Century Church Leaves the UMC
Dear Fellow Christians,
I am writing to ask for your help with a critical situation that Century Church is now facing. We need to raise $441,000 by July 5, 2023 to pay our disaffiliation fee from The United Methodist Church. Failure to do so could result in the loss of our property! At the same time, we have already been blessed to receive almost $75,000 from outside our church family from people who believe in our cause.
A Shocking Response—And an Opportunity for a Miracle
Our congregation voted 89% in February to separate from The United Methodist Church after a prayerful discernment process and the support of our bishop and district superintendent who at the time encouraged churches to get where they felt called to be. We knew that there would be an expense for leaving based on a predetermined formula in the UMC Book of Discipline. We sent a letter to the Alabama-West Florida UMC Conference Trustees asking for them to lessen our burden given the nature of the formula and the negative impact on a new church without a building or any substantial assets. However, we were shocked to receive an email from the conference trustees just before Easter informing us that our estimated disaffiliation fee had not been lowered at all, but instead they had increased our burden, making it all the harder from $235,000 to $441,000. A staggering $206,000 was added to our estimate after we voted!
The conference trustees delivered this news in the eleventh hour. To say we were disappointed is an understatement. They justified this by recalling every dollar of grant money given to help launch the church since 2019, an act inconceivable when this all began, totaling over $140,000. Clearly, in their minds these funds were not “grants” freely given for kingdom-building efforts, but “loans” contingent on loyalty to the UMC brand. Their actions may be legal but not kind nor kingdom-minded. This news was devastating given we fulfilled the intent for these grant monies in “making disciples of Jesus Christ.” This move is seen by many as an injustice, a last minute decision to hurt a growing church merely because we voted to leave the denomination.
The Century Story
Let me share a bit about our story. Century Church began six years ago with 100 people that started meeting in Pike Road Elementary School. Despite facing many obstacles, including the COVID-19 pandemic and meeting outside under two pole barns rain or shine, cold or hot for nearly three years, our congregation has grown to nearly 500 people (adults, youth, and children) touching thousands of lives in the Pike Road community. We just began construction on the infrastructure that will allow us to build our first building. We have a vibrant Kingdom church where many people are exploring church for the first time or are new to faith in Christ. At Century Church, more than 125 people have been baptized since our beginnings. We are passionate about Christ and serving our community. There is so much more to say, but you get the point, we have a vital church plant in our community!
An Invitation to Invest
We need your help to continue our mission and reach people for Christ in our local context. We believe that God will provide, and we are trusting Him for a miracle. We were in the process of raising the last $400,000 needed to fund our multi-purpose worship space prior to this UMC news. Our baby congregation has already sacrificially invested in the purchase of land and infrastructure over the last six years to get to this point. We do not believe God wants us to stop now!
Would you consider being part of the answer to our prayers and investing in this cause? Any amount will help.
You can give as you feel led by:
- Clicking the “Donate” button here or at centuryproject.org
- Mailing a check to: Century Church, 37 Bridge Street, Pike Road, AL, 36064
- Emailing me: email@example.com if you have any questions.
While many in my new church feel like the institutional denomination has let us down, you can be part of our next, best chapter! Please visit www.centuryproject.org to learn more about our vision as a “community first” congregation that meets the needs of the hurting and draws those far from God into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.
A Time for Prayer – A Time for Action!
As you pray about giving, please also pray for the UMC and its leaders, the people of Century Church, and for Christ to be lifted up and glorified in all things.
Thank you for considering our request for help. Your investment will be a blessing to many people. We believe that God will use this situation for His glory and to further His Kingdom.
My promise to you is Century Church will stay focused on offering Christ to the next generation!