Jasper church announces name change, leaves national conference (updated)

The leadership of Shiloh United Methodist Church announced a name change for the church community.

The church will now be known as Shiloh Church of Jasper. The name change comes with the church congregation’s decision to disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church. According to Pastor Dan Sinkhorn, the decision came “after several years of deep dissatisfaction with the United Methodist Church’s leadership.”

In a blog post published on August 10, Sinkhorn noted corruption and systemic degradation of the UMC’s laws and beliefs across the nation played a part in the decision to consider separating. You can read more here.

Though no long affiliated with the United Methodist Church, Sinkhorn noted the church will remain true to the Wesleyan roots of the Methodists.

“We continue to worship and serve as a Christian church rooted in the Apostolic traditions and in the Wesleyan-Methodist way,” Pastor Sinkhorn said in an email on Monday.

In a blog post published on September 7, Sinkhorn wrote the following in regard to the church’s beliefs and goals moving forward.

Our journey of discernment has revealed that our Shiloh family thrives on three essential ingredients and their elements: The Bible, family, and community. 

  • The Bible is a gift from God, whose Word (heart and mind) is unchanging, perfect, and true. It informs our relationship with God and each other. 
  • Family, in our context, is the intimate, committed bond of Christian Believers who share the One Holy Spirit because of the sacred blood of Jesus Christ. Therefore, our Christian family shares common spiritual DNA. Family unity is not dependent upon common lifestyles, languages, tastes, and traditions. We are all sinners saved by grace and born again in the same Holy Spirit. 
  • Community is the place and people with whom we live, work, and serve outside the Shiloh family. We look upon our community with the love of Christ and deeply desire its salvation and well-being. We understand that our Christian witness derives from personal discipleship and holiness.

Shiloh Church of Jasper will accomplish these goals by: 

  • Letting our light shine, free from worldly religion
  • Worshiping God because we just can’t help it
  • Loving the LORD with heart, mind, and soul
  • Loving our neighbors with the grace of God

Along with the new name, the church also announced the new worship time will be at 10 a.m. on Sundays in the Shiloh Sanctuary.

Shiloh has a long history in the area. It originally began when a group of Ireland residents, with help from the pastor of the Haysville Methodist Episcopal Church, formed the Methodist Episcopal Society in Ireland in 1873. The group dedicated a church building in Ireland in 1881, and it remained the church home for more than one hundred years.

In 1986, with financial help from the Indiana United Methodist leadership, the first 10 acres of the current site of the church at the corner of State Road 56 and County Road 350 was purchased.

Shiloh is among many Indiana churches that announced they were disaffiliating from the UMC.

The decisions by these churches are part of a nationwide movement to disaffiliate over issues that include the UMC’s stance on abortion, homosexuality and the authority and interpretation of the bible.

The UMC allowed the limited right to disaffiliate “for reasons of conscience” related to changes regarding policies on homosexuality in a paragraph adopted in the denomination’s Book of Discipline in 2019. The separation from the UMC must be complete by Dec. 31, 2023. Disaffiliation requires a two-thirds vote of those attending a conference of a congregation’s membership.

A Special Session of the Indiana Annual Conference was held digitally on Saturday, November 19, 2022, for the sole purpose of approving the churches wishing to disaffiliate from the denomination. 105 Indiana churches that had voted to leave were allowed to do so.

In the Southwest District, Shiloh was among 13 UMC churches that were disaffiliated.

You can see a full list here.