Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Merger Resolution: Amended & Adopted!

Readers of this blog will recall my nine resolutions to the General Assembly, six of which were adopted by my district's delegation and sent on to the General Assembly. Among those six was one that called for the General Superintendents to put together a committee that would seek to explore the possibility of merger with The Wesleyan Church, as well as the Free Methodist Church. - That resolution can be read, here.

While I do not have the exact wording of the amendment (they took it off of the screen to quickly!), the amendment basically took out specific reference to The Wesleyan & Free Methodist churches and replaced it with something like "other likeminded Wesleyan-holiness denominations." While retaining "merger" language, it ended with something like "or increased collaboration," or something like that.

There are a number of good points in this action to be thankful for: First, the committee, and then the Assembly, responded overwhelmingly positively to the resolution (as amended). Second, it positions the Church of the Nazarene as a leader in trying to bring together the Wesleyan-holiness denominations into one Wesleyan-holiness church. Third, it looks beyond just the two denominations that I named. - This could make a real, significant difference for the Church of the Nazarene and the Wesleyan-holiness movement.

There are a couple of possible concerns, as well: One, that without specific denominations named, the committee could become much more general in the way that they approach other "likeminded" denominations. Second, the committee could lean more towards the collaboration than the merger concept. Additionally, there are some Wesleyan-holiness denominations that we have less in common with (i.e., those that do not share our specifically Methodist heritage), like the Church of God (Anderson), that could lead us further away from our heritage, rather than solidifying it.

However, even with those "possible concerns," with the amendment, I am quite pleased that the Assembly overwhelmingly adopted the resolution, and I am thankful for the opportunity to influence our denomination in this way.

May God receive the glory!

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have prayed for this for many years. Thank you for your push of this effort.

David Drury said...

Here-here!
Glad you're introducing this. May it be so.

-David Drury
College Wesleyan Church

Anonymous said...

The Nazarene denomination is blowing in the wind on this one. Do you really believe the COTN will give up it's infrastructure? They don't want to merge with the Wesleyans and Free Methodists. They want to swallow them up.
I pray this NEVER happens.

sumpteretc said...

I share Anonymous's concerns, but I would love to see us come together in unity, and institutional merger would be a good symbol of that. I would hope that the Nazarene leadership would be an example of self-sacrificial love; is that too much to ask?

Anonymous said...

To the first Anonymous poster:

You are partially correct. Like any denomination, there are a variety of voices and opinions. Many Nazarenes would be hesitant to merge when it really came to it, and others probably would want to keep the Nazarene infrastructure, but others are more open minded, already desiring change in the structure, and are anxious to begin uniting with other like-minded denominations.

It seems you have fears of your own that are similar to the fears many Nazarenes would have.

I, for one, am a Nazarene who is okay with the idea of merging in such a way that the structure is completely re-worked, the manual is completely re-written (something I am already praying for!) and I am completely open to working together with another denomination in order that we may be strengthened in our efforts to reach the world.

I also welcome the different theological views that it would bring with it.

I say all this simply to say that the view you have of the Nazarene denomination is limited to your experience, and it seems clear that you have not experienced Nazarenes who think like I do.

Nazarenes with similar points of view to mine are NOT a minority. At least not in all parts of the country ;)

JohnLDrury said...

It seems to me that if merger talks were multilateral (e.g., Free Methodists, Wesleyans, and Nazarenes all at once) it would help to limit the potential "swallowing up" of the smaller ones by the larger one. At least this Wesleyan would welcome such talks more gleefully if they were multilateral.

Anonymous said...

We are losing our Wesleyan Chapels of our culture & heritage in West Wales because of the control by the Stronger Methodist Church. The Model TRUSTS now give the Methodist Church the ability to sell our Chapels without much regard for our graveyards/cemeteries or the fact that one family are still grieving for wife,mother & grandmother who died a year ago last Christmas.The access to her grave will pass immediately in front of the Chapel.
The initial decision to introduce an English minister into a Welsh area has accelerated the demise of the indigenous Wesleyan faith.
In Ceredigion the Wesleyan Circuit has shrunk to be accessible by road at the cost of reducing the Wesleyan at home Chapels/Churches of the rural communities.
I regret seeing it happening. I see the anguish of those who want to be buried close to their family Chapel/Church and then hoping for RIP without disturbance for a while.
There appears to be no regard for Consecrated ground in this money making sale of Chapels.
Therefore be careful with your mergers.
What maybe TRUST today can disappear in a very short time. Central control is not always good and unfortunately the strong do not always protect the weak.Indeed they can steamroller the weak without ordinary sympathy for their faith or the honour of their graves for their dead loved ones.

Anonymous said...

Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Anonymous, thanks for your honesty. It is a trait seldom seen in the ranks of the church these days.

Anonymous said...

And Jesus said...

Rev. Vaughn W. Thurston-Cox said...

Thought intrigues me. So much we could do together. The Wesleyans are already publishing our Free Methodist materials (So who is ahead of the curve on this issue? :-))

We may also be able to toss in the conservative United Methodists. I know at least one eager for a change.

Wes McCallum said...

MOVING TOWARDS A MORE PERFECT UNION

On May 4-5, 2010 the General Board of The Wesleyan Church approved continuing discussions with other like-­minded holiness denominations regarding the possibility of creating a new holiness denomination for the 21st Century.

Possibly, this may not be a "merger" between two denominations, but a "uniting" of several similar groups with a common vision, global mission, and cultural relevancy.

This is fully consistent with the Wesleyan and Nazarene history of assimilating like minded groups. Clearly, we can do more together than we can apart! It’s time for fresh new ideas to emerge!

More than a novel idea, it may be a fulfillment of Christ’s prayer for unity: "That they may be one as we are one." "May they be brought to complete unity." -- John 17:22-23.

Kemuel Travis said...

As a Wesleyan pastor, I know of several other Wesleyans who are concened with this idea. I do not share their views and would love to see a new, larger denomination that could betterr pool resources to reach a new generation with the much needed and neglected doctrine of holiness. May we all become one in the cause of Christ and not seek solely to hold on to our comfortable taditionns.