The creation of the Wesleyan Covenant Association continues to stir interest across The United Methodist Church.
In an extensive article for the United Methodist News Service, reporter Heather Hahn interviewed organizers and cited detractors of the new organization.
“This group was not formed to be the start of a new denomination,” the Rev. Jeff Greenway told Hahn. “It was formed to provide a new, broader voice and encouragement to persons who are dedicated to the very best of scriptural Christianity in our Wesleyan, evangelical, orthodox tradition within The United Methodist Church.”
Greenway, the lead pastor of Reynoldsburg United Methodist Church in Ohio, was among nearly 50 United Methodists who met in Houston to give shape and guidance to the organization.
The association is planning a major launch event on Friday, October 7 in Chicago that is open to all United Methodist laity and clergy. The organization reported that registration for the conference is now open.
Hahn reported that Bishop Bruce Ough, president of the Council of Bishops, identified the “emergence” of the association as one of the “recent moves that have ‘fanned the fears of schism.'”
Ough lumped the organization’s creation with annual “conferences voting noncompliance with restrictions related to homosexuality and the election of the denomination’s first openly gay episcopal leader, Bishop Karen Oliveto.”
According to Hahn, Greenway took issue with Ough’s claim. The “group organizers are loyal United Methodists who have kept their ordination vows, paid church apportionments, and worked to keep fellow evangelicals from leaving the denomination.”
In a gracious, but pointed blog post, Dr. Kevin Watson, a theologian at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, argued that Ough’s comparing the association’s creation with obvious acts of ecclesial disobedience is “misleading.”
Hahn also reported that the Rev. Carolyn Moore, another association organizer, referenced the impending work of the Council of Bishops’ Special Commission that will bring recommendations on the future of the church to a called General Conference scheduled for 2018.
Moore, pastor of Mosaic UM Church in Evans, Georgia, told Hahn, “We want to give folks a place to land while we wait for the commission to perform its function. We are doing our level best to cooperate with the will of the General Conference, and hope that by banding together we will help others to wait and watch the Lord work, too.”
– Good News Media Service
My prayers are for the people that will be meeting in Chicago.
I am very appreciative of the orthodox-organization! The recent election of a Lesbian Bishop defies our present stance and calls into question the authority of scripture. Our longstanding stance as United Methodist on the authority of scripture brings me to stand strongly with this newly formed orthodox organization of our church. I look forward to new statements forthcoming from the October meeting in Chicago. Retired United Methodist Pastor after 41 years of ministry
I have read several articles about this group on several sites. Their intent is favorable to many Methodist. This group, however would be “a think tank, consultant, advisor, researcher, or mediator.” In essence this entity would be a 3rd party to the convening Bishop’s Special Commission. The parameters set up by the Bishop’s Commission could rule them out, let them speak for a short duration, or just let them sit in on the Commission as interested non-voting members of the U.M.C. The primary Leadership is still under the control of the Bishops and the General Conference per our standing polity. Their Standing would be at the mercy of the presiding Chairperson of the Bishop’s Commission as an outside entity. I feel that regardless of their intent, the outcome for this group is limited and will be disappointing at its conclusion. Legal and Procedural recognition of this entity is not yet valid.
My great-great-grandfather, Albert Wilson, was a circuit rider who built a Methodist Church in Nail, Arkansas. I have a feeling that he would be disgusted with what is happening in the United Methodist Church today. A church that cannot or will not even enforce its own Book of Discipline is in serious need of reform. Perhaps the Wesleyn Covenant Association is the beginning of a way to start that reform.
Yea, Bishop, WCA is indeed a counter-reaction to those in blatant, calculated, and intentional rebellion against UMC law. The statement coming out of the Western Jurisdiction election, “this should knock the socks off the denomination”, rather well summarizes the mockery of the Book of Discipline and General Conference by the Reconcilling Ministeries Network and its allies. WCA MUST never let the rhetoric from the left displace the facts on the ground — the actual actions now being taken by the left that’s leading to this schism. Never let anyone forget who is causing this.
Are we of this world or are we not of this world with Jesus? It’s time to stop worshipping at the Asherah pole of political correctness. Thank you for the Eesleyan Covenant Association! What good is a BOD if it isn’t enforced, especially by our own bishops? I would love to be in Chicago on October 7th but I cannot be there. I will be there in prayer though!
1) I’m always amused when those folks, holding a certain point of view and who are consistently in violation of all agreed upon rules, edicts and laws, are first to bellow out when those on the opposing side of the same issue begin to organize and “get their ducks in a row.”
2) When there exists two sides on a given issue, each side should be supported or buttressed with a foundational system which brings strength, sureness and clarity to their particular point of view. I view the UM traditionalists, as reflected by the newly formed Wesleyan Covenant Association, resting firmly on holy scripture, the Book of Discipline and decades of Wesleyan tradition and teaching. On the other hand, I have trouble understanding the firm foundational underpinnings of the UM progressives. The truth seems to be that any foundation is only valid for the most fleeting of moments…until society and the progressive nature of their vision chooses to leap to a “newer, better understanding” of spiritual and societal necessity.
3) The recent General Conference chose to put the future of the UM church in the hands of the UM bishops and their sensibilities regarding the composition of the yet-to-be-convened special commission. Now, I am confident that God has never forsaken the righteous (Ps 37:25); the same cannot be said for our current assemblage of bishops. They have consistently shirked their duties, contorted their interpretation of the BOD to appease certain groups, conferences and jurisdictions and, in my opinion, have been prime contributories to the schism we are experiencing.
If the upcoming special commission were to be composed of holy men and women seeking God’s direction during this dispute, I would have little concern; recent denominational affairs, however, seem to indicate we are more likely to witness a unholy political settlement, offering both visions much less than God’s best, but designed to “guilt” the reluctant into staying the course. Should the commission succeed in retaining both the traditionalists and progressives under the UM banner, I would suggest that the denomination immediately explore the possibility of merging with the Unitarians…at least we might be able to save some administrative costs!
A special convening of the bishops will accomplish nothing. It is simply a stalling tactic for the progressives to plan their next strategic attack on evangelicals and the foundation of Wesley’s and Christ’s church. I truly believe that we are in end times according to the scriptures. Our national leaders disregard the U.S. Constitution even though they took an oath to uphold and defend that document. It is the same within our church. It seems that the Bible, on which our denomination was founded, and the Book of Discipline of the UMC are no longer relevant to those who are of this world and not of Christ’s eternal kingdom.