Beloved, I greet you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I have become aware that many pastors and laity of our United Methodist congregations here in the East Ohio Conference are being harmed by the local chapter of the Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA). As your bishop, I want you to know that I am grieved by the harm that you have been caused.
The WCA is attempting to divide The United Methodist Church. Its latest attempt is a letter that the WCA of this East Ohio region sent this week to many of our United Methodist congregations. The letter – making erroneous claims about The United Methodist Church – was specifically addressed to local church admin. chairs and lay leaders inviting them to attend a meeting to discuss disaffiliation … to discuss leaving The United Methodist Church. It is inappropriate for anyone associated with the WCA to send any information to a congregation without the prior knowledge or permission from the pastor of the church.
The solicitation emails and the active recruitment by the WCA is disrespectful and unethical … it lacks integrity, respect, and regard for the pastors of our churches, the members of our churches, and the ministry of your local church.
The WCA is a separate incorporated organization in Ohio and has no official relationship or standing with the East Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church or with The United Methodist Church in general.
I encourage you to use extreme caution in engaging information from the WCA and attending any of their recruitment meetings. There is inaccurate information and blatant untruths being spread regarding the future of The United Methodist Church. There are also statements being made that the United Methodist Church plans to alter or eliminate its theological doctrines. These statements are not true. These actions and misinformation from the WCA harm the witness of The United Methodist Church and they harm the witness of your local church. They breed mistrust and cause division within the body of Christ.
Beloved, it is important now, more than ever, especially in this season in the life of our United Methodist Church that we each commit ourselves to embodying John Wesley’s rule of life … do not harm, do good, and stay in love with God.
We have available on our East Ohio Conference website all the information you need to know about matters related to the disaffiliation and separation process. This process is transparent, and the resources are easily accessed on the homepage of the Conference website, www.eocumc.com.
There are also resources available from the General Church to help you learn more about The United Methodist Church and to assist you in your discernment process:
Your district superintendent is available to respond to any questions or concerns you have about The United Methodist Church or the disaffiliation process.
Remember, your local church has a calling and a mission to fulfill in your community … you were planted for a purpose. We are each called to be disciples, to make disciples, and to mature disciples of Jesus Christ; to be agents of God’s transformation and healing in your community and throughout the world; and to reach all people with the love and hope of Jesus Christ.
The United Methodist Church has been instrumental in the shaping and forming of your personal faith and has helped to resource and support your church’s mission and witness in the world.
The United Methodist Church will continue to be your partner in ministry as we proclaim our faith in Jesus Christ and be a public witness to God’s love, grace and hope in the world. The United Methodist Church will continue to be a church that is grace filled and that celebrates the beautiful diversity that makes us who we are … a Church where everyone has a place and knows that they are deeply loved and that they belong.
Therefore, and “from now on, brothers and sisters, if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus your thoughts on these things: all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8 (CEB)
Let Us Live Love.
Bishop Tracy S. Malone
Executive Secretary to the Bishop
The East Ohio Conference Office:
located in North Canton, OH,
near Akron-Canton Airport.
8800 Cleveland Ave. NW
North Canton, OH 44720
Monday through Friday
8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
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