By Angela Pleasants
August 20, 2021
On July 1, I started working for the Wesleyan Covenant Association as the Vice President of Clergy and Church Relations. That’s a long title, but what does it mean? Initially, I am helping create pathways for clergy and local churches to smoothly transition to the Global Methodist Church once it is legally formed and begins operations.
This work includes addressing how licensed local pastors will be received into the GM Church and the next steps for those who are currently candidates for ordained ministry as they align with it. A process is being developed to receive UM Church clergy (deacons and elders) into the GM Church. Also, policies are being developed for approving educational institutions where aspiring clergy candidates can complete academic requirements for ordination.
Once the policies and procedures are developed, I will submit the documents to the Transitional Leadership Council of the GM Church for their recommendations and approval. These policies and procedures will help guide clergy candidates, board of ministry, and local churches during a 12 to 18-month transitional period prior to the GM Church’s convening General Conference.
For local churches, a process is under development to receive those who want to align with the GM Church under the Protocol for Reconciliation and Grace through Separation. Also, a pathway will be created so other churches with a Methodist heritage can align with the GM Church.
Developing policies and procedures connects and puts into action the vision of the GM Church and our mission. How do we bring the presence of Jesus Christ to all people and help them reflect the character of Christ? We do so by going into the world making disciples of Jesus Christ through passionate worship, extravagant love, and bold witness.
Going into the world will take passionate, loving, and bold clergy and laity like each of you. Therefore, we are working diligently to implement the policies to ensure the GM Church will receive clergy and local congregations.
Since joining the WCA, I am asked continuously, “How do you like your job?” A friend said, “When you enjoy what you do, you will never work another day in your life.” Although the responsibility as Vice President of Clergy and Church Relations is significant, the work is enjoyable. The Transitional Leadership Council, WCA Council, and staff are individuals who love the Lord and their ministry. I am in awe of everything they have accomplished in less than five years.
My greatest joy is that what we are creating is truly a global church. I have served on task teams and now the staff. People from numerous ethnicities and nationalities are instrumental in accomplishing the work of the GM Church.
Sadly, some have referred to us ethnic minorities as “tokens.” I have heard this phrase on other occasions throughout my life. I recall a time someone approached me and said, “Be careful; they are only using you as a token.” I responded, “So, you have no trust in my intellectual discernment to know when I am being used. And just maybe I am serving because my gifts matched what is required.”
I am honored and humbled to serve alongside brothers and sisters from Africa, Russia, the Philippines, Romania, and America. I have worked with Asian Americans, Hispanic, and Native Americans. And the GM Church’s Transitional Leadership Council is a very diverse body representing the glorious hues of God’s human creation. None of them are “tokens” despite the scurrilous claim of a UM clergyman. They are men and women called and gifted by God, filled with knowledge and wisdom who have impactfully contributed to what will be the Global Methodist Church.
Again, when asked how I like my job, I respond, this is the first time I genuinely feel like I am part of a global church in my ministry. In the GM Church, I believe we have the opportunity to see this scripture become a reality on earth. “After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9).
The Rev. Angela Pleasants is the Wesleyan Covenant Association’s Vice President for Clergy and Church Relations. She is based in Charlotte, North Carolina.
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