THIS WEEKEND IN THE UMC
Tonight and tomorrow your church & district representatives from Holy Covenant UMC will be going with me as we meet in a called session of the Texas Annual Conference. In this called session of the TAC, we will be meeting to accept the resignation of congregations who have voted to disaffiliate.
A painful time, it currently stands that 294 out of 639 churches in our Texas Annual Conference will be moving out of connection with us. Much more than anyone originally thought might happen, which was closer to 160-ish. (If anyone wishes to talk about why and how these numbers grew, I have my thoughts but it would make for a looooong newsletter. Catch me over coffee and let’s chat)
As I have shared with you over the past 6-7 months, the best way I know to sum it up is: there’s been activity with churches who disagree with where the UMC currently is and where they think it might be going in the future. Unfortunately, the genuine discussions and arguments (from my point of view) have been clouded by mis-information and out-right lies, wrapped in a modest amount of truth.
The UMC for sure has issues that need to be worked out and solved. But a schism of this magnitude hurts the kingdom of God more than it helps. It has hurt congregations across our nation. Within our own area, I was told yesterday that churches who even began to have discussions ended up losing a minimum of 10% of their congregation. That is not even counting the larger splits like we have seen at Huntsville, Christ UMC in Sugarland, and so many more.
My prayers are simply that God will do something wonderful through all of this brokenness.
In fact, that is what I am asking of all of you. Please pray.
I understand that from our location on 22111 Morton Ranch Road most of this does not affect us, but as United Methodist and as brothers and sisters in Christ, this is a remarkably heart-wrenching time. There is much that we should be in confession about as a denomination and as Christ’s church.
What happens for Holy Covenant in the future if our denomination continues to move in one direction or another with its decisions, practice, polity, and its theology? There is nothing that will ever stop us from making the best decision for our church. At any time, our membership or leadership can ask to come together to discuss directions. But there is no reason to rush just as there is no reason to tarry; we should only make sure it is in the correct time.
Personally, to help our Annual Conference, I have offered to give more of my time to help coach churches through specific issues (remember, I used to be a coach through the Vibrant Church Initiative, but I stopped doing that to help focus on the needs of Holy Covenant.)
More than that, I have also decided to start running for Jurisdictional and General Conference, where a lot of our denomination’s decisions are made. Where I most likely will not get the nomination, with all that is going on and all of the loss of leadership, I feel it is my duty to step up and speak up. If nothing else, I will be joining with many other voices to make sure we stay the course and obey our discipline and rules.
As I have stated repeatedly through this whole ordeal (and even back to 2016 when it began to head down its current road), please feel free to come and talk to me if you have any questions. My door is not only open, but so is my willingness to just listen. Ultimately I understand my job to be about the agenda of jesus, which is making disciples. I do this by loving and leading you all as a faith community but this also means I am constantly balancing the needs of Pastor Fred, the individuals here, as well as the whole community of Holy Covenant… doing the best I can to lead you all forward to make Disciples.