By Faye Gaston
There are several churches in Bullock County who belong to the United Methodist Church. Rural churches are vital centers of Methodist ministry around the world.
There was a Global Gathering of the Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA) hosted at Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, a dynamic and historic church. These three days focused on the formation of the new-traditional denomination the "Global Methodist Church" (the sacrifice of the claim to the United Methodists name). Meeting in-person for the first time since 2019, the Global Legislative Assembly of delegates from WCA Chapters met on Thursday and Friday, April 29 and 30.
The WCA's 36 member Global Council took action in two days of business on preparing for the launch of a theologically conservative Global Methodist Church. There were 300 delegates from around the world, 250 in-person and the others included by technology means to participate and vote. Included were delegates from Africa, Europe, Asia, the Philippines, and the U.S.
On Saturday, May 1, 2021, the WCA held its Fifth Global Gathering with in-person attendance limited to 1,000 due to the COVID-19 restrictions. There were simulcast sites and individual livestream access for people around the world to join the global gathering.
In some countries it was already the next day in their time-zones. 85 local churches had simulcast sites. The theme was "Go Global!" in reviving the Methodist movement with many millions of Christians around the world within and beyond the United Methodist Church who share core beliefs,
The Council secretary gave a report on two vital actions taken on Friday by the Global Council. The Council endorsed the "Protocol for Reconciliation and Grace through Separation" (from the present United Methodist Church) and endorsed the Global Methodist Church in formation.
The deep irreconcilable differences in the present denomination were outlined in the Protocol regarding bans on the ordination and marriage of LGBTQ (homosexual) individuals.
On May 1, there were ten well-known and global speakers with the focus on the Great Commission from Jesus, His last command, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20). Speakers addressed Christian conflict in the early church in the Bible, promoting Biblically-grounded sexual ethics, believing every word in the Bible, lessons learned from the Apostle Paul, and the Wesleyan theology preached by the founder of the Methodist church, John Wesley, as he rode thousands of miles on horseback.
On May 1, the welcome was given by Frazer's lead pastor, the Rev. Dr. Chris Montgomery who thanked all who worked to host the meeting. The day was filled with songs of worship led by Frazer's Jerrod Dorminey, Minister of Worship and the Frazer Church Band.
The passionate powerful singing went on before the program started, between the speakers, and to close this all-day worship service. Dorminey was the MC and also offered prayers. Retired Frazer pastor, the Rev. Dr. Larry Bryars, announced a following meeting.
The day closed with the celebration of Holy Communion, with the Rev. John Ed Mathison, Frazer Church's Pastor Emeritus (pastor for 36 years), and Kelly Stover, Frazer Church's Minister of Groups, joining in presiding over the sacrament.
It is said that work accomplished by the WCA in four years is remarkable, since its inception in October 2016. The announcement of the "Global Methodist Church" was announced on March 1, 2021.
The United Methodist General Conference scheduled for March 8, 2021, was postponed. The Protocol about separation will be presented for adoption at the United Methodist General Conference, now slated for August 29---September 6, 2022, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The Protocol is a means to "avoid the costly and bitter litigation over local church property and assets that plagued other denominations. If adopted, the Protocol's implementing legislation will allow all local United Methodist churches the opportunity to align with a new church without the threat of losing their property and assets in costly legal battles with their annual conference."
Local churches will be allowed to leave the United Methodist Church without financial penalties or exit fees. They will become the sole owners of their property and assets.
Their property will not be held in trust for a general church.
Upon the adoption of the Protocol and the adjournment of the United Methodist General Conference in 2022 the WCA and allies would launch the new traditional "Global Methodist Church".
The WCA's planning includes being ready for separation if the General Conference does not occur.