Reflections on the Global Legislative Assembly
Global Gathering of the Wesleyan Covenant Association
On Friday, November 2, I had the opportunity to attend the Global Legislative Assembly of the Wesleyan Covenant Association as a delegate. The next day, Saturday, November 3, I also attended the Global Gathering. Both events were held at Mt. Bethel UMC in Marietta, GA
If you’re interested in learning more about the results of the Global Legislative Assembly, please click here
I’d like to share about my experience for those few days in Marietta. I must admit I was more than a little anxious. Exactly how would these preceding go? Would there be honest and open conversation about the legislation we were asked to consider?
If you’re like me, you attend a lot of meetings. It’s not hard to feel the anxiety and apprehension in many United Methodist circles. At times it feels like we are passengers on the Titanic who have resigned themselves to the absolute certainty of hitting an iceberg at 2019 Called General Conference. There is little talk of resurrection and hope. It’s mostly about survival.
In our time together in Marietta, there was a great conversation about the future of the church. There was representation from every part of our connection. Bishops were present, theologians were in our midst, and faithful laity and clergy has made the journey to bear witness of their hope that is grounded in Jesus Christ. There was diversity and unity. We were encouraged and challenged.
We discussed what we believed and how to best to live that out. There was honest dialogue of what happens after General Conference 2019 and the necessity of a new structure if needed.
But here’s something else I noticed during those two days: there was hope. Hope for a future that is grace-filled and Spirit-empowered. Hope to reclaim and rediscover a vital Wesleyan pneumatology. Hope for a renewal of the people called Methodist.
I left those two days wondering “why aren’t we having these types of conversations within The United Methodist Church?” The primary concern was not institutional survival. It was about being empowered by and living unashamedly the faith that is entrusted to us. What I saw were people who were concerned about the church they love deeply and a longing for the Holy Spirit to move in a powerful way.
One last thing I’d like to share. We began and ended our time literally on our knees. It was the type of prayer that is passionate with an utter dependence on God. We were called to repent, to seek to be more loving, more compassionate.
I left that gathering hopeful because I was reminded that the Holy Spirit is not done with the people called Methodists.
Bob Cooper (President, VaWCA)