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News from the Area Office

Bishop David Bard had conversation with leaders of the newly forming Wesley Evangelical Association.

On October 7, 2016 some 1,800 people gathered in Chicago to organize a new Wesleyan Covenant Association. The group’s declared intention is to lead Methodism in a more evangelical direction.

A month later, on November 10, 33 members of the group formerly known as Detroit Conference IMPACT gathered at the Michigan Area Ministry Center as the core of a newly formed Michigan Area Wesleyan Association. Five of those present shared out of the experience they had at the inaugural meeting in Chicago. The future of the regional group, co-chaired by the Rev. Tom Anderson, Highland UMC, and the Rev. John Grenfell, Plymouth 1st UMC, was also discussed.

During their session in Lansing, the Michigan Area WCA engaged in conversation with Bishop David Bard.

Bishop Bard said he was pleased to be invited to meet. “I wanted to hear their joys and concerns about being in ministry in today’s world, and at this time in the history of The United Methodist Church.” The bishop also shared his faith and call story. 

“We discussed the Wesley Covenant Association’s position on LGBT inclusion and church unity,” Bard reports, “and I let them know that while my position differs from the one articulated by the national WCA, I trusted we could work together here in Michigan as we share a passion to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”

The bishop asked for the group’s help in his efforts to bring together conversations in the Michigan Area about church unity. “I told them that though this is a tender time for The United Methodist Church I had a deep feeling of peace about being here in Michigan as the United Methodist bishop,” he concluded.

Organizers of the international association have announced their hope is to do this work within The United Methodist Church, while leaving open the possibility of moving outside it. Chief among their concerns are growing challenges to the denomination’s bans on same-gender unions and the ordination of “self-avowed practicing” gay clergy.

“We believe that we are planting seeds today that when full-grown will bear fruit of a vital Wesleyan witness and dynamic, spirit-filled Methodism around the globe,” said the Rev. Jeff Greenway, lead pastor of Reynoldsburg United Methodist Church near Columbus, Ohio. He also is one of the leaders of the parent international group.

~Rev. Tom Anderson contributed information for this report.


Last Updated on December 28, 2022

The Michigan Conference