Denominational Justice

Labyrinthing Together — Film and Study Guide

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your interest in our film and study guide for "Labyrinthing Together." This video project was conceived in 2020, when our Denominational Task Force invited a series of leaders representing a variety of interests within the United Methodist Church to give their perspectives on the current schism in the church, and their thoughts about how we move forward. Through these discussions with various church leaders, we quickly learned how complex this issue really is: there is no single, faithful path in imagining the future of the church. Even as the 2020 General Conference was delayed multiple times, and then canceled all together; even now as the Global Methodist Church has begun to splinter from the church, we find ourselves with no one clear path forward as a denomination, as United Methodist congregations, or as individual United Methodists.

Dumbarton's Denominational Task Force has taken highlights from these presentations and woven them together into a video we call "Labyrinthing Together." Our intention is educational; to share the key insights we learned from these presentations with other United Methodists who are trying to discern our way through denominational conflict and systemic injustices to live into the hopeful future of the Methodist movement. "Labyrinthing Together" comes in two formats. There is a long version that people may watch all the way through and a second version of short, themed pieces that may lend themselves to a discussion series format. The content is fundamentally the same.

We have also included some suggested study questions. These questions are keyed to the various shorter segments but should work equally well for viewers of the longer version. We invite you to take advantage of these resources in whichever format you feel will work best for your needs.

We also invite you to join us in person or remotely on Sunday mornings at 11:00 Eastern time. You may contact us with questions. Dumbarton will celebrate its 250th year as a Methodist congregation in 2022 and we have a number of exciting events planned, focusing on both the church's rich history in Washington, DC, and its future. We look forward to seeing you and hearing from you!

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Rachel Cornwell


Dumbarton United Methodist Church




Labyrinthing Together How do you thread the labyrinthine conflict in the wake of UMC General Conference 2019? Not alone. We at Dumbarton Church asked representatives from relevant interest groups to share their points of view in online forums, and while we found no easy answers, we greatly deepened our understanding from many important perspectives. Walking a labyrinth is a spiritual act that invites transformation; with this film, we share our walk with you, with prayers that you too may find God at the center.
Labyrinthing Part 1: Introductions In their own words, the speakers of Labyrinthing Together offer key points for understanding their varied perspectives.
Labyrinthing Part 2: UMC Structures One speaker presents helpful background: an overview of relevant United Methodist agencies and their interrelationships.
Labyrinthing Pt 3: Many Possible Paths After GC2019 Speakers explore a future beyond GC2019, which might transcend colonialism, transcend hierarchy, transcend top-down definitions of the denomination – or might call churches outside the denomination entirely. 
Labyrinthing Pt 4: Different Views on the Protocol In debating the earliest post-GC2019 plan, the speakers illustrate that even simple-seeming solutions carry implementation issues and unintended consequences, and may even enforce ways of defining a problem that are neither powerful nor necessary. Priorities emerge as the debate becomes more complex.
Labyrinthing Pt 5: Justice for Whom? What is full inclusion? Is it even possible? Speakers come into powerful virtual dialogue with one another, as even the desired gains for some seem to mean losses for others.
Labyrinthing Pt 6: Widening the Options One way to resolve the GC2019 conflict is not to be in it – but there are multiple takes on even this solution. One set of speakers shares their path to disaffiliation, while others explore useful consensus-building actions that are not defined by this conflict or the General Conference decision-making cycle.
Labyrinthing Pt 7: Closing Prayer As one speaker reminds us, God is God, and can change hearts, and minds, and people. A powerful closing prayer is offered for those emerging from the labyrinth.


Download the Study Guide document:


Labyrinthing Together — Study Guide (PDF document)