Clergy Feel Betrayed by Dysfunctional System in Cal/Nev
I write with some anger and sadness. On Monday our California-Nevada ERF had Richard Hays speak at the University of the Pacific in Stockton. He did a wonderful job speaking on "The Use of Scripture in Times of Controversy." I was pleased that some in the liberal camp were willing to come. They were impressed that he was articulate and scholarly as well as having a good spirit. They had not expected that.
Then the next day, we had the first meeting of our order of Elders. It was good. We spend most of our time in small groups. Our group had good discussion. I don't know much about the other groups. The last half hour was in a total group, and some good things were said. I left feeling perhaps something had been accomplished.
I checked my email this morning to find the announcement of the homosexual union planned by over sixty clergy in our conference, that announcement I quickly forwarded to you this morning. The conference editor who wrote the piece was at the meeting on Tuesday. So was the pastor who will conduct the ceremony. Surely the Bishop knew about it. Probably a good many of the clergy involved were at the meeting.
Nothing was ever said about it at the meeting. This is the very thing which is causing the division in our conference. That thing was never mentioned. No one I spoke with on the evangelical side seemed to know about it, but those in power surely did.
How dysfunctional!!! We had a nice family reunion but no one talked about granddad drinking himself to death. The elephant was in the living room, but no one mentioned it. How long can I remain a part of this dysfunctional family?
I learned that more of my friends were resigning from the UMC. Frankly I am within inches of resigning. But that would do no good. It would leave my church without a pastor. It would remove what leadership I can give from the UMC. But my soul is deeply troubled this evening.
I do think that this will press the issue even further. These clergy are likely to just get a reprimand for their actions. That will let the rest of the church know that there is no accountability in our denomination to what is in the Book of Discipline.
It will also let the rest of the church know why we need an evangelical conference in the West. If we cannot have accountability, at least let us go free of a dysfunctional system. We asked to be freed on May 20 when we went before the ministry staff. Of course they said no. No oppressor has ever willingly given up power. Now we are seeing plagues hit our conference. What progress we made yesterday, was quickly destroyed. Trust that was slowly rising has been dashed against the rocks of deceit.
I hope that you will not forget us. Please keep us in your prayers.
Bob Kuyper, Editor, Transforming Congregations
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