Punitive Move Without Consultation More About Power Than Faithfulness, Says Local Church Leader
May 20, 2000
Bishop Melvin Talbert
Dear Bishop Talbert:
At a regularly scheduled meeting of our committee this morning Pastor Kyle Phillips informed us of his meeting with you and Vickie Healy on Thursday afternoon in your office. We were shocked and saddened by your sudden decision to move Kyle without consulting with him or this committee. Since there was no discussion with Kyle or us by either you or our district superintendent, and considering the events since you announced the results of the committee on Investigation on February 11, we can only assume that your action is both personal and punitive in nature. We fail to understand how this action is in the best interest of our church or Kyle.
If, as you stated to Kyle, he is the most arrogant and condescending person that you have known and you dont understand how he can have an effective ministry, what good will a move accomplish? Since it is your responsibility to provide spiritual and temporal oversight to pastors, what are you doing in this role to correct these perceived problems? Not only did you not address this issue with Kyle in your meeting, you rebuffed his attempt to seek reconciliation in the area of supervisory trust by refusing to discuss it.
The message we receive from your arbitrary action is that this is more about power than it is about how we all can best serve our risen Lord. You have openly invited those faithful United Methodists who disagree with your illegal actions to leave the denomination. That is real arrogance.
The committee on Pastor-Parish Relations stated in its pastor evaluation on March 3, 2000 that it is very pleased with Kyle. We are experiencing vital growth in discipleship and evangelism under Kyles leadership and wish to continue with Gods grace.
cc: Council of Bishops
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