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.