“In these times of great uncertainty about the future of The United Methodist Church, we believe it is important for orthodox congregations, clergy, and laity to work together, to support one another, and to encourage each other,” said a group of 40 United Methodist pastors, theologians, and lay persons in a statement that announces the creation of the Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA). “We long for a church committed to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the last, the least, and the lost.”
“The Wesleyan Covenant Association represents the very best of our warm-hearted theology and action-oriented spirituality, and will provide support, encouragement, and resourcing for like-minded and like-hearted United Methodists,” said the Rev. Jeff Greenway, lead pastor of Reynoldsburg (Ohio) United Methodist Church. “During these turbulent times in our denomination, I find this association to be a source of encouragement and hope.”
The WCA is being launched as a member-based network of United Methodist congregations, clergy, and laity to provide “the encouragement we need to stay committed to our rich heritage while standing firm on the non-negotiables that make The United Methodist Church a vital contributor to the Body of Christ,” said the Rev. Carolyn Moore, senior pastor of Mosaic United Methodist Church in Evans, Georgia.
The Wesleyan Covenant Association (wesleyancovenant.org) will be gathering in Chicago for a one-day conference to promote its goals and welcome new members on October 7, 2016.
“My fervent prayer is that we will be able to share our witness in ways that will impact the Bishop’s Commission on the Future of the Church positively and contribute to the advance of God’s Kingdom among the people called Methodists globally,” said the Rev. Keith Boyette, pastor of Wilderness Community UM Church in Spotsylvania, Virginia. “Those who choose to participate in this great endeavor will be better positioned I believe to embrace a fruitful future regardless of what ultimately occurs within The United Methodist Church.”
“As a young orthodox United Methodist, I am excited about the creation of the Wesleyan Covenant Association as a coalition committed to the authority of God’s Holy Word, our Wesleyan heritage, and Holy Spirit empowered revival,” said the Rev. Madeline Carrasco Henners, pastor of Luling (Texas) First United Methodist Church. “We know that many pastors in many progressive annual conferences feel isolated from their fellow orthodox brothers and sisters. This alliance will help them have their voices heard in matters affecting the unity of the Global Church.”
“Clergy and laity across the nation are rightly concerned about the state of The United Methodist Church in the United States,” observed the Rev. Jim Cowart, pastor of Harvest UM Church in Byron, Georgia. “Although blessed with sound doctrine, a history of personal and social holiness, and a rich heritage, the church seems to have lost its way in the 21st century. The Wesleyan Covenant Association provides us with a wonderful opportunity to gather around the best of what we are with those who are of like commitment to work toward making disciples for the transformation of the world.”
“Christianity was born in a hostile culture. We were born in the Roman empire, that tried to destroy Christianity. And so it’s not the culture that’s going to determine who we are, it’s our faith,” said the Rev. Kenneth Levingston, senior pastor of Jones Memorial UM Church in Houston. “It’s whether or not we’re willing to stand up in the culture and love it and still call it to live in a faithful way and a faithful manner with Jesus Christ.”