist Church began talking about the possibility of dividing decades ago. The foundational reasons for disagreement have much to do with the source of authority and the interpretation of scripture. The presenting issue of today has to do with the LGBTQIA+ issues and the place of marriage and/or ordination.
All the while, Southside United Methodist Church has continued to be a welcoming, family-friendly community Church loving the Lord Jesus from the point at Hendricks Ave. and San Jose Blvd. Generations of Methodists, and eventually then United Methodists, have grown up at Southside. We have worshiped, gone to Sunday School, raised our children in the preschool and children’s ministry, sent our teens to the youth ministry, and done missions projects alongside one another over the years. We have reached out to love our neighbors and serve those in need through worldwide missions. Despite debates heating up at General Conferences, Southside has continued to be a church focused on Jesus, through learning, loving, and living Him. We have always and will continue to focus on scripture, helping serve our community and world through mission, and welcoming and loving our community and the Southside family.
On the denominational level, the major poles in the “big tent” are drifting even farther apart. Different votes, decisions, and reactions at General Conference 2016 and 2019 and in the aftermath of 2020 deepened the divisions. Thus the truth is that there is not much unity in The United Methodist Church today. The division that has long been talked about in the upper echelons of the denomination are now coming to every church and congregation.
In light of these circumstances, Southside United Methodist Church has to put together a “Study Team.” The purpose of this study team is to gather knowledge and information about these very complex discussions. Once as much information as possible has been gathered, they will then share the findings and information gathered with the Southside congregation. The Southside congregation thus being better informed of all the options available to Southside United Methodist Church will vote to decide which expression of Methodism best matches our congregation.
The question before us is do we stay in The United Methodist Church or do we join the new expression of Methodism that is “The Global Methodist Church.” Please note, that moving forward the continuing United Methodist Church is on a newer, progressive course. While the “new” expression, The Global Methodist Church, is more like classical and traditional Methodism. We as a church body must decide collectively, which is the best fit for Southside?
We want to assure you of a number of different things.
1. The Study Team is not secret. Anyone who wants to come and sit in on a meeting is welcome to do so.
2. The Study Team was not created to commit Southside to either direction. Its purpose is to gather information to better inform the Southside congregation of all the options available prior to a church-member-wide vote.
3. It is important to note neither the Church nor the Study Team has committed any funds toward any decision.
4. The Study Team has an email address, email@example.com, specifically created to receive your questions, thoughts, ponderings, and observations. Please feel you can email the team anytime.
5. The Study Team has provided a number of different presentations available to anyone about the history of the denominational conflict, and what the Bible says about the issues that are before us followed by a question and answer session. The next presentation will be with Pastor Dale on Sunday, July 24th at 6:00 pm in the Chapel. Please make plans to join.
6. In the very near future (date to be determined) the Study Team will sponsor a presentation from UMC, the continuing United Methodist Church, on what the UMC is going to look like after the traditional Methodists leave.
7. Additionally the Study Team will also sponsor a presentation (date to be determined) from GMC, the Global Methodist Church, on the new expression of Methodism for “traditional” Methodists.
8. Once the Study Team has disseminated as much information as possible, they will have a congregation-wide presentation on their findings and then finally a church member-wide vote to decide which option of Methodism is the best fit for Southside.
What can you do until then?
1. Pray for our Church, the Study Team, and our present and future.
2. Pray for focus, unity, and witness.
3. Pick up the phone and make an appointment to visit with one of your pastors. Let them know your thoughts, even if you think that they will agree or disagree with you. It is important that you be heard, and it is important that you understand yourself to be honored, respected, and loved.
4. Pray for our future, that it may be God-honoring, Jesus-centered, Spirit-filled, life-transforming, scripture-focused, life-transforming, mercy-flavored, and grace-blessed.
Pastor Phillip Short & Reece Comer, Chair Study Team
Important Letter from Pastor Phillip - March 23, 2022
Dear Southside family,
A couple of weeks ago I read a letter to the congregation. It was calling attention to the pending division in our denomination. A copy of that letter was sent via email, linked in the newsletter, and posted on the sumcjax.org website.
I have since asked leadership members of Southside to serve on a “Study Team.” I have asked them to research the options that are available to Southside moving forward. This team will carefully review, learn and study all the options. After they have taken a season doing so, they will report to the Southside congregation. Upon hearing this report, you will have a voice and a vote as well.
The “Decision 2022 Team” is comprised of the following church leadership:
Reece Comer (Chair of the Church Council)
Bill Langley (Chair of the Finance Committee)
Matthew Posgay (Chair of the Pastor/Staff-Parish Relations Committee)
Corey Dawson (Chair of the Board of Trustees)
Bill Daniel (Lay Leader)
Marilyn Myrick (Delegate to the Annual Conference)
Teddy Foster (Delegate to the Annual Conference)
I and Pastor Dale will attend the meetings. We will have a “voice,” but no vote. Mara Webb will attend the meetings in the capacity of Communication Director. She will also not have a vote.
Please find below a link to this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org - If you have any questions, comments, or concerns that you wish to raise, you may email them to the Decision 2022 Team.
The Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church has announced an offering of informational meetings. The schedule is listed below. You will notice that some of them are available here in the Jacksonville area. Some are offered online via zoom. The Study Committee encourages all who are interested to attend one of the meetings.
There will also be other presentations that will feature speakers that represent the other options that are available. We will advertise the dates as soon as they are scheduled.
Please continue to pray. Pray for the unity and protection of the church and resolve to be part of the solution. Pray for the Study Team. If you ever have any conversation about this with anyone, either in agreement or disagreement, please end it with prayer for the Christ-centered focus of the church.
A Letter from Pastor Phillip - March 14, 2022
A Letter From Pastor Phillip Short
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Most of us have heard that there is a tension that is present on the denominational level of the United Methodist Church. That tension is about the source of authority. What is the reliable source of authority of Christian teaching, of right and wrong, orthodox or unorthodox, in-bounds or out-of-bounds? Orthodox churches go to scripture for their authority. Some will say that the tension in the UMC is the definition of marriage and expectations around ordination. I would say that these are the “presenting issues” in a question that is as old as scripture and Eden itself: “By what authority? Did God really say?” The tension in the UMC today is the question of where we derive our authority.
The United Methodist Church was formed in 1968. It formed a “Book of Discipline” that contained the rules of the church. It agreed to meet every 4 years as a General Conference and reaffirm the teachings of the church. At the UMC’s first General Conference there were motions to redefine marriage and ordination standards. Those motions were defeated. They have reappeared at every General Conference ever since. They were defeated and the church’s teachings remained in place. A special called General Conference took place in 2019 to meet only on this issue. It was defeated again. But some pastors, churches, boards of Ordained Ministry, bishops, and even annual conferences decided to ignore the General Conference’s decision. The UMC has been in chaos on these issues ever since.
In January 2020, a special meeting was called by, among others, Bishop Ken Carter; the bishop of the Florida Annual Conference of the UMC. It called together members of advocacy groups that were both progressive and traditionalist. They all acknowledged the impasse, stalemate, distraction, hurt, and pain that was present over these issues. With the help of a well-known arbitrator, this group came up with a recommendation that the United Methodist Church have a parting of the ways. They essentially came up with a motion that would allow progressives to keep the United Methodist Church. They also agreed that traditionalist churches would be allowed to depart from the United Methodist Church and take their property and assets with them without penalty. Churches that opt to remain traditional in their constitution would be required to join another Methodist denomination. Their document is called: “The Protocol of Grace and Reconciliation through Separation.” It is referred to as “The Protocol.”
Traditional-minded Methodists began working on building a new, traditional Methodist denomination almost immediately. They have named themselves “The Global Methodist Church.” It is much like the UMC in its pre-2019 form, with some simplifications in its Discipline. But this is all very complicated. This “protocol” was simply a motion. It would need approval from the General Conference, which was scheduled to meet in 2020. But Covid disallowed GC, and it was moved to 2021. Then Covid disallowed the 2021 GC and it got rescheduled to 2022. The committee that decides such things announced this past week that it has now rescheduled GC to 2024.
This prolongs a season of uncertainty. And the protocol is just a motion. Once a GC sits down to work with it, it may look completely different on the other side of the plenary sessions. Amendments will probably take place. And even then, there is the chance that a GC would table it until yet another 4 years pass and a different set of delegates passes it at yet another GC. To complicate issues, even more, the Global Methodist Church, on the heels of the postponement of GC 2022 announced that they are coming into existence on May 1. This caught me by surprise. I thought that this was at least a year to a few years from coming to our doorstep.
What does this mean to us at Southside? The day will come when we will need to figure out where we best fit. We ought to consider what the post-separation UMC would look like. It is somewhat easy to consider this because Southside has been UM since 1968. But we need to keep in mind that the post-separation UMC is going to have a different makeup, especially if traditional Methodists are no longer present to provide a balance or a healthy tension. Southside UMC also owes it to itself to consider what the Global Methodist Church offers and to consider whether or not this will be a good fit. In the future, I hope to have a representative from the Florida Annual Conference to speak of the possible fit of the post-separation UMC. I also hope to have a representative from the Global Methodist Church come and make a case. Eventually, when the church has studied up on the issue, we will have a congregation-wide vote on what will be the best fit.
The culture is consumed by this conversation. It will tell us that we either have to be full of love, support, and approval or full of hate. I am convinced that there is a middle ground that will welcome everyone, not in the name of inculcating sexual preferences, but introducing anyone with what Jesus called “ears to hear” with the gospel, life-transforming message of Christ. We are a church that believes in learning, loving, and living Christ. We need to fix our gaze on Christ. We don’t have to, we get to. We can minimize division and keep the main thing the main thing if we do this. These issues were around long before the formation of the UMC. They were present in the church in Corinth when Paul brought the Gospel of Christ to them. He wrote to them: “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). This is the purpose of the church. Let’s not take our eyes off of the ball or get distracted from this holy purpose.
Let’s also please remember that we are talking about real people with hearts and souls and stories of their very own. They are loved by Jesus. In our discussions and in our debates let’s keep this in mind. Gay friends and relatives have a diversity of approaches on these issues, and they are unfortunately a rope in a tug-of-war in our cultural rifts. Most did not ask to be put in this position, and for the most part, they simply want to be left alone. And lastly, pray. Pray for the unity and protection of the church and resolve to be part of the solution. If you ever have any conversation about this with anyone, either in agreement or disagreement, please end it with prayer for the Christ-centered focus of the church.
I vow to keep you informed as information comes available.
Rev. Phillip Short Southside United Methodist Church