United Methodist Church Votes to Exclude Any Members Over the Age of 33

ST. LOUIS – Churches throughout Vermont, the country, and the world were stunned yesterday when a special conference of the international United Methodist Church voted to limit church participation for anyone over the age of 33. The denomination currently includes many pastors and lay leaders of advanced age, and protests began almost immediately after the younger generation took full control of the religious organization.

Claiming “biblical truth” on the basis that “no one ought to live or engage in ministry longer than Christ,” the resolution was passed with 56% in favor of the new rule. Debate had been heated, as many older pastors pointed to Saint Peter and Saint Paul, each of whom practiced ministry into their sixties, leading one delegate to shout “Are we Paulians? Are we Peterenarians?! NO! We are Christians!”

Any United Methodist churches who still feel that people aged 34 and up are still suitable for ministry, despite their inflexible minds and spirits, have been invited to leave the denomination and form their own church. This response was met with anger, as some argued that Jesus always led towards inclusion and acceptance, despite what the Bible might say literally about his age.

“I understand where they’re coming from,” said youth pastor Jen Z. from Faith United Methodist Church in South Burlington. “They’re reading the Bible one way, and we’re reading it another way. Unfortunately there’s only room for one interpretation, so we voted and they’re out. I wish them well, but I don’t know how they’re going to survive. I mean, can you imagine going to church and just seeing old people sitting in the pews? That’s not a business model that’s going to last long.”

“This is absurd,” said Rev. Farrah C. of Milwaukee during the debate. “We can’t do anything about our age! If anything, our experience gives us a better perspective on faith! Why would you vote to exclude people for something they can’t do anything about?!” She was booed off the podium by visiting members of the Westboro Baptist Church, holding signs reading “God Hates Geezers.”

Challenges have already been issued as to the plan’s constitutionality, and the battle is far from over as the lawyers begin to examine the details, but for now it looks as though the church is at last becoming more like Christ, at least in age.

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  1. To paraphrase Martin Niemoller: “First they came for the Methodists, and I didn’t speak up…Then they came for the editors of satirical websites…”

  2. This Methodist clergyperson gives deep thanks for the wisdom that undergirds your brilliant satire. This week’s happenings in St. Louis did indeed result in a giant, reeking pile of what St. Paul would have called ‘σκύβαλον.’ For those of us in the resistance, σκύβαλον just got real.

  3. Oh the wisdom of this article. Thank you for providing a clarifying light on the challenge the UMC faces coming out of St. Louis. Having sat in that space, there would have been very few people remaining to vote if the 33 rule had passed.

  4. This is ridiculous! The young people will quickly realize that it is those older people who support the churches financially. ALL AGES ARE NEEDED to be successful.

  5. Um, Virginia… you aren’t taking this seriously, are you? If you are, please go to the top of the page and read the header. (It’s ok, lots of people make that mistake.)

    And if you weren’t taking it seriously, congratulations. I think you just outsatired The Winooski.

  6. Good luck with that. My Church
    Grace United Methodist of Hagerstown MD,
    the seniors do the vast amount of work.

  7. Love it! In my 20s, I thought that people over 30 were old. Then, when I was 30 and again when I was 40, and 50, and 60, I rounded the “old ” number up to 50, and so on. What I have discovered along the way is that are potentialities inside yourself for being among, or suspected of belonging to, almost every category of person you might have earlier deemed worthy of exclusion – or, if this is not true of you, it might apply in the case of a dear friend, or a very close family member.

  8. This is brilliant satire. On the other hand, there really are people and groups who are seriously saying that their Annual Conference should not elect as delegates anyone other than young people. Or persons of color. Or LGBTQ people.

  9. Are there any other options? Are there any sub clauses available? for example if i deny that I am 80 years old and pretend to act 32 would they let me still be a member?

    • As long as you don’t actively practice an 80-year-old lifestyle, I think you’ll be okay. Just don’t tell anyone!

  10. Congratulations — Your parody of the anti-Gay votes in St. Louis have reached us in Wisconsin where we proudly support our 18 Reconciling Methodist Churches who preach that “All means All” when it comes to the Kingdom of God. Your light-hearted, but deft sarcasm helps with the grief that we feel in our communities. We shall overcome!

    • When I first read that story, I was convinced they had mistakenly reported on this article (as sometimes happens). Couldn’t believe it was true!

      • I’ve validated with the journalist, the sources and with the pastor. It’s absolutely true. Worse, now that the news it out, leadership at the UMC Conference is defending the decision and issuing carefully worded statements denying it. Unbelievable!

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