July 1, 2016
An Open Letter to the People of The United Methodist Church:
As clergy and lay leaders of healthy, vibrant orthodox United Methodist congregations, and as teachers preparing the future clergy leaders of our denomination, we welcome the creation of the Wesleyan Covenant Association. In these times of great uncertainty about the future of The United Methodist Church, we believe it is important for orthodox congregations, clergy, and laity to work together, to support one another, and to encourage each other. We long for a church committed to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the last, the least and the lost.
Committed to the Wesleyan expression of orthodox Christianity, we believe the church can and must do better. We are alarmed by the growing loss in average worship attendance in many of our annual conferences. We regret the now numerous instances where colleagues in ministry have broken covenant with the rest of the church and sowed the seeds of schism. We are grieved by the actions of annual conferences that have decided not to conform to our Discipline. And we are disappointed in leaders who have failed to maintain the good order of the church. Consequently, the work of faithful pastors and laity has been undermined, healthy congregations have left the denomination, and thousands of United Methodists have gone in search of other places to worship and serve.
We believe the Wesleyan Covenant Association will give orthodox United Methodists hope for the future and serve as a source of encouragement as the church works through a critical period of discernment. We want to serve in close partnership with our brothers and sisters in Africa, Europe and the Philippines. And we want to be prepared to act as one in light of the important work and recommendations of the Bishops’ Commission on the Future of the Church. We encourage all orthodox clergy and laity to remain steadfast and faithful in these uncertain times. We believe the Wesleyan Covenant Association will bind us together and make us a strong, united witness for Scriptural Christianity.
We believe that God is “doing a new thing.” We believe a new and better day is coming for the people called Methodist who are committed to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, the authority of the Scriptures, and the church’s being a missional force determined to reach a lost culture. We yearn to step into this new future together with others of like minds and hearts.
Please visit the Wesleyan Covenant Association website (www.wesleyancovenant.org) to learn more about it. We also hope you will plan to join us in Chicago on October 7, 2016, for the first gathering of the association.
We are confident you will be hearing more about the association in the weeks and months ahead, and we trust you will join us as we band together for the sake of a vibrant, Wesleyan expression of orthodox Christianity.
Billy Abraham, Perkins School of Theology, Dallas, Texas
Bill Arnold, Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky
Ryan Barnett, Kerrville First UMC, Kerrville, Texas
Keith Boyette, Wilderness Community UMC, Spotsylvania, Virginia
Madeline Carrasco-Henners, Luling First UMC, Luling, Texas
Ferrell Coppedge (lay), Mount Bethel UMC, Marietta, Georgia
Bryan Collier, The Orchard UMC, Tupelo, Mississippi
Jennifer Cowart, Harvest UMC, Byron, Georgia
Jim Cowart, Harvest UMC, Byron, Georgia
Dan Dalton (lay), Dalton & Tomich, Detroit, Michigan
Maxie Dunnam, Christ UMC, Memphis, Tennessee
Walter Fenton, Good News, The Woodlands, Texas
Scott Field, Crystal Lake UMC, Crystal Lake, Illinois
John Gaulke, Altoona UMC, Altoona, Iowa
John Gerlach, Trinity UMC, Windsor, Connecticut
Jeff Greenway, Reynoldsburg UMC, Reynoldsburg, Ohio
Joy Griffin (lay), International Leaders Institute, Carollton, Georgia
Wes Griffin, International Leaders Institute, Carollton, Georgia
Jeff Harper, Evangelical UMC, Greenville, Ohio
Jeff Jernigan (lay), Powder Springs, Georgia
Rick Just, Asbury UMC, Wichita, Kansas
Charles Kyker, Christ UMC, Hickory, North Carolina
Jessica LaGrone, Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky
Thomas Lambrecht, Good News, The Woodlands, Texas
Jim Leggett, Grace Fellowship UMC, Katy, Texas
Kenneth Levingston, Jones Memorial UMC, Houston, Texas
Pat Miller, The Confessing Movement, Indianapolis, Indiana
Carolyn Moore, Mosaic UMC, Evans, Georgia
Mike Morgan, Marion First UMC, Marion, Iowa
Norman Neel (lay), San Augustine, Texas
Martin Nicholas, Sugarland UMC, Sugarland, Texas
Craig Peters, Shueyville UMC, Shueyville, Iowa
Rob Renfroe, The Woodlands UMC, The Woodlands, Texas
Chuck Savage, Sardis UMC, Atlanta, Georgia
Branson Sheets, Covenant UMC, Winterville, North Carolina
Stephens Sparks, Indianola UMC, Indianola, Mississippi
Greg Stover (retired elder), West Ohio Annual Conference, Lake Waynoka, Ohio
Andrew Thompson, Springdale First UMC, Springdale, Arkansas
Richard Thompson, First UMC, Bakersfield, California
David Watson, United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio
Max Wilkins, The Mission Society, Norcross, Georgia
* Church names provided only for identificational purposes.