Letter to Ed - EUB did the same things!
Dear Pastor Ezaki
My name is Jason Lantzer...I know what you and your congregation are going through is rough, because the church that I grew up in went through nearly the exact same process in 1960, and I relate their story to you because it is a story of hope. (This happened long before I was born and even before my family joined the church, but the story has always been passed down within the congregation and is found clearly in our church history which was published in 1992).
My church's name is Sugar Grove. It was originally a member of the Evangelical United Brethren and has its roots in the United Brethren branch of that denomination. In the 1950's, the church started receiving pressure from the denominational hierarchy become more "mainstream". This was a process that had intensified since the UB had merged with the Evangelical church to form the EUB. By 1959, the area bishop came to the church and demanded that all references to blood redemption be dropped from sermons.
This angered the congregation, who had up to that time, ignored the demands of the hierarchy and stayed doctrinally sound. In 1960, the denomination voted to withdraw from the EUB. Like your congregation, Sugar Grove had all of its assets seized and even had its church doors locked. The congregation refused to settle for anything less than their church and their bank accounts, so the case went to court. Sugar Grove won their case, which gave heart to other like minded congregations in the area.
I commend you and your congregation for your decision to leave the UMC and pray for God's blessing upon you at this time. Take heart, because the battle is the Lord's to fight....and with God on your side, who can dare to stand against you.
Jason Lantzer Indianapolis, Indiana, 07/22/98
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