Thursday, May 06, 2010

The Great Merger of Wesleyanism?!

Buried within the report of the most recent General Board of Adminstration meeting of The Wesleyan Church was this astounding line:

"Approved a resolution authorizing the Board of General Superintendents to pursue further discussions with other like-minded holiness denominations regarding the possibility of creating a new holiness denomination for the 21st century."

Outstanding!! There's really no reason for there to be Wesleyans, Nazarenes, Free Methodists, and so forth when we all have the same basic beliefs and practices. And in a culture of decentralization, networking, and financial stress on bureaucracies, it can take a reformulation of this sort to create a structure that really fits the times rather than one perpetuated merely because of traditions that don't really fit any more.

Let's call it the Wesleyan Methodist Church (or maybe connection?)! ;-)

Also hidden in there are some very significant potential restructurings of the general church...

11 comments:

Pastor Rob Henderson said...

I would welcome a merger. And I really like the idea of calling it "Connection" rather than "Church". It might be the kind of name that generates a deeper interest from those outside.

Michael Cline said...

The main question I think needs to be asked is how a merger of denominations reflects the "decentralization" trend? Doesn't it reject the trend rather than embracing it? Unless the Connection that is developed strategically sets itself up for decentralization and plurality, I'm not sure such a move is a good thing.

Ken Schenck said...

Mike, it all depends on how the merger would coordinate. The Free Methodists, for example, are moving away from a centralized HQ but have their bishops actually living in the regions they overview. A connection might allow individual local churches to connect to various pan-Wesleyan services (pension plans, health care plans, etc.)

π² said...

As far as the name, I think all the parties have the following connections to the past: John Wesley, the Holiness Movement, and Methodism, so part of the name should reflect that past. (I don't know enough history of the Nazarenes to know exactly why that name was chosen.) The second part of the name should reflect where we are going in the future: holiness (again) and unity came to my mind. The final part of the name should simply be "church" because it clearly lets people know what we are, even though I like the retro "connection" idea. My vote is for The Wesleyan Holiness Church.
On a conceptual level, I like the idea of getting closer to being one church. On a realistic level, I look at the United States government and think, bigger does not always mean better. I wouldn't want to become a church bureaucracy. All parties would gain some great leaders. Some leaders would have to graciously step aside.

π² said...

I may have to take back my vote. The more times I say Wesleyan Holiness Connection, the more I like it. It brings modern sound to old words and ideas.

David Drury said...

My vote is for anything with "Connection" in the title... it's throwback and current and basic...

And as we all know it's the votes on Ken's blog that REALLY count. So i'm voting early, 6 years before the real votes are tallied.

:-)

Ken Schenck said...

Six years?? I'm banking on a proposal 2012 and connection in 2013!

David Drury said...

I prefer not to bank on the speed of denominational processes. :-)

But perhaps you are right. I would be pleased to be proved wrong.

Most concerned Churchman said...

I am totally against it! Especially with the Nazarene Church for a myriad of reasons. Horrific Debt other denominations will have to "bail out", frequent civil and felonious cases of huge success against them, arbitrary application of their Manual, issues and acquiesence with the emerging church dogmas, moral decay at college campuses, refusal to remove the ones who do these things from ministry and position to ever have this power again, watered down results of fruitful ministry with souls saved and sanctifed and churches growing. These are but a few of the reasons. Yet they are huge. Wesleyanism can merge, if decentralization and power centers are disbanded to keep them from being a dogmantic political machine in Christ's name. The Nazarenes are the leaders of the pack in these difficult issues, and must be forced to clean house and stand on their own, as should all entities. But it can still happen -- among Weselyan denominations and holiness associations liken to the Wesleyan Church, Free Methodist, and other similar denominations.

Most concerned Churchman said...

I am against any merger using the Nazarenes, though I am one. All mergers they have done swallows up any other denomination, bringing to death their identity; they are tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars in debt, and thus look to use it to get further out of debt on the back of another denomination; they arbitrarily apply the Manual to keep in power those who are there; they have horrific legal history of sexual, financial, labor, harrassment, and more, on the civil and felony level. Have them clean their house, get it righted, and then look to merge. The Wesleyans and Free Methodist, along with other like minded holiness churches / assoications would do well, but only as a Chruch and not simply a connection, and as long as there is a shared power structure that could be held more accountable than currently done.

Most concerned Churchman said...

I would welcome any thoughts and feed back to my web site, as to my posting, and would share the reasons with you as well, but only to be used for correcting and not simply to smear a church. Ezekiel was a watchman on the wall; if I can do so, or must do so, ok, but only if it is accepted as being revealing for the only purpose to bring change and not degredation.

ezekielministries@aol.com