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Casa Linda Pastor Invites Congregation to Join Confessing Movement's Call to Re-affirm Faith

Dear Members and Friends of Casa Linda,

On the reverse side of this letter is a copy of a statement made by the directors of The Confessing Movement within the United Methodist Church after the homosexual union in Sacramento, California, last month. The Confessing Movement is a voluntary association of United Methodists who seek to reaffirm the biblical and historical affirmations concerning Jesus and the scriptures. I have attended two conferences held by the Confessing Movement and will attend their next conference in Indianapolis this coming September. Please take time to read the statement on the reverse side.

After the Confessing Movement released this statement, a pastor in southern Georgia challenged United Methodist pastors to join him on February 21, the first Sunday of Lent, in leading the congregation in re-affirming their baptismal vows while he reaffirmed his ordination vows in the presence of his congregation. I am led by the Holy Spirit to join this pastor and others in this special time of re-affirmation.

As I prayed about it, I felt the leading of the Holy Spirit to invite the Reverend Lee Bedford to come and join this. As many of you know, Lee Bedford founded this church. What many of you may not know is that on May 26, 1981, Lee placed his hands on my head with several others Elders and I was ordained an Elder in the United Methodist Church.

I remember clearly that evening at Highland Park UMC. My most significant memory was the weight upon my head as Lee and others laid their hands on my head. The weight nearly pushed me to the floor.

That is how I perceive the Lord God’s calling upon my life today. The responsibilities before me are weighty. I carry a heavy burden that comes from my Lord and Savior, my Jesus. I bear it with gladness knowing that His yoke is easy when I work alongside my Rock. I also know that I must continue to yield myself to my Lord. This is why I will re-affirm my vows of ordination next Sunday morning, and have Lee place his hands upon my head and pray for me.

The next eighteen months are very important months for our denomination. We, as a denomination, are in the midst of choosing the road we will take. The road we take will certainly determine our future. It is imperative that we seek the face of our Lord God and dedicate ourselves anew to Him. Throughout the history of the Lord’s people, it has been imperative for them to seek the Lord’s face and renew their commitment to Him. This Sunday, you will have that opportunity. If you choose to do so, please remember, you are renewing a covenant that requires you to give all to Jesus.

There are some of you for whom it is impossible for you to renew your baptismal vows because you have never taken these vows. You may or may not have been baptized, but if you have not stood before the brothers and sisters of the church and become a member of the church, you have never before taken the vows of baptism. I am convinced that in order to be obedient to our Heavenly Father, we must do as Jesus did and present ourselves before the people of the Lord God and take the vows of baptism. This includes those who have never been baptized as well as those who have not joined the church by publicly professing your faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I encourage you to do so this Sunday. If this is your desire, please get in touch with me before Sunday.

Throughout all of history, the Lord our God has amassed His people for His purposes. Our Heavenly Father is doing this again, in our time, in our local church, in our denomination, and in our nation. If you choose to answer His call of enlistment for His work, then come this Sunday and along with me renew, re-affirm your vows. Rev. Bedford will lead us. The Lord God will bless us.

Please pray for me as I pray for you.

Grace and Peace,

 Joe S. Florence

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