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Another UM Congregation Separates From Denomination Under "Scorched Earth" Politics Of Disobedient Bishop

From: "Dennis Trepanier" <dmtrep@jps.net>
To: jwarrene@surfsouth.com
Sent: Wednesday, June 21, 2000 10:16 PM
Subject: Ahead of the Game - A New Church is Born!

Thanks Bob,

I appreciate your sending this Article. We are so happy at the Foothills United Methodist Church that the majority (About 80%) has left the UMC to start a new church "Shepherd of the Hills Community Church".

Last Sunday we had our first "transitional" congregation meeting outdoors at a church members house. In that one service, we collected enough to pay a pastor's salary and for rent of a facility (between 4 and 5 digits).

It happened when the church had a surprise call from the Conference D.S. Dave Bennett to the Pastor Luis Lemos that ordered him to report in 1 month to Lindsay, CA, after Kyle Phillips balked. Pastor Lemos had been consistent in his position during his entire eight months (yes, I said ONLY 8 months) at the Foothills United Methodist Church.

His position has been to steadfastly and unwaveringly SUPPORT the United Methodist Church. He said, "I support the BIBLE, and support the UMC discipline." But this position appeared to be to the chagrin of the Bishop and a few vocal (but under-handed) members of the FUMC congregation.

After several reconstructions it appears that a liberal minority communicated with Dave Bennett (the District Superintendent) and Bishop Talbert. Many in the congregation are in possession of these e-mails. It appears that the leaders of the Boards and the Pastor were often (almost Always) bypassed, left out of the information loop, and kept uninformed by the Conference leadership.

Pastor Lemos is a very holy man, who has a love of Scripture and a passion for truth. He has his doctorate (D.D.) and has been a devoted pastor and a missionary in the UMC for over 30 years. He is 60 years old, 5 years from retirement, of Hispanic (Brazilian) origin, and he and his wife Carmen proudly JUST received their American citizenship about three months ago. And because of forces not completely understood by the leadership, the social minority was appeased by the Conference when they reassigned Pastor Lemos and gave him only one month to move - this in SPITE of the fact the conference knew that he has two 8 year-old foster kids, that take at LEAST 6 months to get court permission to move. This move would result in them having to give the kids back to their abusive parents! Luis said he could not do this.

His wife Carmen told us that Pastor Luis was told by the D.S. adamantly NOT to let anyone know, but she felt this was SUCH a travesty of justice, that she could not stand to see this go un-noticed. Since she does not work for the Conference, she informed key members of the church. The Pastor himself stuck to his word to the Conference to say nothing.

Most in the church were devastated. We have one woman in our congregation who has been a Methodist 60 years GLAD to get out. Others have been here since the start of this church 20 years ago - Out. We collect petitions and letters with signatures, and made phone calls, even counting those who were non-committal. The documented results: 6% positively for removal of the Pastor, 10% would not sign nor take a stand, 84% in favor of the Pastor STAYING.

The Staff Parish members in favor of Luis Staying informed the D.S. and the NEWLY appointed pastor (Mary McCormick-Maaga) of these statistics. Rebuffed by minority members, the D.S. again selected to ignore this and proceed with the appointment. The new pastor's attitude? We were told she said, "Time will heal everything". The leaders of every significant board have been virtually displaced.

A letter was sent by a few (5 of 13) minority members of the church Staff and Parish Committee to welcome the new pastor. But this letter was unsigned and sent without knowledge of the Head of the Board or an opportunity to vote by all members. Yet is was typed at the bottom as if it was from the Staff and Parish Committee!

The result? They speak for themselves! Many Open Eyes. The Birth of a New Church. Freedom of a pastor to preach the Word of God UNINHIBITED by secular social venues and hidden agendas. No more shifty, dishonest moves in boards to keep people from coming to church to receive "Not Bread alone, but every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God". And Pastor Lemos is Fully Dedicated to the United Methodist Church at least until the 30 of June 2000.

Bob, GOD is NOW in charge of our lives. And He is completing a great work. God has blessed us in severing the ties to this denomination that seems to have embraced so much ungodliness, sinfulness and lack of accountability to God and to Man. The Freedom is so wonderful!

Dennis Trepanier
former member, Foothills United Methodist Church,
new member, "Shepherd of the Hills Community Church"

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