From its first mention to its latest missive, we called the game of the Wesleyan Covenant Association from its beginning within The United Methodist Church to the launch of a new denomination. Since 2016, this blog has dedicated more paragraphs and pixels and social media poking than most others. So now, on the eve of the launch of the Global Methodist Church, it’s time to look down memory lane and see what stuck.
In the days after their announcement, I had to add a brief description of this new category with a growing category of posts and directions. Here is what was written circa early 2017:
Posts related to the Wesleyan Covenant Association, a renewal group dedicated to preserving global LGBTQ Exclusion in The United Methodist Church and, failing that, siphoning off the capital, property, and people from The UMC to a new Wesleyan denomination.
Yep. Called it.
Our early reporting was speculative but didn’t rush to conclusions either. We didn’t know whether this was a distraction for gaining power in the UMC or a way OUT of it. So we had to keep both possibilities in the conversation.
Here are the posts from this period leading up to their launch:
- Wesleyan Covenant Association: Gathering Storm or Aftershock in The #UMC?
- Mistaking the Symptoms for the Cause of #UMC Schism
- Playing The Expectations Game with the Wesleyan Covenant Association
- 10 Minutes after Progressives are Exiled from The #UMC
- The One Thing You Give Up to Join the Wesleyan Covenant Association
- Will the Trump Moment Change the Course of The #UMC?
- What Trump’s Election reveals about the Wesleyan Covenant Association
I admit that at this point, I started to feel a kinship with Warren Throckmorton. He’s a professor who made it his mission to report on Mark Driscoll, the pastor whose megachurch Mars Hill imploded in 2015. Professor Throckmorton didn’t even earn a mention in the future reporting on Driscoll, but for those of us paying attention at the time, he was the lifeline for grounded, informed critique.
So we started a series that compiled and brought regular scrutiny to the WCA. I called it “WCA Wednesdays” and that meant, every Wednesday for a month, I would bring new, in-depth coverage of their nascent actions.
The framework? The WCA reflected the culture of capitalism, evangelicalism, and the early years of Trump more than the historical renewal movements they so desperately wanted to be known for.
- Catering to Culture: The Real Foundations of the WCA 01: Partisanship
- Catering to Culture: The Real Foundations of the WCA 02: Anti-Institutionalism
- Catering to Culture: The Real Foundations of the WCA 03: Creeping Orthodoxy
- Catering to Culture: The Real Foundations of the WCA 04: Bearing False Witness
- Catering to Culture: The Real Foundations of the WCA 05: Being what they claim to hate
The Pieces Coming Together
After that series, and over the years 2018-2019, the pieces started to come together: incredibly savvy marketing, trickles of churches leaving the UMC, money shenanigans, and finally an overt embrace of schism.
But this season began and ended with our two best original reporting articles on the origins of the WCA.
- Three Takeaways from the Wesleyan Covenant Association Founding Document (Beginning of 2018)
- The Wesleyan Covenant Association: How did we get here? (End of 2019)
Here are the rest of the articles from this time period:
- As goes Mississippi, so goes The #UMC
- UMC Schismatics are now in Plain View…but Why?
- Selling “Confidence,” the WCA reframes the UMC crisis they created
- United, Asbury Alumnae Opposing Seminary Support of WCA
- The WCA is just an insurance policy in case their #UMC takeover fails.
- WCA Central Conference Fund: Created with decades of withheld tithes and diverted #UMC gifts
- Evangelical Fellowship of Virginia: The Problems of a schismatic WCA Church Plant and Voter Guides
Finally, in 2020-2022, reporting moved to the overt turn towards separation that began with the Indianapolis Plan, the brokered Protocol, and ends with this article on the eve of the May 1st launch of the Global Methodist Church. There was a long lull in there with the COVID-19 pandemic, but schismatics don’t retire: they just rest for a while.
- This Deal is getting worse all the time: Behind the WCA support of the Indianapolis Plan
- The Timeline problem in the Protocol for UMC Separation
- The Future of the Global Methodist Church is in the Past
- State of the UMC in 1000 words, part 3
- Florida Man (WCA) keeps pastor and spouse from attending church meeting
As of May 1st, 2022, this category of the Wesleyan Covenant Association is likely to retire as reporting and commenting moves to focus on the Global Methodist Church and how its supporters continue to intentionally harm The United Methodist Church.
But it will be revitalized if, as our original description named, the movement stays in The UMC to continue to cause harm and chaos as part of a zero-sum church growth strategy for the GMC.
Thanks for reading, commenting, subscribing, and sharing on social media.
Tallessyn Z Grenfell-Lee
Thank you so much for your faithfulness in this, pastor.