About

Who We Are

The Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA) connects Spirit-filled, orthodox churches, clergy, and laity who hold to Wesleyan theology. It is an association or network of individuals and congregations who share a common understanding of our Wesleyan doctrine and desire to become a vibrant, faithful, growing 21st -century church.

We believe change is coming to The United Methodist Church, and as we live into what comes next, the Wesleyan Covenant Association will connect, encourage, and resource clergy, laity, congregations, and regional chapters by:

  • Committing to the primary authority of Scripture and the Lordship of Jesus Christ
  • Creating a unified response to the Bishops’ Commission recommendation that would maintain traditional, orthodox Methodist beliefs
  • Developing a plan for a positive and faithful future

The Wesleyan Covenant Association affirms the work of other renewal groups, such as The Confessing Movement, Good News, and UM Action. However, the WCA’s purpose is not to fight the political battles raging across the church, but to prepare for and live into a positive and fruitful future.

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Upholding Scriptural Authority and the Lordship of Jesus Christ
The earliest Christian affirmation was “Jesus Christ is Lord” (Acts 2:36). This is the core belief that characterizes all Christians and defines discipleship. As followers of Jesus, we seek to live together in obedience to Christ’s teachings as found in Holy Scripture (Matthew 28:20). We know Christ authoritatively through the revelation of God’s Word. We believe “all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful … so that [we] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (II Timothy 3:16).

Our understanding and application of Scripture is informed by 2,000 years of Christian tradition, along with our reason and experience. But God’s Word is “the true rule and guide for faith and practice” (Confession of Faith, Article IV). The Wesleyan Covenant Association aims to ground all of our beliefs and practices in the authority of Scripture and seeks to reestablish our church on this firm foundation. Living and serving under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the authority of Scripture, we are moving forward with Confidence for the future.

Creating a Unified Response
We are in a time of great uncertainty in The United Methodist Church. Persistent and escalating disobedience to the order and discipline of our church has created anarchy. The 2016 General Conference entrusted the Bishops’ Commission on a Way Forward for the Church with the task of arriving at a recommended way to break the impasse over the church’s ministry with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons. A 2019 special General Conference will receive that recommendation and determine how our church will move forward.

The Wesleyan Covenant Association exists to give voice to Spirit-filled, orthodox members as we consider that recommendation and prepare for the decision of the 2019 General Conference. If the Commission’s recommendation is something we can support, the WCA will do so. If not, the WCA will create a unified response, while maintaining our beliefs. We believe that we will be in a better position to respond to the Commission’s recommendation as a unified body of Spirit-filled orthodox believers. Therefore, we seek to gather together as many like-minded clergy, laity, and congregational members of the Wesleyan Covenant Association as possible. This unified association will enable us to respond together and move forward together in the strongest way possible. Acting together will give us Confidence for the Future.

Preparing a Plan for the Future
We believe that, after the 2019 General Conference, United Methodism will look very different from how it looks today. However, we cannot wait until 2019 to figure out how orthodox, evangelical United Methodists will move forward together. That is why the Wesleyan Covenant Association is committed to working on plans for a revitalized 21st-century Methodism that can be implemented either within a United Methodist structure or outside it. Our plans need to be flexible enough to adjust to the Commission’s recommendation and the 2019 General Conference’s decisions. Our plans also need to uphold the integrity of our belief in the primary authority of Scripture under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, as well as seek the best framework for a vital, growing church that is making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. This planning and preparation will give us Confidence for the Future.

The Wesleyan Covenant Association Provides:

Resources – To Churches

  • A connection with like-minded United Methodists and Wesleyans around the world that brings encouragement and support
  • Regional support, resourcing and shared ministry
  • A system that connects like-minded congregations
  • Educational materials to help congregations address the conflict we are experiencing in United Methodism today
  • Keep congregational leaders up to date with what is happening across the church in preparation for the 2019 General Conference
  • A voice and vote in shaping what is next within Methodism
  • Recommended resources and partner ministries that can increase the effectiveness of local church ministry
  • A public listing of orthodox, evangelical Wesleyan congregations to help people find a congregation
  • A reason to stay within The United Methodist Church as we prepare together for whatever comes from the Bishops’ Commission and the 2019 General Conference
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Support – To Clergy

  • A connection with like-minded United Methodists and Wesleyans around the world that brings encouragement and support
  • A system that facilitates the connection of like-minded clergy in a regional area for support, resourcing, and addressing the concerns unique to clergy
  • Encouragement and support in staying true to the orthodox, biblical gospel message
  • Keep congregational leaders up to date with what is happening across the church in preparation for the 2019 General Conference
  • A voice and vote in shaping the “next” Methodism for a revitalized 21st -century church
  • Recommended resources and partner ministries that can increase the effectiveness of local church ministry
  • Resources, prepared materials, and recommended guidance for delivering a unified message to the congregation, to the community, and to United Methodist denominational leaders
  • A public listing of orthodox, evangelical Wesleyan clergy that can facilitate persons who are seeking such a pastor to find one and facilitate such clergy connecting with one another
  • A reason to stay within The United Methodist Church as we prepare together for whatever comes from the Bishops’ Commission and the 2019 General Conference

Solidarity – To Laity

  • A connection with like-minded United Methodists and Wesleyans around the world that brings encouragement and support
  • Solidarity with other laity in promoting a traditional, orthodox, Wesleyan understanding of the Christian faith
  • Offering a way to help and strengthening the Spirit-filled, orthodox Wesleyan voice through membership, as the Wesleyan Covenant Association advocates for the Lordship of Jesus Christ through the primary authority of Scripture and prepares to respond to the Bishops’ Commission and the 2019 General Conference
  • Regular communication that keeps laity up to date with what is happening across the church in preparation for the 2019 General Conference
  • Recommended resources and opportunities for lay participation
  • A reason to stay within The United Methodist Church as we prepare together for whatever comes from the Bishops’ Commission and the 2019 General Conference

Our Leadership

Rev. Keith Boyette, President
(president@wesleyancovenant.org)

The Wesleyan Covenant Association Council

Rev. Dr. Jeff Greenway
(Reynoldsburg, OH) – Council Chair
Rev. Carolyn Moore
(Evans, GA) – Council Vice-Chair
Rev. Madeline Carrasco Henners
(La Grange, TX) – Council Secretary
Ferrell Coppedge
(Marietta, GA) – Council Treasurer
Rev. Dr. Bill Arnold
(Wilmore, KY)
Rev. Shane Bishop
(Belleville, IL)
Rev. Dr. Bryan Collier
(Tupelo, MS)

Jennifer Cowart
(Kathleen, GA)
Michelle DeRouen
(New Iberia, LA)
Rev. Joe DiPaolo
(Wayne, PA)
Rev. Dr. Kimba Evariste
(Democratic Republic of Congo)
Jeff Jernigan
(Powder Springs, GA)
Rev. Dr. Randy Jessen
(Parker, CO)
Rev. Dr. Jerry Kulah
(Garnga City, Liberia)
Rev. Jessica LaGrone
(Wilmore, KY)
Rev. Thomas Lambrecht
(The Woodlands, TX)

Rev. Forbes Matonga
(Nyadire, Zimbabwe)
Rev. Eliseo Mejia
(Paris, KY)
Cara Nicklas
(Oklahoma City, OK)
Rev. Dr. Jonathan Razon
(Baguio City, The Philippines)
Rev. Rob Renfroe
(The Woodlands, TX)
Rev. Dr. Chris Ritter
(Geneseo, IL)
Rev. Dr. Theodore (“Ted”) Smith
(Ladysmith, VA)
Dr. David Watson
(Dayton, OH)
Rev. Steve Wood
(Alpharetta, GA)

 


“I endorse the Wesleyan Covenant Association and call upon all United Methodists in Africa and beyond to join this new alliance of congregations, pastors, and laypeople who believe in the Scripture as the authentic Word of God for faith and Christian living, and are committed to evangelizing the nations, revitalizing the global UMC, and transforming society.” – Rev. Dr. Jerry P. Kulah, Dean, Gbarnga School of Theology, United Methodist University/General Coordinator, UMC Africa Initiative

“The Wesleyan Covenant Association is a gift. To be able to share fellowship, mission, and evangelism with an association of lay and clergy persons who are committed to the authority of Scripture and the Lordship of Christ is a special blessing.” – Rev. Dr. Maxie Dunnam, Former president of Asbury Theological Seminary

“We live in an intense season of trial and incubation. The WCA gives us space to pray together, to think together, to seek God’s face, to recover our nerve, and to discover fresh resources for ministry. So relax, get on board, and move forward into a new Day of grace, truth, and power.” – Rev. Dr. William J. Abraham, Albert Cook Outler Professor of Wesley Studies, Perkins School of Theology

“Friends in Christ, I invite and encourage you to consider joining with me as a member of the Wesleyan Covenant Association. I do so as a call to the highest level of doctrinal integrity and missional commitment in the name of our Lord. Let us come together in a unity of gospel purpose as Christ prayed in John 17:21 and not simply a conglomeration of the lowest element of denominational engagement. Together, with all United Methodists who call on Christ, let us be united in renewing the Wesleyan movement for the advancing Kingdom of God.” – Bishop Mike Lowry, The Central Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church, The Fort Worth Episcopal Area

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What has motivated the creation of the Wesleyan Covenant Association?

Pastors and congregations have expressed an interest in creating a “place” where traditional, orthodox UM churches can support and resource each other – both for ministry to our changing culture and for facing the challenges presented by a denomination that is unclear about its commitment to Scripture. We are a hopeful people who believe God can still use a faithful Wesleyan witness for the salvation of souls and the renewal of our culture. However, serial acts of ecclesial defiance and the inability or unwillingness of our bishops to maintain the church’s good order have undermined the witness and effectiveness of many local congregations. We regret the loss of faithful members and even churches from our connection, and therefore it is imperative that faithful UM congregations band together to encourage one another, support one another, and strongly advocate for a faithful and fruitful church. The Wesleyan Covenant Association will bear witness to a vibrant and faithful expression of orthodox Christianity for such a time as this.

  • How will the WCA interact with the bishops’ special commission on the future of the church?

The WCA believes the creation of the special commission is a defining opportunity for our church. The commission will either find a way for United Methodists to live together with integrity and clear consciences, or reach the conclusion that our differences are so deep that unity is no longer possible. The WCA is confident the commission will take very seriously the voices of the WCA’s members. In fact, the WCA is being created, in part, to ensure their voices are heard. The WCA stands ready to work with the special commission, and it will work to prepare its members for the various alternatives the commission may propose.

  • Is the WCA going to become a new denomination?

That is not the association’s intent. The WCA hopes the UM Church can remain united. We pray we can all find ways to live as Jesus’ joyful and obedient disciples in covenant with one another. We long for a church that leads with grace and is committed to the truth of God’s will revealed through Scripture and embodied in Jesus Christ. We plan to work for a vibrant expression of Wesleyan Christianity within The United Methodist Church.

However, we are mindful of the deep disagreements that exist over the inspiration and primacy of Scripture, its interpretation, and God’s power to transform lives through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, particularly as these core confessions pertain to our church’s sexual ethics. We believe it is imperative that United Methodists definitively answer the question: are we a truly united church or are we two churches pretending to live as one? If we are united, then we must live according to our covenant with one another. If we are unwilling to live in covenant with one another, then we must frankly confront that reality and act accordingly.

  • Who will be the leaders of the WCA?

The voting members of the association will determine who its leaders will be. To learn more about membership in the association see the “Membership” section of this website.

  • Will the WCA help local churches that feel trapped in annual conferences where the Book of Discipline is not being upheld?

Yes. Members of the WCA will do whatever possible to strategize with and support local churches being undermined by clergy and episcopal leaders who disregard our covenant. Though our church’s doctrines are biblical and balanced, many of our bishops have turned a blind eye to, encouraged, or blessed disobedience to our positions and to the covenant that holds us together. Many United Methodists find themselves laboring in Annual Conferences where bishops are unfair to evangelical clergy and where conference officials are hostile to their traditional beliefs. We are grateful for UM clergy and churches who have continued to do faithful work in these difficult settings and the WCA is committed to being a helpful partner with pastors and congregations seeking fair and just treatment. The WCA longs to see local churches revitalized and new ones planted in regions where the denomination is declining at an alarming pace. The WCA is confident that vibrantly orthodox congregations can grow and flourish anywhere. It will seek to support and foster these in all parts of the U.S.

  • How will the WCA relate to United Methodists in the central conferences?

The WCA rejoices over the health and vitality of the church in Africa, Europe, and the Philippines. We are humbled and inspired by the courage and tenacity of brothers and sisters who are bearing far greater fruit than we are, even in the midst of circumstances that are far more challenging than any we know. We have much to learn from our sisters and brothers in the central conferences; therefore, the WCA hopes to facilitate partnerships and networks with central conference United Methodists for the mutual furtherance of our ministries.

  • Wouldn’t it be against church law for congregations to identify as members of the Wesleyan Covenant Association?

No, we do not believe it would be inappropriate for local congregations to identify as members of the Wesleyan Covenant Association. The intent of the association is to advocate for and to defend the core teachings of the church, its polity, and its good order.

  • How is the WCA different from Good News, The Confessing Movement, and UMAction?

Good News, The Confessing Movement, and UMAction are primarily supported by rank-and-file United Methodists and some local churches. However, neither individuals nor local churches are considered “members” of these organizations and the supporters do not elect the leaders of these groups.

Local churches, pastors, and laity will be encouraged to become members of the WCA. In addition, we believe it is time for an all-encompassing organization that welcomes people and congregations from all across the spectrum of various renewal and reform groups within United Methodism as well as others who affirm the WCA’s statements on biblical authority, faith and moral principles and who promote the ministry of the gospel from a Wesleyan theological perspective. The WCA is not a project of one renewal group, but rather the aspiration of all interested in the renewal of Christ’s church. At this critical juncture it is important for vibrant, orthodox congregations to bear witness together to the primacy of Scripture, and the time-honored traditions of our church.

  • How is the WCA different from Seedbed’s New Room Network?

The WCA praises God for raising up Seedbed’s ministry and its New Room Network. The WCA strongly encourages local churches to use Seedbed’s resources and we commend the New Room conferences to clergy and laity. Uniquely, the resources Seedbed produces and its New Room Conferences are intentionally pan-Methodist and trans-denominational, seeking to help all those in the Wesleyan family to learn from one another and work together where they can.

The WCA, on the other hand, is explicitly primarily an association of local United Methodist churches committed to the core teachings of the church, even when those teachings are counter-cultural. It has a more formal membership and accountability structure, in contrast to the less formal network of the New Room. The members of the Association covenant to support and learn from one another, as well as work together, in the midst of profound challenges and a deep time of discernment.

  • How can a local church join the WCA?

Please see the “Membership” section of this website.

  • Can individuals join the WCA? If so, how?

Please see the “Membership” section of this website.