Thank you to everyone who participated in worship yesterday and is invested in staying up to date with the process of moving forward with Getwell Road's decision to withdraw from the United Methodist denomination. After a congregational vote in favor of beginning the process to withdraw, Bill met with Bishop James Swanson, along with our District Superintendent and Bryan Collier from the Orchard, the church we are partnering with in this work, and Bryan's district superintendent, Dr. Jimmy Barnes. The meeting was productive and the environment was peaceful and amiable. Please know that this is the beginning of the process, and conversations and negotiations are now in the works. We do not have a definitive timeline to go by in how things will unfold, but we will keep the Getwell Road family as updated as possible in the coming weeks.
Many months of difficult work have brought us to this point, spearheaded by dedicated leaders within our Getwell Road family. Much conversation has taken place with leaders across our congregation to discern all possible points of view on this decision. We still have much work ahead, but trusting God to light each step as it falls before us is evidence of God's faithfulness in this season. For now, in this point of transition, we remain Getwell Road United Methodist Church. You may see or hear comments about Getwell Road on social media or other outlets, but please resist the urge to comment. If there is anything we have learned in recent months from national events, commenting on social media or in conversation does not create peace or greater understanding, it only adds fuel to the divisive fire.
As Bill mentioned during the Town Hall meetings and during worship on February 5, there are struggles within this denomination that have brought Getwell Road to this crossroads. Those struggles include: lack of definitive leadership decisions in the United Methodist conference, particularly magnified and seen by the division that is occurring within the denomination lately; a departure from the authority of God's word; failure of some United Methodist seminaries to center their curriculum on Jesus and the Bible; and the widely-publicized divide that is growing within our denomination over social issues where human sexuality is the central topic of conversation and divide.
As a reminder, here is a talking point to give you a concise way to express Getwell Road's position if you are approached about the subject:
The decision to peacefully withdraw from the United Methodist denomination was made for a number of reasons, all of which stem from the desire to remove distractions that take away from our ministry to DeSoto County and the surrounding area. We want to be able to focus on the unique ministry that Getwell has to offer and not be distracted by the divisive debates and decisions occurring over a variety of topics in the United Methodist denomination. We want to give Getwell Road room to breathe and grow and carry out our mission to reach people with Jesus' love.
Please continue to pray for this process, for our pastors and leadership, for the Bishop and his Cabinet, and for the United Methodist denomination as a whole.
If you have specific questions, please contact the church office at 662-349-3680.
Bill and Jonathan