our future


A timeline of events

In Reverse Chronological Order

  • 9/20/23 – The Supreme Court hearing scheduled for September 21, 2023 has been POSTPONED to October 5, 2023 at 10:00 a.m.
  • 8/28/23 – The Supreme Court issued a "stay" and our District Superintendent has canceled the September 5th date for a church-wide "Church Conference" until the Supreme Court makes a ruling on Church of the Servant's request to be allowed to vote on disaffiliating from the United Methodist Church. 
  • 8/23/23 – Our District Superintendent has set a church-wide “Church Conference” for September 5, 2023, at 6:30 p.m. 
  • 8/21/23 – Oklahoma District Court 7 Judge Timmons ruled in favor of Church of the Servant's request to be allowed to vote on disaffiliating from the United Methodist Church. The COS Board of Governance will meet Tuesday, August 22, 2023, at 6:00 p.m. in Community Hall to discuss this decision.
  • 8/18/23 – After a full day at the Oklahoma County Courthouse, Judge Timmons moved the proceedings into recess for the weekend, with instruction to be back in her court at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, August 21, 2023.  She will render a ruling at that time.
  • 8/1/23 – A hearing is scheduled for Friday, August 18, at 10:00 a.m. Judge Aletia Haynes Timmons will be presiding. 
  • 7/26/23 – District Superintendent Sam Powers disapproves request for a vote. Hearing will be scheduled on or shortly after August 1, 2023. 
  • 7/18/23 – A hearing will be scheduled on or shortly after August 1, 2023. Continue to check here for the correct hearing information due to the probability of changes in the schedule between now and then.
  • 7/3/23 – Church of the Servant (COS) files a lawsuit, asking the courts to direct the Conference to allow a second vote for disaffiliation. 
  • 06/22/23 – A church-wide consultation is held between Conference leaders and the COS congregation and the COS Board of Governance (the Board); a Board motion is passed directing the Conference to allow COS to hold a vote on August 13.
  • 6/04/23 – A Board motion is passed to hold a second vote to consider disaffiliation; the District Superintendent indicates that a consultation is needed before permission can be granted.
  • 5/16/23 – The Oklahoma United Methodist Conference's Office of Transitional Ministry (OTM) is contacted to discuss the possibility of a follow-up vote.
  • 3/28/23 – The Board discussed the possibility of another disaffiliation vote.
  • 9/11/22 – A Church Conference is held to vote on disaffiliation from the UMC. The vote loses by a small percentage.  A second round of votes is taken, and this also fails by a small percentage. This means that COS must remain a UMC congregation.
  • 8/27/22 – The OTM provides a required Informational Meeting on Disaffiliation.
  • 7/5/22 – The Board develops a preliminary timeline, process, and Q&As for taking a vote for disaffiliation.
  • 6/7/22 – The Board votes to enter a discovery and discernment process to answer the question, “Should COS disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church?”
  • 3/22/22 – The Board discusses what it means to disaffiliate from or stay with the UMC.
  • February 2019 – A special session of the General Conference of the United Methodist Church is held to discuss issues surrounding “homosexuality” and church leadership. During this general Conference, a new paragraph (#2553) is added to the United Methodist Book of Discipline allowing for local churches to disaffiliate from the denomination based on their disagreement with the church’s stance on human sexuality. Paragraph 2553 temporarily suspends the reversionary trust clause for church property if two-thirds of the membership votes to disaffiliate.

Update on Oklahoma Supreme Court Case No. 121,538

September 27, 2023

Oral Arguments are scheduled before the Oklahoma Supreme Court en banc on Thursday, October 5, at 10:00 a.m.  Our case has been consolidated with First Methodist’s case and the hearing will take place on the second floor of the State Capitol. Here is a link to information about the Courtroom: https://oksc.oscn.net/supreme-court-courtroom-2/

I encourage as many members of Servant who are interested in this case to attend in person.  Members from First Church will also be in attendance.  Parking is available in unmarked spaces on the south and east sides of the State Capitol.  For those who cannot attend in person, here is the link to the Live Stream:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0FiJXbI1a8 
Two Justices have recused, Justice Gurich and Justice Edmonson.  I’ve attached Justice Edmonson’s recusal.  Note his reference to Proverbs 11:29.  As we discussed, this case has implications well beyond the walls of Church of the Servant.  Our attorneys are hopeful for a timely decision.

Monica Wittrock

Update on Court Proceedings

August 29, 2023

Dear Church of the Servant Family,

Praise to the living God for His grace for each new day!  We have an important update regarding recent events related to the disaffiliation process.  Our member, Monica Wittrock, is the Church of the Servant legal liaison and describes the recent court events this way:  

On Monday the acting Chief Justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court granted the Annual Conference’s motion to stay (or place on hold) the order of the Oklahoma County District Court. Soon after, District Superintendent Sam Powers cancelled the Church Conference previously set for September 5, 2023. A copy of his letter is posted in the next section below. We are now waiting for the Oklahoma Supreme Court to set a date for a hearing on the merits of the motion to stay.

In short, there will be no Church Conference on September 5, 2023.  We will continue to update this webpage as there are further developments.  Thank you for continuing to pray!

It has been good to be together in our informational meetings in the last few days.  We have one more informational meeting tomorrow evening, August 30 at 6:30 p.m. in the Centrum auditorium.  Please join us!

Pastor Jess
Pastor Thomas
The Board of Governance


August 28, 2023

This morning, August 28, the Oklahoma Supreme Court issued a stay on the upcoming vote to consider disaffiliation, pending a hearing before their court sometime in the near future. In accordance, District Superintendent Sam Powers has cancelled the Church Conference scheduled for September 5, 2023. His cancellation letter to the board is included here.

Important Information for the Upcoming Vote to Disaffiliate

August 23, 2023

Message sent out today to church members.

Dear Church of the Servant Family,

Greetings in the name of Christ! This is an important message for every church member. Our District Superintendent has set a church-wide “Church Conference” for September 5, 2023, at 6:30 p.m. The purpose of the conference is to vote on whether or not Church of the Servant will disaffiliate from the United Methodist denomination. You are receiving this message because you are a member of Church of the Servant. Read on for more details and to learn about vital informational meetings to be held next week.

What has happened? On Monday morning, August 21, an Oklahoma County District Court ruled that Church of the Servant (COS) can be allowed to vote on disaffiliating from the United Methodist Church (UMC). On Tuesday evening, August 22, the COS Board of Governance (the Board) voted to request a Church Conference for the purpose of voting on disaffiliation. It was granted.

What does this mean? When churches disaffiliate, it means they are severing their doctrinal, structural, and legal ties with the UMC. If a disaffiliation vote passes at the Church Conference on September 5, the Oklahoma Annual Conference will work with our church to finalize the details of the separation agreement before moving to a final required step. If the disaffiliation vote at our Church Conference does not pass, the church will remain a United Methodist congregation.

If the vote does pass, the final required step for disaffiliation will not be completed until the Oklahoma Annual Conference “ratifies” (makes officially valid) the congregational vote of the Church of the Servant. The Oklahoma Annual Conference will meet on October 13-14, 2023, to vote concerning ratification for all churches who have completed the disaffiliation requirements.  A disaffiliated local church becomes independent from the UMC two weeks following this ratification.

What happens now?

  • Please attend one of the informational meetings that will be held at COS. See below for details. The purpose of the meetings is to provide members with as much information as possible about the vote and to describe the potential ramifications of each outcome. There will be a handout summarizing the consequences of each potential outcome, a set of proposed bylaws for the new entity (in the event of disaffiliation), a copy of the ballot, and the church’s current financial statement. In addition, everyone attending will be invited to submit written questions to the moderators, Jill Walker and Rev. Jessica Moffatt.  

  • A Church Conference will be convened on Tuesday, September 5, at 6:30 PM. to vote on whether or not COS will disaffiliate from the UMC. Plan now to attend this important Conference. See below for details.

What if I have questions? Bring your questions to any of the informational meetings, or write them down in the meeting. If you will not be able to attend, email any questions to pastors@transitions.team.

Every church member is a vital part of our congregation. Your participation over the next few weeks is very important. Your vote on September 5th will help shape the future for Church of the Servant. Thank you for continuing in prayer.

As we prepare our hearts and minds for what is ahead, we announce the truth of Psalm 33. It confirms what we believe. We do not put our hope in the things of this world. “We put our hope in the Lord, our protector and our help. We have gladness because of him. We trust in his holy name. Your constant love is with us Lord and we put our hope in you” (Psalm 33:20-22).

In Christ,

Rev. Jessica Moffatt
Rev. Dr. Thomas Hoffmann
Lead Pastor Transitions Team
And The Board of Governance


Informational meetings (all held in the Centrum)
  • Sunday, August 27, 11:30 AM
  • Monday, August 28, 6:30 PM
  • Wednesday, August 30, 6:30 PM

All-member Church Conference - Tuesday, September 5 (held in the Celebration Center)
  • Member Registration: 5:00-6:30 PM
  • Church Conference: 6:30 PM

Special Annual Conference to vote on ratification of churches seeking disaffiliation.
  • October 13 & 14  
If ratified, the final day of being a United Methodist congregation: 
  • October 31


What & Why?
A Church Conference vote will be held to consider disaffiliation from the United Methodist Church.

Who can vote?
Professing members (full members) of the Church of the Servant who register on site and provide a photo ID (If there is a question about your membership status, please check with Rachel Gillespie at rgillespie@churchoftheservant.com.)  Guests and non-members may attend the Church Conference. A special section will be reserved for guests.

The Church of the Servant Celebration Center, 14343 N. MacArthur, Oklahoma City, OK 73142

Tuesday, September 5. Member registration opens at 5:00 PM. Members must be registered to vote. Registration closes when the Church Conference convenes at 6:30 PM. No late registrations are allowed.

All registration and voting must take place on site. No absentee ballots or online participation will be allowed. Paper ballots will be used for voting. Votes will be hand-counted in a monitored setting. More than one voting cycle may occur.

How long?
We are not able to predict how long Church Conference will last. There is the possibility of a call for a second vote. Because your vote matters, please plan to stay until the Church Conference is dismissed.

What to Bring?
A photo ID matching your membership name must be shown at registration. A photo ID of some kind is needed for youth or children who are professing members and wish to vote. A school ID will suffice.

Judge Timmons ruled in favor of a second vote

August 21, 2023

Dear Church Family,
This morning, August 21st, Oklahoma District Court 7 Judge Timmons ruled in favor of Church of the Servant's request to be allowed to vote on disaffiliating from the United Methodist Church. The COS Board of Governance will meet Tuesday, August 22, 2023, at 6:00 p.m. in Community Hall to discuss this decision.

Further information will be given at congregational meetings during the next few weeks. Additionally, please save the date of September 5th for a possible membership-wide vote on disaffiliation.

 In Christ,

Jill Walker
Board Chair

DS Sam powers disapproves request for a vote 

July 26, 2023

OKUMC Crossroads District Superintendent Sam Powers issues a letter to the Church of the Servant board of governance which includes this statement: "After prayerful consideration and review of the questions of the congregation and the responses from the Board of Governance as well as the meeting minutes, I am disapproving the Church of the Servant request for [a vote for disaffiliation from the United Methodist Church]." Read the entire response letter below. 

UPdate on litigation

July 19, 2023

This is a message from our Board liaison Monica Wittrock to the Board with updates on the pending litigation. 
Good Morning, Church Council – I thought it might be helpful for you to have an update on the pending litigation as I am sure that many are curious about the status.
The first thing that I want you to know is that at every step and at every turn, our outside counsel has attempted to settle the matter with the Conference without having to resort to the filing of the lawsuit initially and with each motion in court.  As early as this morning, again, our outside counsel reached out to Conference attorneys and to the Conference Chancellor directly to consider settlement.  This is especially critical in light of the ruling that was made in the First Church case on Monday.  I am attaching the Transcript of Judge Timmons’ ruling from that hearing so that you can see the severity of the situation with First Church.
It is important to remember that while our case may be similar in some respects to First Church, it is different.  The ONLY goal of our litigation is to allow Servant to hold a Church Conference to allow the members to vote as allowed by Paragraph 2553.  Obviously, in the event of a super-majority vote to disaffiliate, the application should be placed on the ratification agenda of the Special Annual Conference scheduled for October.  Conversely, if the membership does not vote to disaffiliate by the super-majority required by Paragraph 2553, the church will move forward as an affiliated church of the UMC.
Yesterday, our case went on an interesting judicial journey and I’ll do my best to summarize this for you:
  • We filed our Petition on July 3, 2023, and the case was assigned to Judge Richard Ogden.  Because of the complicated nature of the facts and law of this case, as well as similarities between the First Church and Servant conflicts with the Conference (and the likelihood for inconsistent rulings at the District Court level), our counsel asked that the case be reassigned to Judge Timmons who is the assigned judge for the First Church case.  The Chief Judge (who handles administrative matters on a rotating basis) granted the request and transferred the case to Judge Timmons.
  • Yesterday, our attorneys were set to present our evidence and arguments on the merits of Servant’s Motion for Injunctive Relief before Judge Timmons.
  • However, the Conference filed a motion to transfer the case back to Judge Ogden, and yesterday, the Chief Judge withdrew his earlier ruling, transferring the case back to Judge Ogden.
  • The Conference and Servant appeared before Judge Ogden yesterday, wherein Judge Ogden put the case back on his docket for consideration.  He told the attorneys that under Rule 9 (a court administrative rule) that it was not his decision to reassign the case to Judge Timmons, but it was Judge Timmons who has the authority to accept the reassignment of the case, she being the Judge in the case with the lower case number (earlier in time).  He set a hearing on his docket for next Monday, July 24, on the Conference’s Motion to Dismiss (on jurisdictional grounds) and Servant’s Motion for Injunctive Relief (to allow Servant to set the Church Conference vote) and stated that he would hear those Motions unless the case was transferred to Timmons.
  • Yesterday afternoon, our attorneys filed a Motion to Reassign the case to Judge Timmons.  Judge Timmons set that Motion to Reassign on her docket for August 1.
  • So . . . . where does this leave us for the Motions set before Judge Ogden on July 24?
  • It’s a bit murky, but according to statements made by Judge Ogden’s staff, they believe that the case is to be reassigned to Judge Timmons and that Judge Timmons will hear all of the pending Motions of both the Conference and Servant.
  • Judge Timmons is scheduled to be on vacation next week.
  • Our attorneys are going to be prepared for our Motion to Reassign set by Judge Timmons on her August 1 docket.  They will also be prepared for our Motion for Injunction even though that Motion is not officially set on that day.  If our Motion for Injunction is not heard on August 1, our attorneys feel confident that Judge Timmons will schedule the hearing shortly after August 1 and in time for Servant to hold a Church Conference before the September 6 Conference deadline (or September 13 “one year” date), as she is well-award of the deadlines looming for Servant and First Church.
I know that the above is a little hard to follow, so if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  From my standpoint, the facts of our case are very simple and the relief that we are seeking is crystal clear.  But we know that it is much deeper than that for many, and I would urge us as leaders of our congregation to continue to take the high road, do not make this personal, and please stick to the facts rather than conjecture. 

Monica Wittrock
Board Spokesperson
Please read the attached Court transcript of the ruling against the Oklahoma Annual Conference to understand the seriousness of the charge and the resulting guilty verdict.

response from district superintendent and board of governance

July 10, 2023

On June 22, a consultation was held between our congregation and District Superintendent Sam Powers, along with other Annual Conference leaders, concerning Church of the Servant's request for another vote about disaffiliation. In the meeting, attendees were invited to submit written questions to both the church leaders and to Annual Conference leaders. Due to time constraints, only a portion of the questions were able to be addressed. That night, there was an agreement that church leaders and Annual Conference leaders would provide written answers to the remaining questions. Below, you will find links to two documents – one is from District Superintendent Sam Powers, and the other is from Church of the Servant's Board of Governance.


Crossroads District Superintendent Sam Powers
Church of the Servant Board of Governance


July 3, 2023

As a result of the Oklahoma Annual Conference’s lack of response to the request of the Church Council to schedule a date for a called Church Conference for the purpose of a vote to consider disaffiliation or continued affiliation with the United Methodist Church, Church of the Servant has filed suit with the District Court of Oklahoma County seeking injunctive relief in the matter.

This action has only been taken in the face of repeated requests of the Annual Conference and with significant forbearance as to the passage of time, but we find ourselves at a “speak now, or forever hold your peace” juncture. The imminent deadlines of a special called Annual Conference in October and the looming expiration of Paragraph 2553 require that we act.

Church of the Servant Board of Governance


June 22, 2023

Thursday Night, June 22nd at 7:00 p.m., a specially-called Church Council meeting will be held in Community Hall to discuss our request that the Oklahoma Annual Conference allow a vote in August on the question of Church of the Servant’s disaffiliation or continued affiliation with the United Methodist Church. No vote will be taken on that subject at this meeting. The purpose of the gathering is solely to provide consultation between the District Superintendent and the Board of Governance on the matter. It is expected that Bishop Jimmy Nunn and Director of Transitional Ministries Tish Malloy will be in attendance.

Following the adjournment of that meeting, an opportunity for an extended Q&A session between the Board and all those who choose to remain will be offered. Written questions will be submitted and the conversation will be moderated by Monica Wittrock who serves as our Legal Liaison to the Church Council.

All Church Members are invited to attend this important gathering.

Church of the Servant Board of Governance

Special called church conference was on September 11, 2022

Message from acting Senior Minister in September 2022

Good evening Members & Friends,

On Sunday, September 11, 2022, Church of the Servant held a special called church conference to vote on disaffiliating from the United Methodist Church. Not enough votes were cast in support of disaffiliation to achieve the 66.7% required by United Methodist Discipline.  During the Church Conference, two votes were taken as allowed by Robert’s Rules of Order. The vote totals were:


  •     765 total votes cast.
  •     495 yes votes to disaffiliate.
  •     262 no votes to disaffiliate.
  •     8 abstain votes.

    64.7% of votes were yes; a 66.7% vote was not achieved to disaffiliate.

After the first vote, a motion was called on the floor to vote a second time. The motion carried, and a second vote was taken.


  •     655 total votes cast.
  •     435 yes votes to disaffiliate.
  •     219 no votes to disaffiliate.
  •     1 abstain vote.

    66.4% of the votes were yes; a 66.7% vote was not achieved to disaffiliate.

There will be those who are pleased with today’s outcome and those who are disappointed. No matter how you feel now, do not make a hasty decision about the future. At this moment, turning to the Word of the Lord is essential for our healing process to begin. This evening, I want to share the words of Paul, found in Romans 15:5-7.
May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, 
in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

On Sunday, September 18, each of us will have an opportunity to live out this scripture. On Sunday, Church of the Servant will gather to sing, pray, share in fellowship, and search the scriptures. During the worship service, the congregation will also celebrate the blessing of a missionary leaving for Africa very soon, Bibles will be given to the children, and Holy Communion will be shared. As you can see, next Sunday will be a very impactful day.

In closing, please do not hesitate to contact the church office with any questions you may have this week.


Dr. Matthew Mitchell
Senior Minister
Church of the Servant