January 14, 2022
The late Eugene Peterson, author of The Message paraphrase of the Bible, wrote a book that left an indelible mark on me – A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. The subtitle of the book captured my attention – “Discipleship in an Instant Society.” I am amazed at how much information we have at our fingertips compared to earlier generations. In many parts of the world, we not only desire instant gratification; we often get it. So when life throws us a curve and we have to slow down, persevere, or wait, we frequently find ourselves using “muscles” long neglected.
As the Wesleyan Covenant Association enters 2022, the word impressed on me by the Holy Spirit is “faithful.” I am so grateful that God perseveres. God has always had a vision for my life, but I have taken many twists and turns in that journey. God has not given up on me – and God does not give up on any human being. God is faithful. God perseveres. Because we are made in the image of God, we are called to be faithful – to persevere. We are to trust God that what God purposes will be brought to completion.
Although there is much to be frustrated about – particularly with respect to certain matters in The United Methodist Church – there is much that encourages me and I pray encourages you. The WCA is blessed with a gifted team of leaders – from the global council to our global staff to the leadership of regional chapters all over the world to hundreds of persons who have participated in the work of our task forces. The WCA is blessed with an ever-expanding team of intercessors who stand in the gap for God’s work in and through us regardless of where we are in the journey. The WCA is blessed with passionate and committed members who are making a difference in their individual ministry settings and who are sharing the Gospel in their mission fields with boldness. Much fruit is being borne for the kingdom of God.
I am pleased to report that many of you responded with great generosity to our year-end goal of raising $250,000 in funding for the WCA. As of December 31, we had received more than $340,000, exceeding our goal. These gifts, together with those made throughout the year, and your membership fees enable us to continue the important work we are doing to prepare for the launch of the Global Methodist Church and to support Methodists globally as they interact with existing circumstances in the UM Church.
As you are aware, we recently launched an initiative to help all General Conference delegates outside the United States gain access to Covid-19 vaccinations. Delegates are required by the U.S. government to be vaccinated in order to enter the U.S. and so participate in the General Conference. The WCA is also working with others to ensure delegates who need visas to enter the U.S. can procure them in a timely manner. Many of you have already contributed specifically to this initiative. Your gifts are appreciated and if you have not done so, I urge you to join us in this important work.
We are looking forward to gathering with several thousand laity and clergy at our 2022 Global Gathering under the theme “More Than Conquerors” on May 7 at Kingsway Christian Church in Avon, Indiana, near Indianapolis, and at numerous simulcast sites. Registration for the Global Gathering will open in mid-February. Our 2022 Global Legislative Assembly will be held on May 6. Our work to speak into the work of Methodists globally continues.
Because of your generosity, the WCA has been able to provide staff support to the Transitional Leadership Council (TLC) of the Global Methodist Church and funding to prepare for the launch of the Global Methodist Church. As a result, the Global Methodist Church is ready to be launched when the TLC discerns conditions are appropriate.
The looming uncertainty before us is whether the UM Church’s General Conference will be held from August 29 to September 6, 2022. The UM Church’s Commission on General Conference continues its work to hold the conference as scheduled. The commission is likely to meet in the first quarter of 2022 to make a final decision on whether the conference will proceed as planned, be further postponed, or be canceled altogether. Barring any unforeseen global crisis, we believe there is no reason why the General Conference should not be held. Other major international organizations are holding their meetings as planned in 2022. We are confident the commission can complete its plans and so ensure the conference is finally allowed to attend to all the very important matters before it.
Whatever the case, the WCA Global Council and the GM Church’s TLC are prepared to make key decisions concerning the launch of the GM Church should the General Conference be further postponed or canceled.
As we embrace this new year, the WCA is uncompromising in our commitment to hold fast to the warm-hearted Wesleyan expression of the Christian faith that has fueled one of the greatest movements in human history. We will persevere in the midst of uncertainty. We are praying into and preparing for a revival to sweep Methodism and Christ’s church globally. We are grateful you are with us in this journey.
The Rev. Keith Boyette is president of the Wesleyan Covenant Association and chairman of the Transitional Leadership Council of the Global Methodist Church. He is an elder in the Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church.
East Ohio WCA is not affiliated with the East Ohio UNITED METHODIST CHURCH.
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