Local firm releases eBook and video on United Methodist Church separation protocol

Daniel P. Dalton, a religious property attorney who represents religious institutions throughout the country and is a co-founder of Detroit-based Dalton & Tomich PLC, has authored a new eBook about protocols for the United Methodist Church separation entitled, “What the Proposed UMC Separation Means for Your Church,” along with a supplemental video on the topic. Dalton noted the January 2020 announcement by the UMC laid the groundwork for anticipated splits within the denomination that will be up for discussion and voting at the United Methodist Church General Conference in May.

The January announcement should have spurred local Methodist churches to begin taking action, Dalton noted, but many still have questions and need a fundamental starting point—and that’s why this eBook and accompanying video were created.

“Whether they are inclined to leave or stay, churches need to begin a thorough, evaluative process that helps guide their ultimate decision,” he said.  “In this eBook, church leaders will find a synopsis on the three different paths congregations may take, with summaries of what each path means and what action steps are needed to retain church property, pensions and congregation members,” he said.

Dalton has represented hundreds of local churches in property disputes within the Methodist, Episcopal and the Presbyterian USA denominations related to the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), in addition to representing local churches seeking to separate from their mainline denominations while retaining their property using denominational trust clauses. His firm is often brought in as an impartial third party on denominational separations.

“Decisions about what pastors and congregants want to do to save the life of their church have both emotional and legal ramifications,” Dalton said. “Turning to professionals familiar with the issues of denominational separations and who know the intricacies of religious law but do not have a personal stake can help churches determine where they want to end up.”

“What the Proposed UMC Separation Means for Your Church” is available for complimentary download on the Dalton & Tomich website, www.daltontomich.com.


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