Asbury United Methodist Church, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Friday, November 8, 2019
Resolution One: Endorsing the Indianapolis Plan for Amicable Separation
WHEREAS, The United Methodist Church has experienced increasing levels of conflict at every General Conference since 1972 with the 2019 special General Conference and its aftermath highlighting the depth of irreconcilable differences within the church;
WHEREAS, the depth of conflict and the dysfunction in the UM Church is harming its ministry, its ability to fulfill its mission, and its witness;
WHEREAS, efforts to resolve the impasse in ways that will preserve the UM Church have been unsuccessful and have only led to further harm to the church and its mission;
WHEREAS, there are increasing calls from various areas of the UM Church that for the sake of the mission as we understand it, it is necessary for us to find a way to end our conflict, and bless and send one another as we multiply our denomination into other expressions of vibrant, Wesleyan Christianity;
WHEREAS, the Indianapolis Plan for Amicable Separation is the product of the sincere compassionate work of a diverse group of centrists, progressives, and traditionalists seeking to end our conflict and provide a pathway to new and entirely distinct denominations of the Methodist movement unhindered by those with whom they have been in conflict; and,
WHEREAS, the Indianapolis Plan for Amicable Separation enables the formation of new denominations with unity grounded in theological alignment within each new denomination;
NOW, THEREFORE, the Global Legislative Assembly of the Wesleyan Covenant Association supports the principles outlined in the Indianapolis Plan for Amicable Separation. If a mutually agreeable plan of separation based on these principles is not adopted at the 2020 General Conference of The United Methodist Church, we support the full implementation of the Traditional Plan. Recognizing that, in either event, some Traditionalist local churches, clergy, and laity will separate from the UM Church, the Global Legislative Assembly authorizes the WCA Council to convene a founding conference for a new Methodist church if necessary. Upon the adjournment of the UM Church’s 2020 General Conference, if the WCA Council believes it is necessary, it will convene a founding conference for the creation of new church committed to embodying the historic Christian faith in the Wesleyan tradition.
Resolution Two: Receiving and Commending a Draft “Book Of Doctrines and Discipline” for a New Methodist Church
Whereas, the 2019 special General Conference of The United Methodist Church highlighted the depth of irreconcilable differences present in the UM Church;
Whereas, since the adjournment of the special General Conference some bishops, clergy, annual conferences, and local churches have demonstrated their unwillingness to abide by the will of the General Conference and portions of the UM Church’s Book of Discipline;
Whereas, an amicable separation of the UM Church and the creation of successor churches, or the withdrawal of churches, laity and clergy from the UM Church appears likely in the immediate aftermath of the 2020 General Conference;
Whereas, some who separate will desire to remain connected to one another in a new church that upholds the doctrine and ethical teachings of an historic, Wesleyan expression of the Christian faith while reclaiming the qualities of our earlier movement;
Whereas, the Wesleyan Covenant Association (the “WCA”) was formed in part to provide for such a connection if necessary;
Whereas, the 2018 Global Legislative Assembly authorized the formation of a Next Steps Working Group to envision a revitalized Methodist movement within or, if necessary, outside the UM Church, including a structure;
Whereas, the 2018 Global Legislative Assembly authorized the WCA Council to convene a conference of a new Methodist movement following the 2019 special General Conference should it be necessary;
Whereas, the Next Steps Working Group delivered a draft “Book of Doctrines and Discipline” to the WCA Council for a new Methodist church committed to embodying the historic Christian faith in the Wesleyan tradition, and the WCA Council has reviewed, modified, and recommended portions of that draft to this Global Legislative Assembly as a working document to inform a convening conference for such a new Methodist church if necessary;
Whereas, the draft “Book of Doctrines and Discipline” is a working document which addresses the essential elements of a new church and is not in final form and will be subject to further amendment and editing; and
Whereas, releasing the draft “Book of Doctrines and Discipline” for review and comment will enhance the development and sharing of ideas in advance of a convening conference of a new church;
NOW, THEREFORE, the WCA’s Global Legislative Assembly receives with appreciation the draft “Book of Doctrines and Discipline” for a new traditional Methodist church, and commends the document as a resource for further study and development as we anticipate the possible convening conference for such a church.
Resolution Three: Empowering Ministry Task Forces
WHEREAS, the Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA) was formed, in part, to work for a revitalized Methodist witness globally;
WHEREAS, the WCA is committed to reaching all people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and inviting every person to be a follower of Jesus Christ transformed by the grace and love of God;
WHEREAS, the WCA desires to provide local churches with best practices and assist churches in discerning God’s call to reach their individual mission fields; and
WHEREAS, the WCA intends to multiply local church ministries by connecting theologically aligned congregations to one another through the launch of a new global Methodist Church committed to the historic Christian faith in the Wesleyan tradition;
NOW, THEREFORE, the Global Legislative Assembly directs the WCA Council and the WCA staff to establish the following task forces to identify best practices, discern God’s call, and connect and resource local churches in ministry as we move into a new season of effective outreach to our neighbors globally:
- Accountable Discipleship – identifying, developing and deploying effective models for disciple making as an integral part of the ministry of local churches and communicating the necessity of every Christ follower embracing the call to be disciples and to be makers of disciples.
- Church Multiplication – the establishment of new local churches or the launching of additional sites of existing churches particularly in communities where there is no witness to the historic Christian faith in the Wesleyan tradition and where existing churches are not reaching significant communities in a geographic area.
- Church Revitalization – empowering existing churches to embrace ministries that will renew and restore the mission of the church for new generations and in communities experiencing significant changes.
- Global Missional Partnerships – developing and deploying effective partnerships for local churches to be in ministry with one another globally across geographic boundaries to advance the Kingdom of God and reach people of diverse cultures with the love of Jesus.
- Missional Ministry in the Margins – identifying and deploying effective models for local churches to be in ministry with the poor, marginalized, addicted, and recovering.
Ministry With Young People and Young Adults – addressing the challenge for local churches in reaching teens, shepherding them through the transition to adulthood, and engaging those who are navigating further education or entering the workforce so that they continue as committed Christ followers.