The Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA) has named the Rev. Keith Boyette as their first president. Boyette is a member of the Virginia Annual Conference and founded the Wilderness Community United Methodist Church 19 years ago. For eight years, Boyette served on the Judicial Council, known as the “Supreme Court” of The United Methodist Church, and was elected by his peers to serve as secretary of the Council. Prior to responding to God’s call to ordained ministry in the UM Church, Boyette was a practicing attorney in Virginia and Kentucky.
“We are very pleased to have Keith as our first president,” said Dr. Jeff Greenway, the Chair of the Wesleyan Covenant Association Council and pastor of Reynoldsburg (Ohio) United Methodist Church. “He has been an integral member of the team that cast the vision for the WCA from the very beginning and is committed to the renewal of the church. He has vast experience in our denomination, and has demonstrated an ability to relate to a wide variety of people. He embodies our commitment to vibrant, evangelical, orthodox, Wesleyan Christianity and to renewing the theology and practice of our denomination.”
While his election takes effect immediately, he will not begin devoting his full attention to his new duties until he retires from the Virginia Conference in June.
“I am humbled and excited by the opportunity to begin my service as President of the Wesleyan Covenant Association,” said Boyette at the time of his election. “I have contended for the advancement of evangelical, orthodox, Wesleyan Christianity throughout my adult life. This is a crucial season for those committed to a vibrant expression of the Christian faith that is true to the best of our heritage as we seek the most beneficial outcome for maintaining our beliefs with the approaching Special General Conference in February 2019. I look forward to working with others to ensure that we have deeply committed leadership possessing a fervent passion for the cause of Christ and to connecting churches, clergy, and laity in this endeavor.”
“Building a new organization from the ground up is what Keith does,” said the Rev. Carolyn Moore, the vice-chair of the WCA Council and pastor of Mosaic UM Church in Augusta, Georgia. “He comes to the WCA after nineteen years of successfully planting and developing a healthy, creative expression of ‘church’ in Virginia. Having him in the lead as we craft a net wide enough to hold everyone ready to do a new thing is a real grace. I’m grateful to Keith for his willingness to step up and take us into the next Methodism.”
The Wesleyan Covenant Association was formed and their governing Council was elected at a gathering of 1,800 persons last October in Chicago. In its first seven months of existence it has grown to have membership from every Annual and Central Conference in The United Methodist Church. The all-volunteer Council of 25 persons has cared for the day-to day operations since their election. The naming of Boyette as president is the next step in the development of this growing organization that is committed to the theological and practical renewal of the UM Church.
“I have valued the opportunity to work with Keith over the past few months and have appreciated his humility, good humor, and depth of insight,” said Chris Ritter, pastor of the Geneseo (Illinois) First United Methodist Church and member of the WCA Council. “His work in the church, including eight years on our Judicial Council, has given him the opportunity to work collaboratively with people from a wide range of viewpoints. Keith models civility as he stands firm on his core convictions. He will be a faithful captain for our work in the Wesleyan Covenant Association.”
“Keith’s vast leadership, ministerial, and legal experience, combined with his wisdom and servant’s heart, makes him a solid choice to lead as the WCA’s first President,” said Cara Nicklas, a lay member of the Council and attorney from Oklahoma. “I am thankful for Keith’s willingness to make significant sacrifices in order to step into this important role for such a time as this.”