Clergy and Laity of the North Texas Conference,
I am so grateful for the continued faithfulness of our churches across North Texas. This summer your commitment to making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world has been brought to life as you have fed and housed those in need, welcomed thousands of children to Vacation Bible Camps, rebuilt homes following natural disasters and given generously to support the United Methodist Mission in Honduras and UMCOR’s efforts in Ukraine.
Even as all this good is being done, I know that for many in our congregations, rumors and false assumptions have made this a season of strife, discord, confusion and anxiety. Today I am writing to directly address several falsehoods I have encountered about The United Methodist Church, both in the North Texas Conference and at large.
First, I have heard assertions that The United Methodist Church plans to eliminate or alter its foundational theological doctrines, including the doctrine of the Trinity and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. These claims are blatantly untrue and seek only to sow seeds of fear. Not only are our United Methodist doctrines and beliefs protected in The Constitution of the UMC, our Doctrinal Standards and the General Rules, but they are cornerstones of our faith. You can trust that they are unchanging.
Additionally, clergy and laity alike have voiced that they have heard there will not be a place for traditionalists in The United Methodist Church moving forward and that their only option is to depart the denomination. Statements like this undermine the very real and important contributions of the traditionalist leaders and congregations who continue to faithfully serve in the North Texas Conference. I have always found rich diversity of thought to be a great strength within our annual conference, and I look forward to continuing to benefit from the leadership and teaching of gifted pastors, preachers and lay members from across the entirety of the ideological spectrum.
Finally, I have heard that some within the North Texas Conference believe that violations or disregard for The Book of Discipline are rampant and that accountability is lax. In truth, while I typically receive a handful of complaints each year about clergy or churches violating The Book of Discipline, the clergy and churches of the North Texas Conference continue to demonstrate a strong commitment to our polity, and the bonds of our connection remain strong. In response to the complaints that are received, we always follow the process outlined in The Book of Discipline ¶362 and ¶2701 and address each with an appropriate response. Because the outcomes of these processes within The United Methodist Church – like personnel matters in the secular world – are kept confidential, I can understand how it may appear that there is a lack of accountability. However, please know that I take The Book of Discipline and the supervision of NTC clergy seriously and aim to handle this area of my responsibilities with the utmost integrity.
It is my hope that by addressing this misinformation head-on, we can move forward together from a place of openness and respect, making decisions and plans for the future of our churches and the North Texas Conference that are firmly grounded in truth.