Last month the Wesleyan Covenant Association announced the creation of the Central Conference Ministry Fund. It is specifically designed to support United Methodist ministries in Africa, Europe, the Philippines, and Russia that some U.S. annual conferences and local churches said they could no longer fund. These conferences and congregations are withdrawing their financial assistance, they say, to demonstrate their frustration with regions of the UM Church that continue to staunchly support the church’s traditional sexual ethics, teachings on marriage and ordination standards that were reaffirmed and enhanced at the special General Conference earlier this year.
The WCA Council has designated $100,000 as a matching grant for the first $200,000 given to the fund, matching one dollar for every two dollars given. All of the money given will be directly distributed to projects funded; none will be reserved for administrative costs.
“We’re off to a strong start,” said the Rev. Keith Boyette, “with approximately $35,834 received in less then three weeks. And we’re excited to see what we can accomplish as we partner with our sisters and brothers in our global church to help pastors and missionaries receive an education, to build local churches, and fund clinics that provide critical health care.”
As some annual conferences’ leaders and bishops act to defy the UM Church’s Book of Discipline and the will of its General Conference, we are aware some United Methodists laity and local churches are withholding giving and apportionments. They have determined they cannot, in good conscience, fund leaders who are actively working to undermine the will and good order of the UM Church. However, they still want to support great ministries going on around the world. As an alternative, the WCA encourages laity and local churches in these areas to consider supporting its Central Conference Ministry Fund.
The WCA longs for the day when people of good will recognize the deep, irreconcilable differences in the church and work for a fair and just separation that liberates Progressives, Centrists and Traditionalists from a mutually destructive battle. We believe new expressions of Methodism will allow like-minded people to do the kind of ministry they believe God is calling them to do free of divisive fights and acts that harm not just the UM Church, but the church universal as well.
In the interim the WCA will do all it can to support ministries adversely affected by the long and acrimonious debate. To learn more about the Central Conference Ministry Fund click HERE. And to make a gift, click HERE.