At the AC

By Chuck Griffin

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C.—Many of us are here at the Holston Annual Conference, of course, “we” being clergy and lay members of the Wesleyan Covenant Association.

From a traditional Methodist perspective, there’s probably not a lot that can be accomplished here. That’s no surprise, as we’ve watched the institutionally minded leaders of our conference do all they can to define a narrow and twisted path out for churches wanting to depart, one that is both graceless and expensive.

That doesn’t mean we’re done, though. This is a great opportunity for those of us looking for paths out other than disaffiliation to talk one-on-one. At the bottom of this article is the simple handout we are offering while here. As it notes in the second “Paths Out” item, if you are near Lake Junaluska, you can make arrangements to meet with a Holston WCA board member by emailing Be sure to stop by our display table, too.

We have long been committed to serving another group of traditional Methodists, too, the ones who find themselves trapped in a church unlikely to leave the UMC. We want to continue hearing from you, and again, contact us if you’re attending annual conference, or any other time.

Last night, we watched as new clergy were admitted for service in various ways. In particular, we once again had the privilege of seeing new elders ordained.

As always, these earnest people were required to answer the 19 questions put before Methodist ordinands since our earliest days. Elders present in the room also were expected to listen and reflect on these questions, which of course they had to answer on their day of ordination.

These questions all are deeply important. Our bishop described them as part of the covenant language we use to be part of an “order.”

In particular, I leaned in to listen to how they answered questions 8, 9 and 10:

8. Have you studied the doctrines of the United Methodist Church?

9. After full examination, do you believe that our doctrines are in harmony with the Holy Scriptures?

10. Will you preach and maintain them?

Questions 8 and 9 continue to be asked in a denomination that on paper has very traditional, scripturally sound doctrines, including the language in its Discipline related to homosexual marriage and ordinations. To be ordained, you are to accept these doctrines, acknowledge they are rooted in Scripture, and then lead others to the same understanding.

All active ordained elders answered these questions under the same traditional conditions. They presumably said “yes” with no winks, nods or finger-crossing. If such people of integrity came to discover later that they could not uphold these vows, they should have withdrawn from the order.

When it comes to those 19 questions, we hope that last night’s ordinands read them and answered them with sincerity. May they be blessed in their ministries.

3 Comments on “At the AC

  1. Pingback: At the AC – John Grimm the Methodist

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