January 9, 2023: (Little Rock, AR) After the November 2022 Special Called Session of the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church did not ratify the request to disaffiliate from Cabot United Methodist Church, and after the senior pastor and a part of their membership chose to withdraw from the United Methodist Church to begin a new community of faith, those hoping to remain United Methodists faced many challenges, including a large amount of debt on the building.
Dr. Michael Roberts, the Director of ReStart Initiative, recounted, “With the help of a few key leaders within the church, and Steve Wilson, serving as a local associate pastor, we called a meeting to assess the desire to restart a United Methodist congregation. We were not really sure what to expect and were overjoyed as the room filled up with people who told stories of their love for the church and their desire to continue its mission and ministry in the community. We were all inspired.”
At the end of this meeting, District Superintendent Rev. Dr. Ulysses Washington, called a Charge Conference for January 3to elect new leadership by the church members. Dr. Roberts then announced that a gift was given to the Conference on behalf of the congregation to pay off the debt and help with expenses for a new pastor to be appointed. This announcement was met with applause, hugs, praise, and tears of joy.
“I was so pleased to share this good news with these faithful people who are excited about being a vital, mainline, United Methodist congregation in this community, rooted in scripture, centered in Christ, united in love, and welcoming of all,” shared Dr. Roberts, “I am so grateful for those who feel called to invest in the vision that God is giving to us as United Methodist Christians in Arkansas.”
Bishop Laura Merrill, the new Episcopal leader for Arkansas, shared, “While I have just arrived in Arkansas, I am already heartened by the faithful, forward-looking spirit of United Methodists in Arkansas. The gift the church has received for our work in Cabot is a tangible sign of hope during a difficult time, and I praise God for the giver’s generosity. I look forward to our next steps together.”
Follow Cabot United Methodist Church here: https://www.facebook.com/CabotUnitedMethodistChurch
The Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church is one of the 54 annual conferences that make up the United Methodist Church in the United States. Founded in 2003, the Conference, as part of the South Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church, is responsible for coordinating 580 United Methodist churches and over 300 clergy throughout Arkansas to fulfill its trajectory “to make disciples of Jesus Christ, who make disciples equipped and sent to transform lives, communities, and the world.” The Conference also supports a number of United Methodist-affiliated ministries in the state of Arkansas. For more information, visit arumc.org.