Typical summers in Western Pennsylvania are spent going to Kennywood or Waldameer, going camping on Presque Isle or Pymatuning, canoeing on the Youghiogheny, Clarion, or Allegheny rivers, or just enjoying grilling out and having fun. This summer, it’s been a bit challenging to relax, have fun, and enjoy because of the challenges in our denomination and the stresses that those have brought to our local churches.
These challenges have been ramped up with the postponement/cancellation of General Conference, the tension at Annual Conference, and the rescinding of support for the Protocol which has all led many churches to have conversations regarding exploring disaffiliation. With one main option left on the table for churches in our Conference exploring disaffiliation (¶ 2553), there is an urgency to act now. This singular option will only be an option until December of 2023.
Yes, it’s July. Yes, church business runs as slow as cold tar in the summer. But there are deadlines which call for immediate action.
Jump in! As soon as possible, get a decision from your Church Council, write a letter and send it to your DS. Some districts have deadlines for this phase as early as July 31st! There are meetings scheduled with the bishop, assistant to the bishop, and your DS in districts across the Conference throughout August and September.
Remember, this will only begin the exploratory process. Jumping in now assures you are in the process. If you decide later to jump out, that is fine.
Invite help! Fill out the disaffiliation form at the following link: https://form.jotform.com/221658209391055. This will inform the WPA chapter of the WCA of your interest. There are coaches trained to walk with you through the challenges that lie ahead.
The Wesleyan Covenant Association is a coalition of congregations, clergy, and laity from around the world that are committed to promoting ministry that combines a high view of Scripture, Wesleyan vitality, orthodox theology, and Holy Spirit empowerment.
The Mission of the Wesleyan Covenant Association is:
• To act as advocate and ally on behalf of churches and annual conferences which seek pathways out of The United Methodist Church and into the Global Methodist Church.
• To contend for fair, just, and amicable pathways out of The UMC for all, including progressives as well as traditionalists.
• To support efforts to maintain faithful adherence and accountability to the standards of doctrine and discipline embodied in the Book of Discipline as it now stands in the UMC.
• To continue to act as an advisor and contributor to the leaders of the GMC, as they work to shape its doctrine, polity, and mission during this formative period, and in preparation for a convening General Conference.
In other words, we’re all in this together and we will advocate for you and with you throughout this process as you prayerfully discern next steps in congregations both large and small. Once you’ve discerned and voted and sent a letter off to your District Superintendent, go enjoy the rest of this beautiful Western Pennsylvania summer and celebrate the goodness of God in His creation.