State of the Church
Please click the buttons below to access enotes regarding the State of the Church. Enotes will be available here as soon as they are published.
Enote One: December 6, 2021
Enote Two: January 11, 2022
Enote Three: January 18, 2022
General Conference Update: April 27, 2022
Governing Board Enote: June 23, 2022
State of the Church Videos
Video recordings from the January 22 State of the Church information session are available at the buttons below.
Learn more about the governance structure and purpose of the leadership teams. Find out how Ebenezer Church fits into the larger network of the United Methodist denomination.
Love Your Neighbor Network
Learn more from Pastor Monica Reynolds about our new and growing network of worship experiences out in the community.
Focus 2025 is Ebenezer's long-range vision as a church, guiding us to live into our mission statement together. As we met with community leaders this year, several primary concerns rose to the top. We have grouped those in four focus teams that are drafting actionable items and budgets.
ONLINE ENGAGEMENT: This team will work to improve our engagement with our online community, through the Ebenezer website, social media accounts, and Church Online congregation.
MENTAL HEALTH ENGAGEMENT: In addition to the recent expansion of our existing counseling services, this team will identify other ways to assist members of our congregation and community in this important area.
NEIGHBORHOOD ENGAGEMENT: This team’s goal is to have a microchurch or small group in every neighborhood in our community. Working with the Love Your Neighbor Network, they will identify ways to expand our discipleship model to spread the Word.
IDEA BANK: This team will develop a bank of ideas and needs that small groups and others could ‘adopt’ to provide service opportunities within the community.
Watch for updates as these teams develop practical ways for us to put our mission statement into action.
UM News is the official source of comprehensive information and news about the United Methodist Church. You may access UM News using the button below.
Please click the link below to learn more about the United Methodist Church’s beliefs regarding homosexuality.
Please click the button below to view a chart of the United Methodist Church organizational structure.
The Rappahannock River District is made up of 74 United Methodist churches and is led by the District Superintendent. You may access the Rappahannock River District website using the button below.
The Virginia Annual Conference (VAUMC) is made up of 1,100 United Methodist churches in Virginia and is led by the Bishop. You may access the VAUMC website using the button below.
The Southeastern Jurisdiction is made up of United Methodist churches from Virginia, south to Florida, and west to Tennessee and Mississippi. It is led by the Council Bishops. You may access the Southeastern Jurisdiction website using the button below.
The General Conference is made up of five Jurisdictions in the United States, plus Central Conferences in Africa, the Philippines, and more. It is led by Elected Delegates. You may access the General Conference website using the button below.
Ask a Question
Please fill out the form below to ask a question about the State of the Church.
Contact the Governing Board
Please fill out the form below to send a message to the Ebenezer Governing Board.
Frequently Asked Questions
No. A “split” occurs when there is a negotiated agreement to divide assets and resources. However, the denomination is “splintering” in some ways.
Ebenezer is part of the United Methodist denomination, and as such, we are bound by the doctrine and policies of the larger denomination. When those policies change, that impacts the local church.
The majority of churches are not expected to leave the denomination. Over the past three years, about 680 churches have disaffiliated. While that number may sound significant, this total is only 2.3% of churches nationwide in the United Methodist Church. Churches may decide to leave for a variety of reasons. Some may have concerns over denominational structure or potential changes to the Book of Discipline. Others are leaving to be independent congregations.
The current questions revolve around: (1) whether the language in the Book of Discipline defining “homosexuality as incompatible with Christian teaching” will change; (2) whether “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” will be eligible for ordination; (3) whether clergy will be allowed to officiate same-gender weddings; and (4) whether United Methodist churches will allow same-gender weddings to occur on church grounds.
The denomination does not speak with one voice on these questions. The Book of Discipline makes several statements about human sexuality. For a more thorough understanding of the church’s stance on these issues, please visit this link on the denominational website.
In accordance with the Book of Discipline, the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church does not currently ordain persons who are gay. Should this change at some point in the future, Ebenezer will have a choice.
In accordance with the Book of Discipline, the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church does not currently allow same-gender weddings to occur in its churches and does not currently allow United Methodist pastors to officiate these weddings. If this stance changes in the future, Ebenezer Church will have a choice. Additionally, pastors will have their own choice to make.
The Book of Discipline can only be changed at a quadrennial gathering of elected delegates called General Conference. The next General Conference is scheduled to occur in 2024. It is possible the language surrounding ordination of persons who are homosexual and the clergy’s right to officiate same-gender weddings may change at any General Conference if the delegates make proposals and vote to approve those changes. We do not know what will happen. The following General Conference would be 2028.
Nothing. We may remain in the United Methodist denomination without making any changes.
Not necessarily. The current approved process (known as Paragraph 2553) for disaffiliating from the denomination is set to expire on December 31, 2023. Denominational leadership will provide a new pathway or extend those provisions after that date.
If the Governing Board of Ebenezer discerns that disaffiliating from the United Methodist denomination would be in the best interest of Ebenezer’s mission and ministry, that body would initiate the process. A vote would come later in that process. This is the process approved and outlined in Paragraph 2553 of The United Methodist Book of Discipline.