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Punished Cal/Nev Pastor Responds To Disobedient Bishop: "Condition Of Broken Trust" And Episcopal Abuse Exists

May 20, 2000

Bishop Melvin Talbert
PO Box 980250
West Sacramento, CA 95798-0250

Dear Bishop Talbert,

I am deeply saddened by our meeting in your office of May 18, 2000 with Vicky Healy present. At that meeting you shared with me that I am to be appointed to a different church because you have lost faith in me that I am building a faithful United Methodist Church in Tehachapi.

On February 11, 2000, as an officer of the General Church, you broke covenant with the United Methodist Church by officially declaring that "there is another more basic and fundamental covenant that has precedence over" the will of the General Conference. Indeed, the Judicial Council with Decision No. 886 ruled in Cleveland that the action you affirmed with that statement was clearly illegal.

When you broke covenant with the United Methodist Church you broke covenant with me.

When I sought the opportunity to discuss and resolve the state of broken covenant that exists between us, first through my district superintendent and then through both Vickie and Ardith Allread, I was rebuffed. When speaking with you over the phone on Wednesday, May 17th and clearly stating that I sought resolution between us, you clearly stated to me that you were not interested in seeking resolution.

You and I exist in a state of violated trust and broken covenant. I can only interpret your decision to unilaterally remove me from the Tehachapi Valley United Methodist Church without prior consultation as an abuse of your episcopal authority. I view this move as a mean spirited, punitive action. Because you have broken covenant with me, I do not feel bound by your request that I keep silent about this matter.

I experience your action as an egregious violation of your responsibility to provide spiritual and temporal oversight to the pastors and congregations in our conference, to care for the Church at large, and to bear witness to the world to the love of God in Christ.

I call you to account and invite the church to fulfill its prophetic role in uncovering the manifestation of injustice.



Kyle Phillips

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