By Walter Fenton-
“We heartily endorse the creation of the Wesleyan Covenant Association,” said the Rev. Rob Renfroe, president of Good News. “Having vibrant, orthodox United Methodist churches across the connection link hands to promote the church’s core teachings and work strategically together will be vitally important during this season of discernment for our denomination.”
The association issued a press release on Thursday, June 30, announcing its creation. It has launched a website that outlines
its purpose and goals, and includes a FAQ page. It also announced that it would hold its first major conference in Chicago on Friday, October 7, 2016.
“The Wesleyan Covenant Association represents the very best of our warm-hearted theology and action-oriented spirituality, and will provide support, encouragement, and resourcing for like-minded and like-hearted United Methodists,” said the Rev. Jeff Greenway, lead pastor of Reynoldsburg (Ohio) United Methodist Church. “During these turbulent times in our denomination, I find this association to be a source of encouragement and hope.”
The release was accompanied by “An Open Letter to the People of the UM Church ” and signed by over 40 clergy, laity, and theologians who endorsed the formation of the association.
The WCA is being launched as a member-based network of United Methodist congregations, clergy, and laity to provide “the encouragement we need to stay committed to our rich heritage while standing firm on the non-negotiables that make The United Methodist Church a vital contributor to the Body of Christ,” said the Rev. Carolyn Moore, senior pastor of Mosaic United Methodist Church in Evans, Georgia.
“In these times of great uncertainty about the future of The United Methodist Church,” the authors wrote, “we believe it is important for orthodox congregations, clergy, and laity to work together, to support one another, and to encourage each other.”
The delegates to the 2016 General Conference adopted a proposal from the Council of Bishops (COB) to create a special commission to review the church’s sexual ethics. The commission is charged with proposing recommendations for how the church should go forward. Based on the timing of the commission’s work, the COB could call for a special called General Conference in either 2018 or 2019.
“My fervent prayer is that we will be able to share our witness in ways that will impact the Bishop’s Commission on the Future of the Church,” said the Rev. Keith Boyette, pastor of Wilderness Community UM Church in Spotsylvania, Virginia. “Those who choose to participate in this great endeavor will be better positioned to embrace a fruitful future regardless of what ultimately occurs within the church.”
Since the conclusion of GC 2016 a number of annual conferences in the U.S. have voted to ignore and to not enforce the church’s teachings on same-sex marriage and the ordination of openly gay clergy. The recent acts of defiance add to a long list of divisive acts that stretch back to the defiant response of the Western Jurisdiction shortly after GC 2012 voted to reaffirm the church’s teachings.
The new association said more information would be forthcoming over the next several months.
Walter Fenton is a United Methodist clergyperson and analyst for Good News.
I just officially left the United Methodist Church after over 70 years in attendance and having been a lay speaker, Sunday school teacher, lay delegate. My great, great grandfather and his brother were the first two Methodist circuit riders in Carroll County, Mississippi and parts of surrounding counties. My brother is a retired Methodist Minister, having served numerous small churches over 35 years. I left over the official anti-Israel position of the UMC via Resolution 6111, passed in 2004, ratified in 2008 and 2012. 6111 was not brought up in 2016, so by Methodist rules, the resolution stays active until brought up in 2020 or it dies. If Resolution 6111 dies or is voted down at 2020 General Conference, I will consider re-joining the Methodist Church, if God gracefully allows me to live that long.
I will pray for your organization and hope the Bishops follow the Word of God and not social mores.
I am so proud and thankful for those of you who are standing up for truth.
Our church has lost its way. Our clergy lack spirit and so many have been contaminated by the unscriptural teaching in our seminaries. We lack fire and true conviction. Where are the on fire preachers who dare to preach the Word of the Living God. The liberals have taken over many many powerful leadership positions in our denomination. They are out of touch with the people in the pew. But who questions them or their liberal agenda? Look at our seminaries and you will find out why we have such weak and many times unscriptural and mealy moused leadership. They only parrot what they are taught. John Wesley would be ashamed of what has happened to this movement. We need strong leadership of men and women filled with the Holy Spirit and fire. Those who believe the Bible is the Word of God and are not afraid to die for that belief. May God raise up these leaders at such a time as this.
More posted information of the Covenant Organizational Conference on Oct 7, 2016 in Chicago would help.
This bit of information is comforting after witnessing the consecration of the lesbian bishop last Saturday, July 16, 2016. Thank you for providing an alternate path for “Crossing Thresholds” (the WJ Conference theme)- My empiric hunch – the election could have been postponed until more dialogue and real Holy Conferencing through the Commission instituted by GC … … uhuuum ….curses and blessings a constant existential ache…
When is the meeting in Chicago? I have looked for it and cannot find any information on it. I am talking about the October 7th Wesleyan meeting.
Why did we believe that our Seminaries would be exempt from the progressive invasion? Foolish, because theological conversation with recent graduates of UMC schools in the SE USA are astonishing to say the least. Today I had a FB conversation with one of them who “liked” an article suggesting that individual scripture reading might lead one to erroneous conclusions and prejudices; that one should reserve that to congregate discussions so as to arrive at the correct interpretation. Basically a “warning” against reading scripture by yourself because you might be misled. Of course, my response referenced Wesley’s “Means of Grace” through time in scripture. His response was that this was still a means of Grace, but we need to be careful about making conclusions — I guess so we can be guided by Divinity Graduates. Lord help my beloved United Methodist Church.
We are Protestants. We do not need clergy to interpret the Bible for us. That is the job of the Holy Spirit who will lead us into all truth. Many of our forefathers died for the right to own and read a Bible of their own. Fear the people who say they alone must be consulted on your understanding of the Bible. These type of people want to control you . As if they hear from God but you don’t. As our seminaries become more and more liberal it will have to be the devout Christian who studies his Bible to monitor the accuracy of their preachers teachings. That is why we should always take our Bibles to church with us. We have to hold each other accountable.
My dear friends, please be careful not to lump all pastor’s, Bishops and other denominational leaders together. There are many of us who are on the front lines whose hearts hunger for revival and the saving power of God to be present in our congregations. There are many pastors who choose to continue to serve in the UMC because we recognize the deep spiritual hunger reflected back to us from the pews as we share the LIFE Word which the Holy Spirit placed in our hearts for that Sunday. If I could ask one simple favor it would be this, do not pray for pastor to have the courage to leave the UMC rather pray that pastor would have the courage to proclaim the Life giving Life transforming message or our Resurrected Savior. That Jesus loves us so much that He receives us where we are in order to lead us to where He would have us go. From Grace to Grace to Grace. Prevenient – Saving – Sustaining!