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 holstonwca@gmail.com. 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.

Judicial Council Rules ‘No’

By Chuck Griffin, Holston WCA President

The United Methodist Church’s Judicial Council has ruled whether an annual conference can vote to withdraw from the UMC and move to the GMC. In short, the answer is no—not without the General Conference first meeting and passing enabling legislation. Once again, the conspiracy to prevent a General Conference from happening this year continues to bind us to schismatic liberals and institutionalists who refuse to abide by or enforce what is already a conservative, traditional UM Discipline. Here is the full text of the Judicial Council decision:

Decision Number 1444

United in God

Here’s a link to a pertinent post from Methodist Life. There’s a reference in that item to decisions we must make soon as traditional Methodists. Our annual conference leaders continue to emphasize an onerous process for churches wanting to go to the Global Methodist Church, and we still await a decision from the United Methodist Judicial Council regarding whether annual conferences can vote to go as a group to the new denomination.

Stay tuned here for more on what our options might be and how we make at least some decisions as a group. Remember, you can subscribe to this website and receive an email when there are updates.

Special Circumstances

By Charles McEntyreHolston WCA Board Vice Chair

I am taking on a particular task, serving as the direct contact for traditional Methodists in our region who are positioned to move to the Global Methodist Church very quickly.

As many of you may be aware, the GMC became an active denomination Sunday, May 1. If your church fits all three of the following criteria, please reach out to me as soon as possible.

1) Your members are pretty much of one mind about wanting to join the Global Methodist Church.

2) You have a theologically conservative pastor who also is ready to move to the GMC, or you are ready to begin the search for one.

3) As a group, you are ready to vacate your church building and begin to worship in facilities not tied to the United Methodist Church.

Please contact me via email if you can affirm all three points above. Send the email to holstonwca@gmail.com, and it will be forwarded to me. I will respond to you in a timely way.

May all of you continue to be blessed in this season of Easter!

Seeing the Dawn

By Chuck Griffin, Holston WCA President

Today is a special day. First and foremost, it is the third Sunday in this wonderful season of Easter.

The lectionary gospel reading for today is actually my favorite Bible story. Found in John 21:1-19, I will be preaching on it this morning, as will many of my colleagues, I am sure.

It is a story of redemption and renewal, and it also is a reminder that as we follow Jesus Christ, we may encounter hard times. Christ meets us where we are, however, and bathed in His power, we build on each other’s works until that day when we stand before our Savior.

If you are reading this before worship and you’re not sure whether you’re going, get up and go. Immerse yourself in what you should be offered today and then offer yourselves back to the Lord.

Oh, and by the way, as of today, the Global Methodist Church is now an official denomination. We do not yet know how many hoops we must jump through to get there, but I know a lot of us are ready to get jumping.

We will figure it out, and as we do so, let’s cling tightly to the peace the resurrected Christ offers us.