ENID, Okla. — Willow View United Methodist Church on Tuesday voted to disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church with the majority of 188 voting members, 73%, voting in favor of disaffiliation.
The process now shifts to the Oklahoma United Methodist Board of Trustees to review paperwork for the disaffiliation, which will be voted on for approval on Sept. 21. If it is approved, it will be taken up by the United Methodist Church Special Annual Conference from Oct. 21-22. If it is approved there, Willow View will have 14 days to fulfill any other obligations to make the disaffiliation official.
Mark McAdow, pastor at what will now be known as Willow View Church for a short period of time, said the focus shifts to their next steps as they await the approval of disaffiliation.
“We’re just going to be an independent church for a period of time, I’m going to say probably six months or something like that, so it will be until the new year,” McAdow said. “We’ll just be known as Willow View Church, and then we will approach our membership about the possibility of affiliating with another denomination.”
McAdow said there are several denominations they will look at joining, with the most likely being the Global Methodist Church. McAdow said the Global Methodist Church began May 1, with it formerly being the Conservative United Methodists, who left the United Methodist Church.
“The structure is going to be very similar to the United Methodist structure, but it’s going to be less hierarchy, less bureaucracy,” McAdow said. “There will be fewer guarantees, like you won’t be a bishop for life, there will be term limits.”
McAdow said there are potentially thousands of churches in America that are in the disaffiliation process. He said there also are entire conferences that are disaffiliating, which has led to the formations of other conferences around new denominations.
“It’s more focused on the local churches, although, by the name of the Global Methodists, it will be a global church, as well,” McAdow said. “Because there are actually conferences around the world that are also disaffiliating from the United Methodist Church and affiliating with the Global Methodists. My understanding is that when there’s a 120 churches in the area, they will form a conference. So it could be Oklahoma, or Oklahoma and Texas, or wherever, they’ll form their own conference to take care of those kind of regional issues. But we’ll also be supporting the global initiatives as well. So of our apportionment dollars will go to that, as well.”
With the vote for disaffiliation now approved by the Willow View congregation, McAdow said there is much work to be done in the coming months to ensure they are reinforcing their belief in God’s will.
“There’s some relief that the decision has been made. We had a very good showing here with 188 voting members,” McAdow said. “So we had a strong majority of our people present who we are in favor of the disaffiliation so we can uphold the integrity of God’s word and continue the mission of Jesus Christ here in Enid and beyond. So there are a lot of changes that are taking place in the next few weeks and months that will require special attention, but we believe that we are fulfilling God’s will for our church family.”
There were nearly 50 people who either voted against disaffiliation or voted to abstain, which was counted as a no vote. McAdow said there have been some members of the congregation who have chosen to associate with other United Methodist churches in Enid.
“Some people are making decisions to associate with other United Methodist churches in Enid, as we would have anticipated.”
While Willow View Church will be independent for a few months, McAdow said the first order of business is to let the dust settle. He also said they will then refocus and make sure their mission is in line with God’s will, and then will look at all options on the table and will then present those to their congregation in order to make an informed decision as to the next step for the church.