Uncertainties surrounding the United Methodist Church have led to a decrease in cash flow.
Money flowing from local UMC churches to denominational agencies is down compared to last year, according to a report from the denomination's General Council on Finance and Administration. Remittances to general church funds, the council reports, for the first of this year were $4.9 million less than the first half of 2018 – a drop described by the United Methodist News Service as a "financial hangover from the 2019 General Conference" that took place in February.
Mark Tooley, president of The Institute on Religion & Democracy says it looks like "we may be entering the early part of the final stages of the United Methodist centralized bureaucracy."
"… Liberals are upset that the church reaffirmed traditional sexuality standards in February [and] conservatives have been upset with the church for decades," he describes. "And so everyone is unhappy, and increasingly more and more people expect the denomination to divide."
Tooley tells OneNewsNow it can't be exactly pinpointed as to why money is decreasing – but he notes that in response to February's 438-384 vote affirming traditional standards, some liberal leaders have publicly suggested withholding funds … which Tooley finds quite ironic.
"Agencies of the denomination are controlled by liberals," he notes. "So it's an odd situation where now liberal churches seem to be withholding money from liberal church agencies."
The IRD president predicts it's only a matter of time that some type of split will take place within the United Methodist Church.