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UM Leaders Have "Broken Faith"–Western Jurisdiction Evangelicals Petition General Conference For Separation


From: RLKuyper@aol.com
To: jwarrene@surfsouth.com
Sent: Wednesday, December 29, 1999 5:41 PM
Subject: Petition Submitted for an Evangelical Missionary Conference News Release

Full text of the proposal along with history and background follows.   Two background documents are included in Word Perfect format.

Evangelicals in the Western Jurisdiction have submitted a recommendation to General Conference that a Missionary Conference for those loyal to the United Methodist Church be established in the Western Jurisdiction.  This proposal grew out of a long process which began with a call in April 1998 for evangelicals to separate from the California-Nevada Annual Conference after the apparent support of that conference's cabinet for homosexual unions.

Stating that "the leadership and many of the clergy of their Annual Conferences [in the West] have broken faith with United Methodists worldwide," the petition goes on to say that there is no longer trust that the polity and doctrines of the United Methodist Church will be followed in the Western Jurisdiction.

Expressing a "deep desire to continue ministry in the traditional Wesleyan and evangelical tradition," the authors say, "Evangelicals in the Western Jurisdiction simply wish to find a way to rejoin the United Methodist Church and minister in a conference which upholds Scripture and The Book of Discipline."  This proposal, if passed, will create a new missionary conference in the Western Jurisdiction.  The Discipline already provides for the organization of missionary conferences to meet special needs, as well as providing for a procedure for churches and pastors to change conferences.  If passed by General Conference, the missionary conference could hold its first organizing session in the Fall of 2001.

The Evangelical Renewal Fellowship (ERF) of the California-Nevada Annual Conference is now raising money to send a team of four to five people to General Conference, May 2-12, 2000, to support this petition.

The move to separate came after a news article in which the cabinet of the California-Nevada Annual Conference was quoted as favoring homosexual unions.  According to that article (United Methodist News Service, March 3, 1998, #127), one District Superintendent even promised the Rev. Jimmy Creech, then under charges in Nebraska for conducting a homosexual union, "if Nebraska kicks you out, we'll find a place for you."  In the uproar which ensued after Creech was acquitted in his March 11-13 trial, the ERF met on April 1, 1998, and asked to separate from the annual conference.  The statement passed at that meeting, said, "we are tired of fighting," and called for the conference leaders to work together with the ERF to design a plan of separation.

On May 20, representatives of ERF met with the bishop, cabinet and staff of the conference where their proposal was rejected.  In a statement issued by the conference ministry staff after the meeting, they said, "While the Ministry Staff would not stand in the way of the submission of any petition, the Ministry Staff will not join in a coordinated effort to prepare legislation for creating a separate missionary or provisional conference."

Several churches and a number of pastors left the United Methodist Church after this meeting.  The remainder began to work on the present proposal which has now been submitted to the petition secretary of the General Conference.   Originating with evangelicals in the California-Nevada Annual Conference, it has now gained wider support and interest among a number of evangelicals in the Western Jurisdiction.  Since the ERF has no standing to present a petition to General Conference, the proposal was signed by a number of evangelical pastors.

For more information contact ERF President, Robert L. Kuyper (661) 325-0785.

The full text of the petition follows:


PETITION TO 2000 GENERAL CONFERENCE THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH PROPOSED ACTION

That the General Conference of the United Methodist Church establish an Evangelical Missionary Conference in the Western Jurisdiction.


RATIONALE

1. The heritage, as well as the future of the United Methodist Church relies on the strength of the United Methodist connectional system.    Evangelical United Methodists in the Western Jurisdiction observe that the leadership and many of the clergy of their Annual Conferences have broken faith with United Methodists worldwide. In several Western Jurisdiction Annual Conferences there is no longer trust that the will of the United Methodist Church, as expressed by the General Conference, will be followed.  The Discipline of our church has been ignored and its authority flouted.  One pastor publicly proclaims that her church has been blessing gay holy unions for decades, and another said he has lost count of how many he has performed.  All this has been done with seeming impunity and even with the tacit approval of the Bishop and Conference leadership. Since 1972 the General Conference has consistently spoken in clear terms that homosexual practice is not compatible with Christian teaching, yet many  clergy in the Western Jurisdiction Annual Conferences continue to bless what the General Conference does not condone.

2. Evangelical United Methodists in the Western Jurisdiction have   consistently supported the connection and The Book of Discipline and have   often been excluded from full participation in the life of their Annual   Conferences.  

Although there are capable and competent evangelical pastors in these annual  conferences they have, by and large, been excluded from key leadership   positions, such as the district superintendency and other key leadership   appointments.  (In some Annual Conferences there has not been an evangelical   district superintendent in 40 years or more.)  Appointments to extension   ministries which have been sought by evangelicals have been consistently   denied.  At least two pastors in one Annual Conference [California/Nevada]   requested such appointments and were denied by the Bishop, even though the   clergy session of that Annual Conference overwhelmingly agreed with the   request as an approved site for United Methodist ministry.  That same Annual   Conference, in that same appointment year, had pastors appointed to extension   ministries serving as an elementary school teacher, a financial services   representative, a psychodramatist, a president of a sex institute, and a   political science instructor, just to name a few.  These extension ministries   were considered "to be a true extension of the Christian ministry of the   church." (335.1.d) 

Evangelicals have been consistently excluded from leadership positions even  as annual conferences of the Western Jurisdiction have touted the virtues of  "inclusion and tolerance" as the dominant values of Methodism.    Inclusion and  tolerance are held as values of United Methodism, and The Book of Discipline  says, "We proclaim no personal gospel that fails to express itself in  relevant social concerns; we proclaim no social gospel that does not include  the personal transformation of sinners."  Nevertheless, evangelicals, who  support these values and uphold a scriptural Christianity, that emphasizes  repentance and turning from sin, as well as God's grace offered to all, have  often been marginalized in the life of these annual conferences.

The deep desire to continue ministry in the traditional Wesleyan and   evangelical tradition motivates us to bring the Evangelical Missionary   Conference before the General Conference for approval.  Evangelicals in the   Western Jurisdiction simply wish to find a way to rejoin the United Methodist  Church and minister in a conference that upholds Scripture and The Book of   Discipline.

GENERAL PROVISIONS

1. The Evangelical Missionary Conference will be created in the Western Jurisdiction.  2. The Evangelical Missionary Conference will be supportive of the connectional mission of the United Methodist Church.  3. A bishop will be assigned by the Western Jurisdiction's College of Bishops to provide episcopal supervision as prescribed by The Book of Discipline (559.1)  4. The organization, membership and relationship of the Evangelical Missionary Conference shall be consistent with the polity and provisions of The Book of Discipline as stated in 558, 559, 560,   561, 12 and 21, 22, 23.  5. The Evangelical Missionary Conference shall comply with the disciplinary provisions of inclusiveness as provided in 117 and other similar references.

ORGANIZATION

1. Organization of the Evangelical Missionary Conference will follow the process of organizing an annual conference (607).

2. Membership      a) Membership of the Evangelical Missionary Conference will come from United Methodist churches in the Western Jurisdiction who choose to [request] transfer from their current annual conference following the provisions of 39.      b) Clergy members may transfer their membership following the provisions of 338.       c) Lay membership of the Evangelical Missionary Conference will follow the provisions of 30.

ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURE THE CABINET

1. The cabinet shall be composed of the bishop and the district superintendent(s) (660.1).

2. The conference budget shall cover the expenses of the district superintendent(s), including office expense and the portion of the episcopal expenses assigned to the Evangelical Missionary Conference.

3. In the selection of district superintendents due consideration shall be given to inclusiveness (517).

THE BASIC STRUCTURES

The basic structures shall include a Council on Finance and Administration, Trustees, Board of Ordained Ministry, and other administrative and program agencies as required by the Discipline, and as the Missionary Conference may decide.

CONNECTIONAL RELATIONS

The General Board of Global Ministries shall encourage and support the Evangelical Missionary Conference according to the provisions of the Book of Discipline (558-561)

THE PLAN

During the Annual Conference session of May-June 2000 each Annual Conference in the Western Jurisdiction shall make it known to all of its churches and pastors that an Evangelical Missionary Conference (EMC) is being formed in the Western Jurisdiction.  During the 2000 - 2001 Conference year churches and pastors will have the opportunity to pray, discuss and choose whether or not they will be part of the Evangelical Missionary Conference.  In the Fall of 2001 the Evangelical Missionary Conference may hold its organizing conference.

The Evangelical Missionary Conference shall hold its first regular session in June of 2002 according to the provisions of the Book of Discipline. At this time a plan and goals for the balance of the quadrennium may be adopted.

FINANCES

The number of pastors and churches who might join the Evangelical Missionary Conference is not known at this time.  However, as time passes more interest in being part of such a conference is being expressed.  The figures below are very general and will be subject to adjustment after consultation with the General Board of Global Ministries.  It is anticipated that substantial General Board support will be needed during the first several years on a decreasing basis.

Bishop's salary and administrative expenses (?)
District Superintendent(s) salary (?)
District Superintendent (s) travel
and related expenses $100,000
Office administrator 50,000
Office equipment and related start-up
expenses: space, utilities etc. 25,000
Personnel for pensions and health insur. 20,000
Subtotal $195,000

New Church Development Fund $350,000
Conference Program 10,000
Laity Training 5,000
Annual Conference Session expense 3,000
Equitable Salary Fund 50,000
Miscellaneous Fund 10,000
Subtotal $428,000

Grand Total Direct Expenditures $623,000

Insurance and Pension

Insurance and pension will be provided according to the provisions of the 2000 Book of Discipline.

History and Stories about the ERF

March 3, 1998 - UMNS releases story claiming that the CN Cabinet supported homosexual unions and promising a place in the conference for the Rev. Jimmy Creech if convicted. http://umns.umc.org/98/mar/127.htm

March 11 - cabinet qualifies its position
http://umns.umc.org/98/mar/144.htm

March 11-13 Creech Trial held in Nebraska, uproar ensues across the UMC http://umns.umc.org/98/mar/150.htm

April 1 - ERF meets in Oakdale and asks to separate, story includes full text of statement
File erfapr01.htm
http://umns.umc.org/98/apr/212.htm

May 20   ERF meets with Ministry Staff, proposal rejected
http://umns.umc.org/98/may/317.htm

May 22, head of ERF leaves the denomination
http://umns.umc.org/98/may/318.htm

June 28   Kingsburg UMC leaves the denomination
http://umns.umc.org/98/jul/396.htm

Judicial council rules conducting homosexual unions are chargeable offenses
http://umns.umc.org/98/aug/480.htm

Bishop Talbert's reaction to decision, "saddened by decision"
http://umns.umc.org/98/aug/483.htm

Judicial Council Decision No. 833
http://www.umc.org/judicial/800/833.html

August 3  Kingsburg church declared abandoned and assets frozen
http://umns.umc.org/98/aug/459.htm

October 27  Order of Elders held in effort to bring peace in the conference but while the mass homosexual union to be held in Sacramento in January of 1999 is known by the leadership, nothing is said at that meeting about it.

UMNS story on planned homosexual union
http://umns.umc.org/98/oct/620.htm  

December 7  ERF prepares statement on homosexual union
File erfstatement.htm
http://umns.umc.org/99/jan/28.htm

UMNS story on January 16 homosexual union
http://umns.umc.org/99/jan/29.htm

September, 1999  Good News article about Missionary Conference published
http://www.goodnewsmag.org/magazine/sept-oct/so99kuyper.htm

December 1999 Proposal submitted to General Conference

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