Old Fort Church is currently in the process of voting on whether or not to disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church. This page will hopefully give you a little more information about this process and what we have learned so far. If you have any further questions, we would be more than happy to answer them as best as we can. Simply call the church office at 41-992-4336. If no one is available, please leave us a message and we'll contact you as soon as possible.
VOTING WILL TAKE PLACE ON MONDAY, MARCH 27, at 7:00 pm
(per the denomination, only official members of the church may vote)
UMC = United Methodist Church (Our current denomination)
GMC = Global Methodist Church (The new denomination)
1. If we decide to disaffiliate, would serious thought be given to disposing of assets
(old parsonage) to assist in funding of the disaffiliation?
Affordable housing in the area is challenging in our current times, and so utilizing the old
parsonage as an affordable rental for our Family Life Director has been a valuable resource. There are no current intentions to dispose of it.
2. What would happen if we waited until after December 31, 2023?
The exit option put in place at the special 2019 General Conference expires December 31, 2023. It is unknown if the 2024 General Conference will enable a new disaffiliation option. Before the current option, churches could disaffiliate by leaving their buildings, properties, and assets, or each individual conference might choose to negotiate financial terms allowing churches to retain buildings, properties, and assets. A clear path to disaffiliation and retention of buildings,
properties, and assets after December 31, 2023 is not promised.
3. If we went “independent,” does or would the church be allowed to hire a preacher
of their choosing?
If the membership of Old Fort Church votes to disaffiliate from the UMC, and to remain as an
independent church, they will be responsible for finding and hiring their pastors. If they choose to affiliate with the new GMC, then there will be a new appointment process for acquiring
pastors. This process allows more voice and decision from the local church than the current
process of the UMC.
4. Could we maintain being independent with a GMC pastor?
No. Temporarily, the GMC will allow a GMC pastor to serve a church as it’s discerning whether it will join the GMC or not, but they will not allow a GMC pastor to be appointed to a church that chooses to remain independent.
5. What are the fees for joining the GMC and does the GMC require paying apportionments?
There are no fees to join the GMC. GMC churches do pay apportionments, but at a much lower percentage rate than the current UMC, by around a 27% reduction. The Current rate of the GMC apportionments are 4% of the local churches expenses. The maximum rate cannot (by rules of discipline) exceed 6.5% of the local churches expenses, with missions and capital expenses
(such as building fund money) excluded from that rate. This leaves more money for local church ministry and the mission support that they choose.
6. If we stayed UMC, would Pastor Marc stay?
This is a decision that Pastor Marc and Caroline will have to prayerfully discern. Please know that the decision that OFC is facing is not and should not be contingent on any decision that Pastor Marc makes. Neither staying UMC or going GMC determines how long Marc continues as the pastor of OFC. That determination will be made by Marc and Caroline doing their best to stay in step with the Spirit. They will serve where and when God leads them.
7. What happens to Marc’s pension if he leaves the UMC? If Old Fort Church disaffiliates
and does not affiliate with the GMC, can Marc roll his pension into a Roth or something
to help him stay?
The pastor’s pension in the UMC is through an organization called Wespath. Wespath will also service the pension program for the GMC, so GMC pastors can retain their pension, although it will be a new program, specific to the GMC. If the church goes independent and the pastor leaves the UMC, he does not lose the pension that he has already acquired (although he may face a financial penalty, we are not sure). The independent church would then need to
determine a new option for a pension plan.
8. Why hasn’t the United Methodist Church stopped the churches and pastors that are
breaking the current policies and not following the Book of Discipline?
The United Methodist Church has become laden with liberal bishops and leaders, many who do not hold accountable those who disobey the discipline on issues of sexual sin. There is no way
in the United Methodist system to hold these bishops accountable and so pastors and bishops remain unchecked. The GMC is including checks and balances, and has term limits for bishops.
9. Do we keep all properties that we own outright if we disaffiliate?
If the OCF membership votes to disaffiliate, and that vote is approved by our annual conference in June, 2023, and OFC pays the fee for disaffiliation, OFC will own all properties, buildings,
and assets outright. That is, after the mortgage for the church building has been paid off. Until then, we outright own the mortgage. If we disaffiliate without paying disaffiliation fee, all buildings, property, and asset will stay with the United Methodist Church.
10. Are you opposed to raising funds towards the amount needed and have we checked
on the qualification of a loan needed for disaffiliation? Tell us more of this, please
(our monetary commitment).
It is the plan of the Lead Team to run a capital stewardship campaign to raise all of the money for disaffiliation (likely between $150,000 and $160,000). It is also the prayerful hope of the Lead Team, to raise enough additional funds to pay off our building mortgage (around $188,000). If we are unable to raise the funds for disaffiliation, we will need to secure a lender and a loan, and so, the Lead Team is also shopping for the best lending option, should the need arise.
11. Can people verify beforehand if they are a full member? Just make sure people
know before vote.
An updated list of OFC membership is available, and is required beforehand by the Conference for the meeting. The list will be at the door as members come for the Church Conference,
stewarded by an outside person who comes with the District Superintendent. A member of our Lead Team will also be present at the check in, to help the steward identify people who are on the list. If a person’s name is NOT on this list, they will not be given a ballot to vote. If you are unsure of your status of membership, contact Pastor Marc ahead of time, and he will let you know if you are a member or not. He can be reached by calling the church (419-992-4336) or by email at email@example.com.
12. What if there is a 50/50 split vote? Who is the swing vote or will that force us to stay?
The vote to disaffiliate requires a two thirds approval of all voting members present. Less than two thirds approval will result in no disaffiliation.
13. What would be the actual cost to leave to United Methodist affiliation?
The actual cost includes two years of apportionments, plus unfunded pension liability. The
unfunded pension liability is not liability to the pastors that OFC has had over the years, but
the portion of obligation that each local church has to the pension program of the West Ohio Conference of the UMC. The unfunded pension liability amount is established by a formula
that fluxes with interest rates of the market each quarter. When the interest rates go up, the
unfunded pension liability rate goes down. All of this said, if we were disaffiliating in the
current quarter, it would cost around $150,000. Our actual disaffiliation date would not be
until after the June, 2023 Annual Conference, which will be in the next quarter, so this number could go up or down, depending on what the interest rates do in the next quarter.
14. What are the deadlines in 2023?
The option for disaffiliation per the special 2019 General Conference decision expires on
December 31, 2023. It must be approved by an Annual Conference of our West Ohio Conference. Our next Annual Conference meets June 1-3, 2023. We must complete our membership vote by May 15, 2023 to be considered at the June Conference. The bishop has also suggested that he will have one more Annual Conference option in October 2023, before the expiration of the
current exit option on Dec. 31.2023.
15. Is there another option that includes staying biblical but not paying the
Options include: 1. Stay United Methodist and pray and hope that OFC is always appointed with biblical pastors. If the UMC continues to become less biblical, this will become less likely. 2.
Disaffiliate without paying the fee and then surrendering all properties, buildings, and assets
to the UMC. 3. Disaffiliate, pay the fee, and retain all properties, buildings, and assets.
16. Are there other GMC churches, who’ve already disaffiliated from the UMC, who are
able to help financially or in any way if we disaffiliate? Or, is the GMC able to help
The Lead Team has done some resourcing from others who have gone through disaffiliation for guidance in the process, but we are unaware of any other churches able or willing to help in
financing our church’s disaffiliation. The GMC is unable to help with funding disaffiliation, as they are just beginning, however they have determined to keep apportionments no higher than 4% for new churches for the first year.
17. What denomination would we join? What other affiliation would be considered?
The choices include: Joining the new Global Methodist Church (GMC), another denomination of similar biblical belief and doctrine, or remain independent. The Lead Team has not explored other denominations at this time, as the GMC is likely the closest option to who OFC has been.
18. How is disaffiliation going to affect sermons and messages?
Sermons and messages are impacted more by who the pastor is than our affiliation. While Marc is pastor of OFC, to the best of his ability, he will always seek to only preach messages that are biblically true, as guided by the Holy Spirit, as always. For the future, the likelihood of biblical preachers through the GMC is strong.
19. Is GMC going to focus and hold the Bible/God’s Word as the main authority?
Yes, that is the intention. No one can foresee what could or may happen, but the whole intent of beginning the GMC is for Biblical authority.
20. Where does the money from the disaffiliation fee go?
It goes to the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church, of which OFC is
currently affiliated. Only they and God know what they will do with it.
21. Could other United Methodist Churches form one Global Methodist Church in
We are not aware of any other United Methodist Churches near enough to us to consider
any consolidation. Even if there were, the likelihood would be slim that any would be willing,
considering we have existed this long without churches being willing to consolidate.
22. Can we have a copy of the yearly report and a copy of the 2023 budget?
Our Conference is reworking the process of our yearly report for 2022, so it has not yet
been conducted. Copies of the 2023 budget are available through the church office.
NOTE: If OFC does disaffiliate, and there is anyone who wishes to remain in the United Methodist Church, we will do all that we can to encourage and guide you in finding a United Methodist Church that might fit you. We hope and pray that no one feels misplaced through these difficult decisions, and that we lose no one, but we will gladly support anyone who feels God is leading them to remain in a United Methodist Church.
8245 N. Main St.
Old Fort, OH 44861
Phone: (419) 992-4336
Sunday Morning Experiences
Blended at 8:30 AM
Modern at 10:00 AM