Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Greenway Announcement

Here is Dr. Greenway's announcement about where he and his wife will be going later this month. Good news! Apparently Reynoldsburg is the second largest UM church in the North Central Jurisdiction. It is second only behind Ginghamsburg UMC.

The Greenway children will continue to attend Asbury College, so at least these pressing matters are sorted. Whew!

If I have time later today I may reflect a little more on some of the issues hinted at here. But for now, here is Greenway's announcement:
________________________
November 5, 2006

Dear Family and Friends,

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.

Beth and our children join me in thanking you for the extraordinary ways that you have been agents of God’s grace in our lives during the last two months.

As you know, since August 31, we have been walking (sometimes limping and other times crawling) through an incredible series of events that have resulted in my leaving the presidency of Asbury Theological Seminary. The last two months have been the hardest place I have ever stood, but the rightest stand I have ever taken. I stood my ground during these weeks as an act of obedience. I have loved and continue to love Asbury Seminary, and hope that the Board will take the issues I have raised to them seriously.

Let me bear witness to the grace of God in these days.

1. We give praise to God for his grace and mercy during this journey. The scriptures have never been richer. Prayer has never been deeper. Worship has never been more precious. Christian community has never been more present. We have been overwhelmed and undergirded by the prayers and encouragement of many people.

2. I am blessed to be married to Beth, our love for each other and our faith in God have been deepened and strengthened through this. We would never have chosen to walk this walk, but we are so glad for the ways God is visiting us in this season.

3. We are blessed by the unity of our children. For the last couple of years, we have been praying that our kids would be “one” in their love for one another, and the last nine weeks have created the circumstance where that prayer is being answered. Once again, we would not have chosen such a lot, but are grateful for the way God is using it.

4. The faith of our family has been strengthened in immeasurable ways. Our kids are speaking faith language from the depths of their souls in prayer and conversation that have blown us away. We rejoice in God’s grace.

5. God is using this to bring reconciliation in our extended families. We both have brothers who live far away from God and us. As our families have been informed of what has been happening, these brothers have each been in contact with us to express love that has not been expressed for years. God is good.

6. We have been buoyed by the outpouring of love from the Asbury Theological Seminary faculty, staff, students, alumni and donors, our church, the community of Wilmore, Asbury College and our extended circle of friends. It is hard to believe that this is the community that the board consultant says is “deeply divided” about my leadership.

7. We are praying that bitterness will not take root in our hearts. We have been still, and have come to know that the Lord is God. We have been wounded, and are praying that God will turn these wounds into marks that can be used for His glory. We are praying for forgiveness for all involved.

There is much to tell, and over time, we will share it with persons in appropriate ways. At this time, what is necessary to share is that I resigned in mid-October, and as of the time of this writing, I have not and probably will not receive a severance package that is fair, equitable or just. I was presented a package, but for a variety of reasons could not sign such a non-negotiable, punitive, one-sided document.

But today is not about the past for my family and me, it is about the future. God has been faithful to our act of obedience, and has provided a place for us to continue our life in ministry.

I have been appointed by my Bishop, Tom Bickerton, as a part-time Conference Approved Evangelist through the Western Pennsylvania Conference effective October 18, 2006. This was done to prevent me from being placed on Leave of Absence, and because persons have expressed a desire to support us in ways that the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees has chosen not to. This appointment provides a means by which persons can do this. I anticipate that this appointment as a part-time Conference Approved Evangelist will last through June of 2008.

The reason this is a part-time appointment is because I have also been appointed by Bishop Bickerton and Bishop Bruce Ough from the West Ohio Conference as the Sr. Pastor of the Reynoldsburg United Methodist Church in the West Ohio Conference. I will remain a member of the Western Pennsylvania Conference for the time being.

Reynoldsburg is located ten miles east of Columbus, and returns us to some of our mid-western cultural roots. It is a great church with an evangelical core, a mission heart, a huge vision, and a distinctively Wesleyan expression of mission and ministry that centers on a passion for souls and compassion for people. It is the second largest church in the West Ohio Conference and one of the largest congregations in the North Central Jurisdiction with an average weekend worshipping congregation of nearly 2,500. It is a great church with a great vision, and we are humbled and honored to be going there. You can read more about it by going to its website at http://www.rumc.org/.

We will be moving out of our home in Wilmore around November 14, and will begin our ministry at Reynoldsburg on December 1. (I get to preach through Advent this year!) We thank you for the profound ways you have provided support and care for us during these days. We believe that the relationships we have formed will transcend the title of “President of Asbury Theological Seminary,” and look forward to seeing how they will develop in the years to come.

Our children will remain at Asbury College. The college community and leadership have been phenomenal to them during this season, and we are looking forward to the ways God will form them as they continue their education.

Thank you for your love, prayers, care and concern during these days. We have been buoyed by them. Please pray that the move will be smooth, and that God will grant us favor as I return to be a pastor…which is all I ever wanted to be when I graduated from Asbury in 1985. Isn’t God good?

Blessings!
Jeff…for the Greenway’s

3 comments:

James Petticrew said...

I recieved this from Jeff earlier in the week and must admit when I read it I was very pleased with the outcome of the situation for him but did notice that he strikes a slightly different cord from Dr Smith when he says "I have not and probably will not receive a severance package that is fair, equitable or just. I was presented a package, but for a variety of reasons could not sign such a non-negotiable, punitive, one-sided document."
I am very sad about that.

John M. Crowe said...

I'm glad for former President Greennway and his family for this new ministry being close enough to Wilmore for his children to continue at Asbury College.

However, major changes almost in the middle of the conference year don't just take place overnight. He must of used a good deal of the time between August and October to have this as a back up plan in case events concluded as they did. His Bishop must have helped greatly also in helping everything come together for this move so quickly.

Who knows, he may have been working on this for a while if he percieved a possible need earlier on. Nothing wrong with that.

Dr. Greenway was blessed that Reynoldsburg UMC was being served by an interum senior pastor, something I've never seen or heard of in the SE Conference of the UMC.

His Bishop could have changed his appointment from the seminary to the church in the West Ohio Conference without either part-time evangelist in his home conference or going on leave of absence.

It would not surprise me for Jeff to move his conference membership to the W. Ohio Conference and remain as senior pastor for many years.

Large churches like Reynoldsburg UMC tend to have long pastoral tenures. Jeff graduated from ATS 2 years after I did. Who knows, he may be senior pastor at this new appointment for 18 years and retire.

Sounds like a good ending to me.

Ken Schenck said...

I hope it is a good ending for the Greenways.

I'm less sure what the ending will be for the seminary!?