I am calling on the East Ohio Conference, laity and clergy, to practice Wesley’s Three Simple Rules: “Do No Harm, Do Good, and Stay in Love with God.”
How then shall we live together as the Body of Christ with integrity?
We live with integrity by doing no harm.
No United Methodist church or United Methodist pastor need to take any vote or make any decision about being a United Methodist. No pastor or lay member of any local church should be solicited or pressured to leave The United Methodist Church. Pastors and laity who have or will decide to withdraw from The UMC have or will make a personal life and faith decision. It is inappropriate for anyone to impose their decision on their colleague or congregation by actively recruiting or encouraging pastors and laity/congregations to disaffiliate. The pulpit should not be used as a platform to bear false witness against The United Methodist Church, nor should it be used to inflict harm. These actions breed fear and mistrust, corrode community, and undermine the leadership of the pastor and the ministry of the local church. I urge you to stop the harm!
We live with integrity by doing good.
The East Ohio Conference website has everything that pastors and congregations need to know about the disaffiliation process. There are discernment resources available should a local church decide it wants to engage in a conversation about disaffiliation. All conversations and meetings should be open and transparent, they should engage the entire congregation, and the district superintendent should be invited to attend. I urge you to not allow any denomination or faith tradition to come into any of our United Methodist churches to recruit and/or to share information without the sharing of someone (the superintendent or their designate) who is officially representing the best interest and mission of The United Methodist Church. Pastors and church leaders have a responsibility to make sure members have accurate information before taking any vote. I urge you to be good stewards of trust and community!
We live with integrity by staying in love with God.
I have called for a respite from November 20, 2022 - January 1, 2023, from all meetings and conversations related to matters of disaffiliation so that we can focus on the main thing: giving thanks to God and proclaiming the Good News of Jesus coming into the world and into our lives to love, to save, to heal, to reconcile and to make all things new. I urge you to stay in love with God and with your neighbor … keeping your eye on the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world!
Let us commit to the way of integrity as we forge our way forward together in Jesus Christ, trusting that God will make a way in the wilderness.
“I, therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” - Ephesians 4:1 (NRSV)
Yours in Christ,
Bishop Tracy S. Malone
Resident Bishop, East Ohio Conference
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
Local: (330) 499-3972
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