Satellite Congregation Votes to Leave UMC

By Walter Fenton- A congregation in Wichita, Kansas, that averages 350 in worship has voted to leave The United Methodist Church. As a satellite campus of Asbury UM Church, the congregation announced its decision on Sunday, March 19. “Some pastors and people are weary of all the defiance and unaccountability in the denomination,” said the […]

The UM Church Membership Conundrums

By Walter Fenton- Methodists down through the decades are famous for being “methodical” and giving attention to detail. From the very beginning, John Wesley baked into the Methodist system a regular accounting of membership and attendance in small groups. In order to participate in a worship service, Methodist members had to regularly attend small groups […]

Misunderstandings and Mischaracterizations

By Walter Fenton- As the Commission on a Way Forward moves beyond preliminaries to the hard task of proposing a plan for the church’s consideration, it is worth trying to clarify what United Methodists in the renewal and reform groups regard as misunderstandings or mischaracterizations of their positions. Not infrequently, some centrists and progressives claim […]

Just Resolution Announced in Complaint Filed Against Bishop Julius Trimble

By Walter Fenton- On February 15, Bishop Laurie Haller of the Iowa Episcopal Area confirmed that a church trial had been averted regarding a complaint filed against Bishop Julius Trimble of the Indiana Episcopal Area. The complaint stemmed from Trimble’s handling of a complaint filed against the Rev. Anna Blaedel, a campus minister at the […]

An Invitation to Endless Church Conflict

By Walter Fenton- Most United Methodists have long recognized the debate over the church’s sexual ethics and its teachings on marriage has reached an impasse. However, a legal brief submitted to the UM Church’s Judicial Council (its “Supreme Court”) argues otherwise. It essentially invites the church’s highest court to prolong the legal maneuvering for several […]

Apportionments and the Viability of a Connectional Church

By Walter Fenton- Some United Methodists are pleased to pay them, others have come to loathe them, and still others have little or no idea they are contributing to them when they tithe and make gifts to their local church on Sunday morning. The “them” is apportionments; financial payments local churches make to fund the […]

Reclaiming Our Focus

          In this short video, the Rev. Rob Renfroe, president of Good News and pastor of discipleship at The Woodlands UM Church (The Woodlands, Texas), talks about the imperative of being the church even in the midst of discord and distractions. He identifies sharing the Gospel, making disciples, and being mission […]

Two Large UM Churches Vote to Leave Denomination

By Walter Fenton- Two large local United Methodist churches in the Mississippi Annual Conference have taken congregation wide votes to leave the denomination. Ninety six percent of the parishioners at Getwell Road UM Church in Southaven and 99 percent at The Orchard UM Church in Tupelo supported separation on Sunday, February 5. The senior pastors […]

The UM Blame Game

By Walter Fenton- Two recent guest commentaries by the United Methodist News Service (UMNS) warrant a response. Both pieces are critical of conservative United Methodists. One, without evidence, makes a scurrilous claim about the work of evangelical groups at General Conference. And the other is a retired bishop’s attempt to blame others for the crisis […]

Dithering UM Leadership in West

By Walter Fenton- According to a United Methodist News Service article dated August 23, 2016, Bishop Grant Hagiya, president of the Western Jurisdiction’s College of Bishops, said newly elected Bishop Karen Oliveto, an open lesbian married to a deaconess in The United Methodist Church, “faces multiple complaints under church law … [and] that he has […]