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UM Renewal Groups Shun Class Action Suit, Suit Dies, Faithful UMs To Leave

From: rbigg@seii.net
Sent: Saturday, October 13, 2001 6:29 PM
Subject: class action lawsuit

Dear Brothers and Sisters In Christ

I'm writing something today that I dread to have to write, which is that I am now withdrawing all my support and backing of a proposed class action law suit against UMC. I'm sad and disappointed by the need to discontinue the effort. What has happened is that I have failed to generate the necessary interest and financial backing within the evangelical membership of the church at large. Really, I believe it was a failure to communicate, for I do believe that we would ultimately have had large numbers seeking to become involved if I could have gotten the word out.

What is the overall membership of UMC today? 8,000,000 or so? I figured that if I could get word to even 4,000,000 or so, we would have enough to get started. I simply don't believe I was effective in that regard. I didn't have a list, with postal addresses of our UMC membership. If I did, it would have included people I didn't wish to send notice to. Even if I had been able to have such a list, I didn't have the money to send out a mass mailing. So, it became apparent the next best thing I could do was to ask various groups we deal with, such as Good News, Confessing Movement, Renew, Concerned Methodists, etc, to send word to all their memberships. This would have been particularly efficient, as these were all evangelicals, to start with. I believe few of these type of groups did put the word out to their memberships, for several possible reasons. I'm not critical of that.

Clayton Harriger and John Warrener, among others, helped a bunch by putting the letter I wrote announcing this up on web-sites. Mike Gonzalez, in addition to others, wrote some very good rebuttals of individuals who challenged the desireability/propriety of such a law suit. Thank you guys for your help in that. Good job!

Thanks also to Keth Schneider, of Schneider & Schneider who has worked patiently with me and given me reassurance through many phone calls when I had doubts/questions.

What's next? Well, several years ago I drew a line in the sand, and said if things didn't get significantly better in UMC, then I would be leaving it. Things haven't gotten better, in my humble opinion. Now, I've done everything I can to effect/promote positive change, so have a clear conscience in that regard. I can do no more, and really didn't even lay a glove on the big boys, sadly to say. So, it's now time to start disentangling myself (start not taking new church office slots and/or getting out of old ones at end of term) so I can ease out the door quietly.

Anyway, I just wanted to bring everyone up to speed on what's happening on this topic. I still think there is a slam dunk good, solid case to be made, and anyone who might have the time and resources to pursue it is welcome to. I'll be glad to help on such a project in any way I can.

Ron B


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