Professing Membership: A Tale of Three Paragraphs (and a Judicial Council Decision)

By Taylor Burton-Edwards

How does someone become a professing member of The United Methodist Church?

worship-planning-professing-membership-1 The United Methodist Book of Discipline offers a consistent standard for the acts required to become a professing member.

Persons may be admitted into professing membership when they have been baptized in water in the name of the Triune God and have professed all of the vows of our services of the baptismal covenant, as specified in paragraph 217.

worship-planning-professing-membership-2Judicial Council decision 1032 further clarified that the appointed pastor in each charge is solely responsible to determine whether persons who are candidates for professing membership under paragraph 214 are ready to profess these vows.

worship-planning-professing-membership-3The same basic standard applies to baptized persons from other denominations seeking to become professing members in The United Methodist Church as for those who we baptized and raised in the UMC. In both cases, taking all of the vows listed in paragraph 217 and included in our current official baptismal ritual is required. For these persons, some additional certification of their baptism or an appropriate letter of transfer from the sending church is also needed if it is available.