Transformation in Christian Community

As a man who once fully identified with the LGBTQ+ community and embraced homosexuality as an identity I have also experienced the power of a God who never gives up and a God who insists on working through His imperfect sons and daughters to love powerfully, restoring all kinds of broken boundaries, broken relationships, broken […]

A Cautionary Tale

A lot can happen in five years. In 2014, the call for unity was strong within The United Methodist Church and persons who spoke about the growing division because of our deeply held differences were called schismatic. In 2019, growing numbers of leaders from across the UM Church are calling for some form of separation. […]

WCA Launches Mission Fund for Threatened Global Ministries

The 2019 special General Conference was hardly over before a number of leading moderate and progressive pastors and organizations either announced suspension of financial support for ministry initiatives in the central conferences of The United Methodist Church or expressed reservations about continuing with such support. In a March 1 article, Adam Hamilton, pastor of the Church […]

A Poor Renewal

The crusty South African bishop crowed that when a church loses the poor, it loses the gospel. As a seminary student interning in Johannesburg I found poverty around every corner. Able-bodied men laid out on street medians just waiting to be hired. Refugees pawning for money to start handicraft businesses. Glassy-eyed beggars who couldn’t hold […]

Can Churches Depart The United Methodist Church with Their Property?

According to The United Methodist Church’s Book of Discipline, all local United Methodist churches hold their properties, real and personal, tangible and intangible, in trust for the benefit of the general church. Typically that means that if a local congregation decides to withdraw from the denomination, it must leave without its property unless it negotiates other […]

Legislation to Restore Church’s Order Constitutional – What Now?

On Friday, April 26, the Judicial Council of The United Methodist Church issued its much anticipated decision on the constitutionality of the Traditional Plan (TP) adopted by the special General Conference in February. The plan’s opponents were confident the Judicial Council (JC) would rule the plan unconstitutional arguing that it was hateful, exclusionary, and contrary to fundamental […]

Traditional Plan and Exit Provision Are Constitutional

In two separate rulings, The United Methodist Church’s Judicial Council (its “Supreme Court”) has rejected the argument that the entire Traditional Plan (TP) adopted at the 2019 special General Conference is unconstitutional, and it has also ruled that a local church exit plan is constitutional. The nine-member Judicial Council (JC) said the General Conference delegates were well aware when […]

Embracing Your Moment

Life is a succession of moments. To live each one is to succeed. —Sister Mary Corita Kent We all face painful, difficult, even gut-wrenching situations in life. The length of these moments is often determined by how we respond to them. When we choose to move forward in faith and ask the people around us […]

Crucified with Christ!

Permit me a personal moment of celebration. After the devastation of being the first number one seed in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament to lose to a sixteenth seed in 2018, the University of Virginia Cavaliers triumphed over March Madness as the 2019 NCAA men’s basketball champions. Amazing turnaround! Virginians like me celebrated. Just days […]

Desperation: What Miracles Are Made Of

Desperation isn’t a popular state of being. No one wants to be the last girl without a date for prom when all her friends have been asked, the person sending a hundredth resume for jobs he or she really needs, the guy on the corner with the sign that says “Anything will help.” Desperation isn’t […]

The Glue That Binds Us Together

Along with our emphasis on the grace of God, connectionalism is a key distinctive of The United Methodist Church. Connectionalism involves a large body in making key decisions after a process of holy conferencing, culminating in a decision of the General Conference, the only body that can speak authoritatively for the entire UM Church. Historically, […]

Proposed Budget Cuts Add to UM Church’s Challenges

A recent article by United Methodist News Service reporter Heather Hahn deserves close attention as United Methodists ponder their options after the tumultuous special General Conference earlier this year. According to Hahn, The United Methodist Church’s financial and administrative bodies have proposed a drastic 18.3 percent cut to the church’s 2021-2024 general budget. The General […]

LGBTQ+ People Are Welcome in The United Methodist Church

At its November 2018 Global Legislative Assembly, the Wesleyan Covenant Association adopted a “Statement Offering Radical Hospitality and Genuine Community.” The statement declares, “We long for and are working for a church that offers radical hospitality and genuine community to all persons. While we affirm the orthodox, biblical view of sexuality and gender, we also […]

Plan for Separation Gains Adherents

For some time some United Methodist traditionalists have said a plan of separation is the only healthy way to resolve The United Methodist Church’s long and damaging debate over its sexual ethics, teachings on marriage, and its ordination standards. Some progressives are beginning to add their voices to that call. In a lengthy and learned essay well […]

Hungry for God to Do a New Thing

Perspective is hard for humans, but not so hard for God. When you are the Alpha and Omega, the first and last, the beginning and end, you know the complete story. How God must long for us to grasp and live into His story! Recent events have me realizing we can become so myopic. All […]

No Apologies for the Traditional Plan

For the better part of two years United Methodist bishops in the U.S. told the church’s people to pray for the work of a select commission and a special called General Conference. The commission’s members (selected by the bishops) and the special conference (called by the bishops) were to present and pass a plan to […]

Responding to Reactions to the Special General Conference

General Conference is the only body empowered to speak officially on behalf of the whole denomination. It sets the faith, order, liturgy, doctrine, and discipline of the church, and its decisions represent the global connection as it discerns God’s will for the whole church. When individual UM members choose to act contrary to the decisions […]

Ensuring the Integrity of General Conference

Trust is essential for the operation of any organization, especially a church. The United Methodist Church has long experienced a trust deficit. In the lead up to the 2012 General Conference, a consulting firm advised a denominational task force focused on the restructuring of the UM Church that trust in our leaders and agencies was […]

The Dawning of a New Chapter

In the months preceding the special General Conference, the refrain from every quarter of The United Methodist Church persisted – “Change is coming. The UM Church will not be the same after February 2019. No one knows what it will look like, but it will be different.” The special General Conference is now behind us. […]

Overview of Legislation Adopted By the Special General Conference

In the aftermath of the 2019 special General Conference, there has been a great deal of misinformation communicated concerning what legislation was adopted and its current status. Teachings on Definition of Marriage, Ordination Standards and Sexual Ethics Upheld First, by its rejection of the One Church Plan by a vote of 436 (53 percent) to […]

Reflections on the Special General Conference

Amidst all the swirling reactions to The United Methodist Church’s special General Conference in St. Louis, Missouri, it is easy to overlook what actually happened and mis-remember what did not happen (more on this later). The Votes Despite the strong support of the majority of U.S. bishops the General Conference delegates declined to endorse the […]

A Message to Local UM Churches In Progressive Annual Conferences

In the aftermath of the General Conference, many people are still wondering about the way forward. As a WCA Council member and traditionalist pastor in the overwhelmingly progressive Mountain Sky Annual Conference and Western Jurisdiction, I was hoping that there would be an opportunity for us to finally break the denominational impasse and, perhaps, launch […]

Statement of the Wesleyan Covenant Association Council on Next Steps

The Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA) is thankful The United Methodist Church has reaffirmed its sexual ethics, teachings on marriage and its ordination standards for clergy at the historic special General Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. By reaffirming its teachings the denomination remains aligned with the church universal in all times and all places. The UM […]

Hopes and Fears for The United Methodist Church and Its People

As delegates from around the world gather for the special General Conference, The United Methodist Church is in a state of crisis. In fact, the church is confronting at least two major crises. Many people are aware of the long debate over the church’s sexual ethics that has brought it to the brink of a […]

Searching for a Way Forward

The journey which began at the 2016 General Conference with the rejection of The Third Way Plan (an earlier version of the One Church Plan) by delegates in legislative committees to the 2019 special General Conference is approaching its conclusion. Petitions now await action by the 864 delegates from around the world as they gather […]

The One Church Plan: Calm and Rational?

According to the Rev Mark Holland, Executive Director of Mainstream UMC, the One Church Plan coming before the special General Conference of the United Methodist Church is the “calm,” “rational,” and “well thought out” plan. In contrast, he claims, “chaos and crisis [is] being ginned up… to divide the church” by people like the Rev. […]

Love, Unity and Catholic Spirit: What Does Wesley Say?

John Wesley’s sermon, Catholic Spirit, is often quoted in the controversies and conflicts within The United Methodist Church. Some assert that unity is a matter of the heart and does not depend on doctrine or theology. This implies that if we all possess a catholic spirit differences will be bridged, unity of the Spirit will result, and […]

The Importance of the Creeds in the Intersections of Our Lives

“So what is a Christian?” This question came from a student in our young adult group at the Japanese Church in Lexington, Kentucky. I was one of the leaders of the group, and a seminary student at the time. The group of mostly college students, with a few high school students, had come to the […]

A Clear and Gracious Letter to GC Delegates

The Wesleyan Covenant Association is thankful for all the clergy and laity who have stepped forward to provide leadership for its many chapters across the United Methodist connection. In the midst of various challenges they have enabled us to fulfill many of the goals the association set for itself in October of 2016. We are […]

Why the Old Testament?

Every reader of the Bible is confronted with an important question: “Since the Old Testament claims that God revealed himself in ancient Israel and that he will reveal himself further in the future, what do I make of these theological claims?” Or to put it another way, “How are the Old Testament’s claims resolved in […]

Survey Results Reveal Strong Support for Exit Provision

Ninety two percent of respondents to a Wesleyan Covenant Association Survey said they agreed or strongly agreed with the statement: “Whatever plan the special [2019] General Conference adopts it should include a gracious and generous way for local churches to leave with all their property and assets, providing said local churches fulfill all outstanding financial […]

A God of Covenants

Each January there is an annual reevaluation of our lives and a renewed determination to do better and be better in the New Year. It comes with retailers’ barrage of ads for weight loss products, gym memberships, and other self-improvement aids. Like many rituals that have become highly commercialized, making a right beginning of a […]

A Modest Way Forward

Despite fundamental disagreements over sexual ethics, teachings on marriage, and ordination standards, many United Methodists do agree on some things related to the debate. First, many acknowledge differences on these matters are irreconcilable. Despite nearly a half-century of roundtable discussions, major studies, debates, and votes at scores of annual, jurisdictional, central, and General Conferences, no […]

Wesleyan Covenant Association Welcomes New Council Members

The Council of the Wesleyan Covenant Association (the “WCA”) has elected six outstanding United Methodist leaders to the Council, the primary governing body of the WCA.  The Rev. Dr. Jeff Greenway, the chair of the Council, commented, “The addition of six new persons to our Council reflects our movement’s desire to be broadly representative of […]