A New Vision, A New Voice ~ The North Texas Conference
Message from Vic Casad: August 14, 2017
Notes from the Heartland
Below you will hear from various voices “from the heartland.” I have decided to share with you the statements I received from my July survey of clergy in the East District.
These statements are responses to the question: Please share your feelings or thoughts about The General Church …
As you read the responses below you will discover that they are all over the position spectrum which I suspect reflects the diverse minds and hearts of the United Methodist clergy throughout the United States. It is clear we are not of the same mind on a particular issue, but we are of the same mind about what our priorities are. I have not edited any of these statements, but I have also chosen not to share the name of the respondent. I appreciate everyone’s response, and am praying with all of you that we will truly find a way forward in unity.
My observation of the General Church within the community of Greenville, TX is that it is dominated by very conservative, evangelical theology stressing the Law of Moses and the blood of Jesus more than the love of Jesus; a theology grounded in judgment rather than forgiveness and acceptance. As a result, the more moderate to liberal Christians are simply becoming silent and staying home defining themselves as “spiritual.”
With the possibility of another schism in our future, I’m concerned to a degree about the uncertain of future of the current Church. Hard to imagine Western Civilization without the presence of the UMC, but it could happen and should it happen, I know the gospel will still be lived, preached and shared.
I believe we are at a critical juncture. The issue before us is about more than just how we word our discipline in regards to sexuality. It is about biblical authority and how we relate to that. For all of our talking about inclusivity, to me what it comes down to is this. Is the practice of homosexuality sinful behavior? If you believe that it is, then conscience will not allow you to be part of a church that allows it in any way. That is why any “local option” does not work for me. I have been in ministry for 13 years in the UMC. For those 13 years I have heard about our connection across the globe. This connection I believe will prove to be our undoing as people with such differing perspectives try to stay connected. We are two churches pretending to be one, I believe this is unsustainable. It is my opinion that we should respectfully admit that our differences are irreconcilable and go our separate ways. We will then be able to focus on what we really should be focusing on…The kingdom of God and the making of disciples of Jesus Christ.
Try not to think about GC. With all the politics and controversy, it doesn’t seem very helpful
I’m praying for the way forward that will be offered by our Bishops to truly be a way to hold our unity and embrace all people as beloved children of God.
Feel in limbo, unsure of what the church will look like in a short time.
Loving God and sharing the love of God with others is what we are here for and that is what the UMC does.
It feels like the extremes on both ends are preparing to exit the UMC and the middle will be left behind to pick up the pieces or create something different as a result of the exodus
It’s pretty depressing. It’s hard to think about the future when it appears there will be massive changes in the next few years.
Sad that we have to say “Good-bye” to those who don’t want to be in fellowship with those of us who want to include everybody. Split is inevitable.
Hopeful for the future
We are majoring in the minors. We are arguing about the “leading issue” for the fringes and forgotten our primary purpose is the make disciples. Let people of conscious disagree and lets get to the main task at hand: offer the life giving grace of God to all who seek it.
The General Church on the whole seems to be focused on the big picture of the future.
We have some Bishops and clergy that are not keeping faith with scripture and open disregard for our Book of Discipline. I see a division coming for our church. I would like to see our Bishops take a stand in leading our church back to Wesleyan doctrine and theology. Those who do not believe in these truths can form a church of their beliefs.
Praying for 2019 General Conference and for a fully inclusive church.
I am pleased with the functions and opportunities afforded me in the worship and fulfilling of my responsibilities as a pastor in the Blanton Chapel United Methodist Church.
I pray for The General Church, for the Way Forward Commission, and for their work seeking to find a way to keep us together while, at the same time, opening us to even more effective ministry with those on the margins in our community. The called General Conference in 2019 will be critical of the future of our Church, and I am in prayer that changes can be made and restructuring can be advanced that will further our ministries together and maintain unity. This being said, I am also a bit apprehensive about what will actually transpire. I have 22 years left in ministry before I reach mandatory retirement; I pray there is still a denomination here for me to serve within during those years, and FAR beyond them. I believe in the United Methodist Church, and in our ministries together, and the loss that would occur if we were to split up is too painful for me to contemplate.
I would like the Church agree and stand together on the major issues facing our denomination today.
I’m concerned about the issues that divide us and threaten to split us and I am anxious for resolution. I want love, grace and peace, even when we can’t agree.
I think about how people claim a belief in the name of a denomination. Why not claim Jesus Christ instead? The homosexual issue is just mind boggling. Where do we stand on this issue? It seems as though we are not going by The Discipline at present.
I feel we are still far too reactionary when it comes to controversial decisions. Prefer to respond rather than react.
I suppose the feeling might be “sadness”. I dread the idea of losing the covenantal relationship with folks whom I feel deeply connected to on most all other issues except the issue of Human Sexuality.
I worry about a denominational split. I think that most UM laity do not want a split, even though they have strong opinions: they want to “keep on keepin’ on.”
I love the general church because our communion is open to all. We strive to make a better place in our Churches in communities and in the world.
The Church is the bride of Christ. There will always be work to do to build the Kingdom in partnership with our Lord. The what and the how may change, but the why remains constant: God loves us and is calling us into right relationship with God and people
The General United Methodist Church faces uncertainty; but the Church founded on Christ is on solid ground.
In His Service and Yours,