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California Congregation Votes "Yes" to Leave the Denomination

I want to report to you the outcome of today's worship service and congregational meeting at Kingsburg United Methodist Church. We had a full church including the District Superintendent, and Rev. Audrey Ward, the new pastor of the pro-gay Wesley UMC in Fresno. Also on hand were reporters from the Fresno Bee and World Magazine.

Following a great worship service, a resolution from the Ad Council was presented. It stated that the members of Kingsburg UMC can no longer in Christian conscience remain members of the UM denomination. It called for the transfer of the entire 371 members (except for the Board of Trustees) to the new Kingsburg Community Church effective July 1, 1998. The resolution also called for the remaining Trustees and the Conference leadership to negotiate a just settlement to transfer property to the new church in order to allow the continued use by the same family of faith that bought and paid for that property. The vote was taken by standing count. Acting Chairman Wally Engstrom announced that the tally was 200 yes, 0 no, and 0 abstentions. Some 3 dozen absent ballots in favor of the resolution were on hand as well. The congregation rose as one in celebration of the unanimous vote.

I want to thank you all for your prayer and support as we have moved to this day of decision. We are unclear as to the future, but we know that God is with us and will not fail us.

My own immediate future is unclear. I had hoped to receive leave of absence for health care and other reasons while we are negotiating for the buildings. Although I still plan to ask for leave, it appears unlikely that the Bishop will grant it. In that case, I will make the choice between surrendering my orders or facing charges.

For the time being, I feel tremendous joy and freedom. I am humbled at the courage of the faithful people of Kingsburg Church who have left behind the church of their grandparents in order to follow the authority of Scripture and the Lordship of Jesus Christ. This is really such a small step compared to those taken daily by believers under persecution around the globe, but I know that God will honor our small offering of faithfulness.

Again, my thanks to you and my prayers for your ministries.

In Him

Ed Ezaki

"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom."

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