Solemn Assembly

The WCA International Intercessory Prayer Network is calling all Methodists to set aside some time during Rosh Hashanah, from sundown Monday, September 6 through Wednesday, September 7 for prayer and fasting focused on repentance and cleansing of the past failures of our church and of ourselves. If we expect God to pour in his new wine going forward, we must prepare our vessels to hold it. We will also have a special Holston Solemn Assembly Prayer Hour via Zoom for all those who can join in on Wednesday at 11 a.m. Hope to see you there!

Blessings,

Becky Wilder Holston WCA International Intercessory Prayer Network leader

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Welcome, Bishop; AC Update

By Chuck Griffin

It being Sept. 1, we should begin with a word of welcome for our new bishop, Debra Wallace-Padgett. I know several of us in the Holston Chapter of the Wesleyan Covenant Association have expressed high hopes regarding where her leadership may take us.

Let’s be in deep prayer for her as she takes on new duties at a difficult time.


I doubt if many people would argue about my one-word description of this year’s abbreviated, part online, part in-person Holston Annual Conference experience: “painful.”

Fortunately, from a traditional Methodist perspective, no real harm was done. There was a UMCNext resolution under “New Business” that would have encouraged conference leadership to delay punishment for clergy who participate in same-sex marriages or the ordination of self-avowed, practicing homosexuals. The resolution never got near the floor, however, thanks to the eight items ahead of it on our agenda. (We had just 20 minutes for new business.)

This also meant that a prepared motion to amend the UMCNext resolution, or alternatively, a counter-resolution prepared by the Holston chapter of the WCA, never had to come into play. In short, either of those items would have asked the conference to acknowledge that if such delays in punishment were to occur, the bonds tying our churches together would be considered broken, with enforcement of the Trust Clause* suspended.

The presence of the UMCNext resolution and the counter-resolution, filed by Holston WCA Board member Rowland Buck and myself, did demonstrate how inconsistent some conference leaders can be when talking about the importance of the Discipline. The conference’s Committee on Petitions and Resolutions concurred with the UMCNext desire to ignore the Discipline, and then specifically employed a strict reading of the Discipline when recommending non-concurrence for the WCA resolution.

I did enjoy the committee’s last sentence in the non-concurrence: “Moreover, if the Trust Clause were suspended, a local church that left the Conference with its property would not be temporary, but permanent.”

I assume there are words missing from the recommendation. But read literally, it would seem to affirm the eternal nature of churches wanting to leave the UMC.

The only other item that involved the WCA was New Business Item #01, a resolution that would force a tour of all churches by conference representatives and WCA representatives to explain the so-called Protocol Legislation scheduled for General Conference in 2022. Described as prohibitively expensive, Resolution #01 was referred to the Conference Council on Finance and Administration.

I should point out that the Holston WCA board was not consulted on this resolution and has serious concerns about it.

First of all, we are happy to speak to churches wanting to hear from us, and don’t really need conference representatives at our elbows. Some churches are public about their WCA affiliation, and others for now want to be more private.

Second, it would set a bad precedent if the annual conference were to start giving an advocacy group directives regarding how its members should allocate their time and resources. We plan to communicate as much to the GCFA.

May all of you be blessed in these coming weeks. If you need a WCA speaker at your church, or just a WCA representative to join a quiet meeting with a few of your church leaders, let me know.


*The Trust Clause is the statement in the United Methodist Discipline that says all church properties are held in trust for the larger church, meaning local properties aren’t owned by their local congregations. The so-called “Protocol Legislation” set to go before our next General Conference would suspend the Trust Clause, allowing churches to join a new, traditional Methodist denomination, which is not yet active.

Rumor Control

By Chuck Griffin

Back in my public relations days, we occasionally had to engage in an exercise called “rumor control.” I guess I had better practice it once again.

I have it on good authority that there is a rumor floating around the Holston Conference about our chapter of the Wesleyan Covenant Association. According to the rumor, your WCA leaders are organizing an effort to prevent approval of online voting during Saturday’s Holston Annual Conference.

In short, this is NOT TRUE. As leader of the Holston chapter, I can say that the Holston WCA Board members have had no discussions regarding this subject. I have no idea who started this rumor.

Again, the primary purpose of the WCA is to advocate for traditional, scriptural Methodism.

Let’s all be in prayer for our Saturday gathering and the pandemic-induced difficulties surrounding it.

I Hope You Dance

Recently I had the joy of watching my young granddaughter squealing with delight as she stood on her papa’s feet and they danced around the room. I was struck with parallels to our position as UMC sons and daughters.

First, we are to position ourselves with our back to the world and our face gazing up at Jesus. We don’t need to watch out for what is behind us. If we have our eyes fixed on his face, he’ll tell us everything we need to know.

Second, if our feet are on top of his, we only move when he moves. It’s not up to us to figure out the next step or fret over which path to take.

And, third, if we are gazing up at him, we will see love reflected in his face and know he delights in keeping us close to his heart.

The choice is ours. We can strike out on our own — or we can dance. I hope you dance! _________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Thank you for continuing to faithfully pray for the Kingdom to come fully in our Methodist stream.

PRAYER POINTS FOR AUGUST/SEPTEMBER

  • Transitional Leadership Council of the Global Methodist Church (globalmethodist.org)
  • God’s vision and timing for the Global Methodist Church
  • WCA President Rev. Keith Boyette, Vice President Rev. Walter Fenton and Council Members as they continue to prepare for what’s ahead
  • Churches and pastors in upheaval over unexpected moves
  • Bishop Taylor as she retires and Bishop Wallace-Padgett as she begins her term leading Holston
  • Holston WCA Chapter President Rev. Chuck Griffin and other leaders in Holston
  • Pastors and congregations to focus on current ministry opportunities while also preparing for the future

The Holston WCA Intercessory Prayer Group continues to meet on Zoom at 11:00 Wednesdays and we would love for you to join us. Contact me at wilderfamily@hotmail.com and I will send you the access link.

Becky Wilder

WCA International Intercessor Leader for Holston Chapter

An Offer

By Chuck Griffin

As the designated contact for the Holston chapter of the Wesleyan Covenant Association, I get a surprising number of calls from people asking a basic question: “Where can I go to church?”

These people are, of course, traditional Methodists who seek a pastor and congregation aligned with their values. They largely come from these categories:

  1. Methodists moving into the Holston Conference from other areas.
  2. Methodists who have left a church after becoming frustrated by expressions of liberal theology.
  3. Conservative Christians returning to church after a long hiatus. They are attracted to Methodism, but they’ve figured out not all Methodist churches are the same.

I of course want to help these people find a church home. I check our WCA membership lists, seeking churches and pastors I know are traditional and scriptural in their approach, and then I try to send these church seekers in the right direction.

Frankly, I could use a broader list. Working from the membership list alone, I sometimes have gaps if I want to send people to a nearby church. I know we have plenty of conservative churches in the conference, but I also know how some of you at those churches are nervous about making a public statement about your theological stance, one along the lines of what First UMC in Alcoa did recently.

Here’s an offer to traditionally minded churches and pastors in the Holston Conference. Even if you’ve not joined the WCA, I would be glad to keep your names on a private list for such referrals, if you can assure me your church is one where traditional Methodists will be comfortable and want to remain for several years.

You can start the process by sending an email to holstonwca@gmail.com.