Who are united Methodists?

If you are worshipping with us regularly, either online or in person or a hybrid of both, you may have been exposed to the idea that Oceanview belongs to a denomination. We are considered "mainstream" because we are the 2nd largest protestant group in the US. The denomination has a hierarchy of organized leadership. We have a set of agreed-upon values and principles. We follow a book of discipline in how we order the church. That book is a living document that changes every four years. Every four years, we hold a General Conference, an international gathering of democratically elected individuals (equal parts laity and clergy) who serve on committees for two weeks and make decisions on how we are to live together and represent ourselves as a Christian denomination. Each geographical area has a local conference that meets annually called--you guessed it--the Annual Conference. Oceanview and Pastor Emily are members of the Florida Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. There's one in Virginia, two in North Carolina, New Jersey, etc. You get the idea. We have a bishop who oversees our conference, Bishop Tom Berlin. He's new. The bishop has a set of helpers to oversee smaller areas. Since the conference is divided into districts, these helpers are called District Superintendents (DS). The DS's serve on the bishop's appointive cabinet, and that's where pastors come from.

The bishop and cabinet meet to discern and project possible appointments to fill the pulpits around the conference with pastors. The churches' buildings and property are held in trust by the Annual Conference. In that way, we as a church are not a solo endeavor. We have help and support when we need it. The conference is responsible for supplying the church with quality, vetted clergy, missional engagement, and connection to the United Methodist Church's larger whole. We call it connectionalism. It is one of those "isms" that is a good one. You can learn more about our Annual Conference and denomination on this page through the links below.

Meet our Bishop, Tom Berlin

Below is the entire installation service if you'd like to skip ahead to the sermon that the bishop preaches

go to 00:35:20 and stop at 01:16:11.


Why are some churches leaving the UMC?

Maybe you have been around the UMC for the entirety of your faith life.  If you are paying attention to what's been going on since 2019 you may be aware of disaffilations. At a special called General Conference in February of 2019 the body agreed upon a path for churches to leave the denomination and take their buildings and property with them.  So if a church decides that they no longer want to be a part of the UMC and they are decide by 2/3 majority vote of the membership and payment of pension benefits and apportionments they can evade the trust clause and leave.

We at Oceanview want remain UMC.  In 1987 when the property was purchased and ground broken on the building we entered into a covenant with the conference.  We see no reason to break with that covenant.  Other churches with different demographics and location have decided that leaving is the right thing to do. To our brothers and sisters in the faith that are leaving we say, "God be with you till we meet again."

Two articles are here to provide more information:


ARTICLE TWO LEWIS center for church leadership