Letter to the Editor: An open letter to Bud Reeves

Bud, your commentary concerning our current “crisis” [May 2 issue of the Arkansas United Methodist] was thought-provoking and insightful. However, it’s not new. When you, John Miles, Owen Talley and I were ordained elders in 1985, these same controversies about homosexuality between what you describe as “so-called progressives” and “so-called traditionalists” were every bit as vehement.  We worried about schism even then, nearly 30 years ago!

What has changed is the willingness of some “progressives” to defy our doctrine and discipline. When pastors, churches, conferences and even some bishops decide to counsel and practice open defiance of our connectional covenant, that is more than just talk. This is contrary to the vows that all elders make to uphold the doctrine and discipline of the UMC.

Such open defiance by United Methodist elders begs the question of whether we are united at all. If some freely flout the Discipline where they dissent from it, where is our unity? Are they not, in fact, already schismatic? De facto if not de jure? 

Speaking for myself, as a Wesleyan United Methodist, I have no intention to leave the church I love.

So, yes, we should talk, and pray for revival. But I fear that talk of unity is just that: talk.

Rev. Tom Letchworth
Marion UMC

This letter was abbreviated because of space constraints in the print edition of the Arkansas United Methodist. To read the original letter, or correspond with the Rev. Letchworth, visit http://marionmethodistchurch.com/ministries/pastor-page