Know What You are Going to Do!

I have played competitive softball since I was fourteen years old at every imaginable level. Up to a handful of years ago, I played over a hundred games each season and now, in my late fifties, I still play twenty or thirty. For much of that time I was a shortstop. The shortstop is the … Continue Reading

The Rev. Keith Boyette to Reveal WCA’s Plans for a New Methodism at 2019 Global Gathering

The Wesleyan Covenant Association is pleased to announce that the Rev. Keith Boyette will deliver a major address at its Fourth Global Gathering at Asbury United Methodist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday, November 9, 2019. “I look forward to sharing the WCA’s hopeful vision for a new Methodism,” said Boyette, the President of the … Continue Reading

Never Give Up

When contemplating the future of The United Methodist Church, we all find ourselves asking a couple of questions: How did we get to this point? Why is the theological gap so wide? My answers take me back to an experience in my own life that propelled me on this journey of awareness and struggle within … Continue Reading

The Meaning and Beauty of Baptism

A theologically and spiritually renewed church is the goal of the Wesleyan Covenant Association. As we seek this renewal, we have opportunity to re-discover and re-affirm our historic convictions, including our theological understanding of baptism and its power in the ministry and life of the church. Baptism occupies a distinctive place in Christian faith and … Continue Reading

Nominees Sought for WCA Council Class of 2022

The second Global Legislative Assembly of the Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA) will be held at Asbury United Methodist Church, 6767 S Mingo Rd, Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Friday, November 8, 2019. The Global Legislative Assembly meets annually to elect members of the Council of the WCA and to conduct business on behalf of the membership of … Continue Reading

Rev. Dr. William J. “Billy” Abraham to Address WCA’s Fourth Global Gathering

The Wesleyan Covenant Association is very pleased to announce that the Rev. Dr. William J. “Billy” Abraham will speak at its Fourth Global Gathering at Asbury United Methodist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday, November 9, 2019. “Billy Abraham is undoubtedly one of the most significant theologians in the history of the Methodist movement, but … Continue Reading

Waiting on God: David, Saul and the Next Methodism

I hate to wait. Nothing tests my submission to the Holy Spirit like being stuck in a traffic jam on the Schuylkill Expressway, or waiting on a slow cashier in a long line at the supermarket. Many faithful United Methodists are having a hard time waiting these days. In the wake of the special General … Continue Reading

Centrists, Progressives, and Traditionalists Work Toward a Fair Plan of Separation

In the aftermath of the 2019 Special General Conference, people across The United Methodist Church have wondered, “What now?” The General Conference decided. Some vehemently disagreed. Statements of defiance were issued. Acts of resistance continue to occur. And new groups have emerged (e.g., UM Next and UM Forward). Looming on the horizon is the May … Continue Reading

Disaffiliation Legislation Likely Invalid

The 2019 Special General Conference of The United Methodist Church adopted a new provision of the Book of Discipline, paragraph 2553, providing a process by which local churches could disaffiliate or exit from the denomination, released from the terms of the trust imposed on property of the local church. However, the adoption of the provision is now likely invalid. … Continue Reading

Deacons: Showing Up and Getting Things Done

It happens rarely, but often enough that I should know to expect it. Twice a year I coordinate an Orientation to Ministry event for people who are sensing a call to ministry, but still trying to work out what that might mean. Heather (not her real name) had signed up since she was “going to … Continue Reading

What If . . . ?

These are exciting days to be a Christ-follower who is committed to the historic Christian faith in the Wesleyan tradition. I know that there is much that we would want to be different in The United Methodist Church. The rumors, innuendo, misrepresentations of truth, and partisan attacks can distract from what Jesus is doing in … Continue Reading

Some Clarifications on Apportionments are in Order

Whatever else you think of the Rev. Mark Holland, Executive Director of Mainstream UMC, the man does love his colored maps. And to be clear his maps are invariably ones of just The United Methodist Church in the U.S., ignoring more than 40 percent of our global church’s membership. In Holland’s world, the UM Church … Continue Reading

Minneapolis Calmly Considered

Now that General Conference delegate elections in the U.S. are over, perhaps it is time to consider what it all means for the impending General Conference to convene in Minneapolis in May 2020. It is clear that progressives made some gains, displacing perhaps 15-20 percent of the U.S. delegate spots held by traditionalists during the … Continue Reading

Pure Grace: Wesley’s Take on Supernatural Ministry

I’ve become convinced that Jesus’ anointing and commission in Luke 9:1-2 is a key passage for understanding Jesus’ intentions for the Body of Christ on earth. This commission to take authority to cast out all demons, cure diseases, proclaim the Kingdom and heal the sick became the marching orders for a movement that would welcome … Continue Reading

Fun with Math

He attributed the phrase to Benjamin Disraeli, but you won’t actually find it in any of his works. But in speaking to the power of numbers to bolster an otherwise weak argument, Mark Twain was probably correct to say that there are three kinds of untruths:  “lies, damn lies, and statistics.” And in that sense, some … Continue Reading

Groundhog Day

Delegates to the 2020 General Conference of The United Methodist Church in Minneapolis might just feel like they are starring in a sequel to the classic movie “Groundhog Day.” Bill Murray, as a weatherman named Phil, inexplicably finds himself living the same day over and over again. From May 5-15, General Conference delegates will be … Continue Reading

About That Pension Proposal at the Special General Conference

There are many essays people draw our attention to that just cause us to roll our eyes and move on. Initially, the Rev. Lloyd Nyarota’s recent commentary posted  at United Methodist Insight fell into that category. Nyarota, a United Methodist pastor serving a United Church of Canada congregation in the province of Alberta, Canada, has demonstrated a knack for … Continue Reading

Letters to the Churches

During this turbulent and chaotic season in the life of The United Methodist Church, I have found direction, encouragement and strength in the letters to the churches in Revelation (see chapters two and three). The churches are a mixture of the good, the bad, and the ugly — not unlike the ecclesial landscape we confront … Continue Reading

Why Do I Continue to Believe in God?

I asked myself this question as I was listening to Maybe God, a podcast in which Rev. Eric Huffman interviewed Mr. Bart Campolo, the Rev.Tony Campolo’s son. In the interview, Mr. Campolo stated that he had become a secular humanist, giving up on God, because his prayers repeatedly went unanswered. I remembered many prayers that were not … Continue Reading

Thoughts on the Way to Annual Conference

I practice ministry as a theologically conservative and socially engaged Methodist. I preach that Jesus Christ is the Lord of the universe — the way, the truth and the life, the exclusive path to God our Father. I believe these are the headwaters of orthodoxy and that unless we Methodists agree on that bedrock truth, … Continue Reading

God Will Provide?

As a denomination that has been searching for a way forward for decades, many United Methodists are growing weary of the possibilities. As a pastor halfway through a tense annual conference, it can feel like we are groping around in the dark with no guiding light. It helps me to know our story is full … Continue Reading

The Priesthood of All Believers

When delegates were apportioned for the 2020 General Conference, the professing membership of The United Methodist Church worldwide was reported as 12,557,214. Clergy membership for the same purpose was reported as 56,055. There will be 862 delegates when General Conference 2020 meets in Minneapolis, Minnesota from May 5-15. One-half of those delegates will be clergy … Continue Reading

Yearning for a Better Way

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 … Continue Reading

You’re Invited to the Fourth Global Gathering

Dear Members and Friends of the Wesleyan Covenant Association, It is my privilege to invite you to the Wesleyan Covenant Association’s Fourth Global Gathering to be held on Saturday, November 9, 2019 at Asbury United Methodist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We welcome your attendance at our host site or at one of the many simulcast … Continue Reading

Late to the Resistance

One of the most significant outcomes of last week’s gathering held at the Rev. Adam Hamilton’s United Methodist Church of the Resurrection (Leawood, Kansas) is word that some centrists have now decided to join the resistance. In an interview with KSHB News (Kansas City, Missouri), Hamilton noted participants at the event, called UMCNext, considered a number of … Continue Reading

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 … Continue Reading

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. … Continue Reading

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 … Continue Reading

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 … Continue Reading

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 … Continue Reading

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 … Continue Reading

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 … Continue Reading

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 … Continue Reading

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 … Continue Reading

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 … Continue Reading