Leaning Centrists

By Walter Fenton- A resolution recently presented to the clergy session of the West Ohio Annual Conference speaks volumes about the self-declared “United Methodist Centrist Movement.” The resolution made four requests of conference pastors and the two at the top of the list are telling: “Refrain from making complaints against colleagues in matters of sexual […]

Brief Notes from Around the Connection

Financial Challenges in Yellowstone In a recent note to the churches of the Yellowstone Annual Conference, Bishop Karen Oliveto and her cabinet wrote: “As we prepare for Annual Conference, we want to let you know of a critical situation facing the Yellowstone Annual Conference. Our first quarter budget results are showing that mission shares [i.e. […]

Delay, Delay, Delay…and More Delay

By Walter Fenton- The Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops of The United Methodist Church cannot take “no” for an answer. Less than seven weeks ago the denomination’s Judicial Council (it’s “Supreme Court”) ruled, “A same-sex marriage license issued by competent civil authorities together with [a] clergy person’s status in a same-sex relationship is a public […]

Commentary: Moving from Moderator to Advocate

By Walter Fenton- Florida Bishop Ken Carter recently released a video citing seven reasons why he believes The United Methodist Church will remain united. This is a notable move since Carter is one of three moderators for the denomination-wide Commission on a Way Forward, a group that will be releasing a plan to deal with […]

New York Clergy Member Resigns from Board of Ordained Ministry

The Rev. Chuck Ferrara, until recently a member of the New York Annual Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, sent the following letter to Bishop Thomas Bickerton: Dear Bishop Bickerton, I know you are somewhat familiar with my background. But just in case you are not, I would like to point out two areas of my past […]

Two Boards of Ordained Ministry Spurn Judicial Council Rulings

By Walter Fenton- The Boards of Ordained Ministry of both the New York and Pacific Northwest Annual Conferences have announced they will not abide by recent rulings of The United Methodist Church’s Judicial Council, the denomination’s final arbiter of church law. In 2016 both boards, along with five others, had voted to ignore portions of the […]

Largest Congregation in Mississippi Parts Ways with UM Church

By Walter Fenton- The largest local church in the Mississippi Annual Conference in terms of worship attendance and one of the 25 fastest growing churches in the U.S. has now officially exited The United Methodist Church. According to lead pastor Bryan Collier, The Orchard Church (Tupelo) reached a settlement with conference leaders that made its departure […]

Responding to Misconceptions about the Bishops’ Commission

By Thomas Lambrecht- The Bishops’ Commission on a Way Forward for the Church is now in its fifth month of work. We have had three face-to-face meetings and are preparing for a fourth in July. Over these months, I have continued to hear criticisms of the Commission that stem from misunderstandings or myths about what […]

Maintaining Standards for Ordination

By Thomas Lambrecht- Two of the Judicial Council’s decisions reinforced the duty of annual conference boards of ordained ministry to determine that candidates for licensing, commissioning, and ordination all meet the requirements of the Book of Discipline, including the requirement for “celibacy in singleness and fidelity in a heterosexual marriage.” In the run-up to General […]

Judicial Council Upholds Bishop’s Rejection of Cynical Resolution

Editor’s Note: Overshadowed by its significant ruling regarding the consecration of an openly lesbian bishop, the Judicial Council did issue other important decisions. Below, the Rev. Walter Fenton reviews one of them and the Rev. Thomas Lambrecht addresses two others. By Walter Fenton Without any dissenting opinions, the Council affirmed Bishop Mark J. Webb’s decision […]