Dear Epworth Members and Friends,
The Administrative Council met on Monday night to discuss the recent actions taken by the General Conference of our denomination. After watching a presentation by Rev. Adam Hamilton (Senior Pastor of Church of the Resurrection United Methodist) to better understand the actions taken by the General Conference and possible next steps moving forward, the Ad-Council approved the following two motions.
First, with the Judicial Council meeting at the end of April to rule on the constitutionality of the “Traditional Plan,” congregations across the connection are now forming networks for a shared response, and finally awaiting the leadership of our Bishops at this hour, the Ad-Council has suspended payment of Epworth’s General Church and Conference apportionments through the end of April. Suspension does not translate into non-payment. The body believes it prudent to hit the “pause button” as we await more information. District apportionments will continue to be paid as the first check the church writes at the beginning of each month.
Secondly, the Administrative Council directed the staff and Communications Committee to place a full page advertisement in the Toledo Blade to clearly communicate Epworth remains and seeks to continue to be a church of wide welcome to everyone who seeks a relationship with Jesus Christ, no matter their different theological perspectives, or representation in whatever group they may count themselves. We are all people of the Cross who are loved by Jesus Christ and who seek a relationship with Him. Finally, Pastor Beth and others will be designing and offering a service of healing for those within our church and wider community hurt by the church in this instance or other instances.
The Ad-Council will continue to carefully monitor denominational events, the responses by other congregations, UM-related institutions, and constituent bodies as we link arms with others seeking to construct a “wide tent” denomination which welcomes and includes all God’s beloved children. A church that affirms we share One Lord, One Faith, and One Baptism.
There will be a District listening session at Epworth in the Deep End on Tuesday, March 19 from 6:30-8pm, hosted by Maumee Watershed District Superintendent, Rev. Dr. Scot Ocke. Please try to attend this session so you can ask questions and enhance your understanding of the events that are happening in the United Methodist Church and how they impact all of us. Also, please feel free to talk to the members of Epworth's Administrative Council and share your thoughts and your prayers as we continue to work to discern God's direction for us.
Peace and Blessings,
Doug Gorsuch and Laura Switzer
Administrative Council Chair and Co-Chair