Second Wesleyan Covenant Association Global Legislative Assembly to Meet

Over 225 delegates representing 48 regional chapters are set to meet for the Wesleyan Covenant Association’s second Global Legislative Assembly (GLA), November 8, 2019, at Asbury United Methodist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The delegates to the assembly are equally divided between laity and clergy, and represent thousands of WCA members from around the world.

“The dramatic growth in WCA membership and the creation of new chapters has resulted in a fifty percent surge in the number of delegates attending our second assembly. That increase clearly demonstrates the still growing enthusiasm for our movement,” said the Rev. Dr. Jeff Greenway, WCA Council Chairman and senior pastor at Reynoldsburg United Methodist Church in Reynoldsburg, Ohio. “And the delegates to this year’s assembly will be asked to deliberate and vote on critical matters for our future.”

The 34-member WCA Council has unanimously affirmed three key resolutions and submitted them to the assembly for its action.

The first resolution invites the delegates to endorse the Indianapolis Plan for Amicable Separation. Legislation to implement this plan will be considered by the United Methodist Church’s 2020 General Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A diverse group of centrists, progressives, and traditionalists hammered out the plan in tough negotiations over the course of several weeks this summer. It calls for the creation of two or three new and entirely separate denominations unhindered by the irreconcilable differences that have undermined the UM Church’s health and vitality.

A second resolution calls on the GLA delegates to receive and commend a draft “Book of Doctrines and Discipline” for a new Methodist church. Last year’s assembly authorized the formation of a Next Steps Working Group to envision a revitalized Methodist movement within or, if necessary, outside the UM Church. That working group developed a draft “Book of Doctrines and Discipline” for a new traditional Methodist church and earlier this year submitted its work to the WCA Council. The council has reviewed and approved changes to nearly 75 percent of the document and is now prepared to share that portion with the GLA.

“’The Book of Doctrines and Discipline’ is a working document. No one at the WCA is under the illusion that what is now being shared is set in stone. We all recognize it will be refined as we go forward, and we welcome that process,” said the Rev. Keith Boyette, President of the WCA.  “We are eager to get it into the hands of our GLA delegates, and then to share it publicly for further consideration and comment. Our goal is to gift to a convening conference for a new traditional Methodist church a document that serves as the basis for a robust conversation about what such a church would look like. We want to enable that new church to move forward deliberately and expeditiously into a new and exciting future.”

The final resolution would have the GLA delegates create six high priority ministry task forces to identify best practices for local congregations that would join a new traditionalist Methodist movement. Task forces would focus on: accountable discipleship, church multiplication, church revitalization, global mission partnerships, missional ministry in the margins, and ministry with young people and young adults.

“These are exciting days for our movement,” said the Rev. Dr. Carolyn Moore, the WCA’s vice-chairwoman and senior pastor at Mosaic United Methodist Church in Evans, Georgia. “We are warm-hearted Wesleyan people, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and committed disciples of Jesus Christ! We look forward to a church where mission and ministry with all God’s people are first and foremost in our hearts and minds.”

Some seating to observe the GLA proceedings will be open on a first-come, first-serve basis. The assembly will meet the day before the WCA’s Fourth Global Gathering, also to be held at Asbury UM Church, and broadcast to over 85 simulcast sites. The theme for this year’s gathering is Transformed. Register to attend at the host site or a simulcast site here.

“The WCA continues to contend for a faithful witness to historic Christianity in the Wesleyan tradition,” said Boyette. “At the same time, the irreconcilable differences and conflict in the UM Church increase the probability of separation. However, in the midst of these uncertain times, I am confident our GLA delegates will press the WCA forward as we pray for the Holy Spirit to rekindle a warm-hearted Methodist movement that will burn brightly for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”