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Northern Illinois Confessing Movement Coordinator Takes Issue With UM News Reports Of Conspiracy In Sprague Complaints

From: godrilla@accessus.net godrilla@accessus.net
To: UMNS Tanton ttanton@UMCOM.UMC.ORG ; United Methodist Reporter United_Methodist_Reporter@compuserve.com
Date: Saturday, July 15, 2000 12:01 PM
Subject: A Response To Bishop Sprague's Accusations

MEMORANDUM FOR RECORD To: Tim Tanton News Media Contact Nashville, Tennessee

I recently received your article entitled "Layman files letters of complaint against Bishop Sprague" dated July 10, 2000. I found it disturbing to say the least. In that article you stated that: "The bishop said that the letters of complaint seemed to be `part of an organized effort of a small, very vocal minority. ' That includes people with the Confessing Movement, the Institute for Religion and Democracy and similar conservative groups, which he said have drawn support from' a few people' in the Northern Illinois Annual Conference." I am assuming that perhaps you may have misunderstood the bishop, at least that is what I am hoping is the case. Because if it were accurate it would mean that Bishop C. Joseph Sprague is making false accusations against both the confessing movement and myself as the conference coordinator. As the Northern Illinois Conference Coordinator for The Confessing Movement Within The United Methodist Church I wish to state emphatically that to the best of my knowledge Attorney John E. Juergensmeyer was not approach by myself or anybody connected with the organizations mentioned above. I will acknowledge that I knew Attorney Juergensmeyer was considering filing charges, but to the best of my knowledge his decision to bring forward charges were of his own free will and independent of outside influences. So the accusation that this is all some kind of outside conspiracy is simply not true. I am rather dismayed that you printed such accusations without ever attempting to contact myself, any of the leaders of the organizations mentioned or Attorney Juergensmeyer for comment. Again, this is what many evangelicals believe is just another example of the media bias that is present within our official news sources.

Rev. Kent L. Svendsen
Northern Conference Coordinator
The Confessing Movement Within The United Methodist Church

Editors Note:


You are correct in your analysis.  I have been in contact with John Juergensmeyer who shared with me that he did inform the Confessing Movement and the IRD after his decision to file charges.  Both organizations declined involvement with the complaints, citing trust in his faithfulness as a United Methodist and confidence in his ability as an attorney. Mark Tooley suggested he post the complaints on the UCMPage for information purposes.   The UCMPage is privately owned and independent of the Official Confessing Movement, the IRD, and CUMA organizations.


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