Prayer and Discernment

If you have any questions for our Prayer and Discernment team, we want to hear from you! 


Upcoming Church Conference

Time & Place: Sunday, November 6th @ 2:00 in the main sanctuary

Purpose: Voting on disaffiliation from the United Methodist Church

Important information to know…

  • In order to vote, you must be a member on the church roll and be present at the church conference.

  • If you have any questions about your membership status, please contact Anita Banks at 256-881-4069 or

  • The recommendation of the Prayer & Discernment Team is available on the church website ( under the p&d tab.

Latham P & D Team Recommendation



The Prayer and Discernment (P&D) Team members are Frank Barger, Elizabeth Cantley, Chuck Frew, Tim Hastings, Grace Langhout, Marty Martin, Edith Pickens, Gerald Smith, Jane Smith, Ken Stephens, and Jan Weaver.  Our pastors, Chris Martin and Paul Wiegert, are non-voting team members.  

The P&D Team has had many meetings since our initial meeting with District Superintendent, Rev. Tom Parrish, on June 30.  The P&D Team, like many of you, has spent time studying, praying and considering the impact of our recommendation on our Latham family.  We have focused on one essential question: 

Where is God leading Latham?

Just as our congregation members have varying views, the P&D Team members each have had their own thoughts and ideas throughout the process.  This team has been committed to having frank and candid conversations in a loving and respectful manner.  We are committed to continuing this process with grace, love and respect for all. 


Although not unanimous, our recommendation represents the majority view of our team, with 73% voting for disaffiliation.  The break down of our final vote was as follows:

Votes for the Recommendation 8 - 73%

Votes against the Recommendation 2 - 18%

Abstained 1 - 9% 


The P&D Team recommends disaffiliation from the UMC.

 Additional Considerations

  • If Latham disaffiliates from the UMC, by default we will become an independent church.  We recommend that Latham continue abiding by the 2016 Book of Discipline of the UMC until a revised discipline can be formally adopted by Latham.

  • We recommend that a new P&D Team be formed to continue studying the options of remaining an independent church or affiliating with another denomination.  The new P&D Team will provide reports to the Board of Stewards and will ultimately make a recommendation to the Latham congregation on a way forward.  

  • We recommend that a future church conference be held to provide Latham members with the opportunity to vote on the recommendation from the new P&D Team on a way forward.

Reasons for Disaffiliation Recommendation

1. Bishops, District Superintendents, and Ordained Ministers make a vow before God to support and uphold the Discipline of the United Methodist Church.  The UMC Book of Discipline helps to connect us as a denomination.  But we believe that in increasing numbers the Discipline is not being followed.  Some conferences and jurisdictions are openly encouraging that parts of the Discipline they disagree with simply be ignored. 

2. Within our denomination, Bishops are appointed for life. There is no enforceable structure for holding them accountable.

3. As traditional orthodox churches leave the denomination, progressive representation at General Conference will likely increase.  A potential outcome may be the removal of the Discipline’s language on human sexuality, which could result in same-sex marriages being allowed, as well as the ordination of avowed practicing homosexuals.

4. The Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation has lost significant support. There is little chance of its adoption at the 2024 General Conference. Paragraph 2553 is the only path currently available for disaffiliating from the UMC. This option expires on December 31, 2023.  When it expires, the future path for disaffiliation is unclear and may be more difficult.

5. The North Alabama Conference may receive a new Bishop in January 2023.  The candidates to replace Bishop Deborah Wallace-Padgett may be more progressive theologically.  The election and seating of a progressive bishop in the N.A.C. could result in a change to the way Paragraph 2553 is being applied within our Conference, possibly making it more costly and difficult for us to disaffiliate at a later date.

6. While Latham operates as an independent church, the money currently being paid to the denomination in the form of apportionments will remain with the local church.

7. Through disaffiliation from the UMC, the ownership of all church property would be transferred from the North Alabama Conference to Latham.  The cost of disaffiliation is approximately $202,000 and for that investment our church would receive title to assets worth more than $5 million.

8. In order to pay the costs associated with disaffiliation, the Finance Committee recommends that the church could obtain a 15-year loan using our Associate Pastor’s parsonage as collateral.  Assuming that Latham remains an independent church, not subject to apportionments, we should readily have the financial means to pay the disaffiliation expenses back in a timely manner.

9. Through disaffiliation from the UMC, Latham would have greater control and responsibility for retaining current pastors and the selection of future pastors.

Prayer and Discernment Presentation

Congregation Meeting- August 23rd, 2022


Dr. Tommy Gray

Independent Church Presentation-Asbury UMC


Forward in Faith

Rev. Mark Sorensen


Global Methodist Church Presentation

Ann Lee


Stay UMC Presentation

Steve West


Free Methodist Bishop Keith Cowart

Speaking at Guntersville FUMC


List of Articles and Videos related to the Prayer and Discernment Process

Celebrate UMC Event

Rev. Tom Berlin


Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett

June 26th, 2022 Presentation


Rob Renfroe- Good News Magazine Videos

1. The United Methodist Church is Divided and Dividing


2. Our Differences Regarding the Bible


3. Our Differences Regarding Jesus


4. Our Differences Regarding Sexuality


5. Why It's Time for Traditionalists to Leave


6. Where Should We Go?


Adam Hamilton

Why We Are Staying in UMC


Jeff Greenway

10 Reasons to Consider the Methodist Church


                                 WCA EVENT

                                                   May 22nd, 2022