Dear Friends of the Allegheny West Conference,
Greetings in the name of Jesus—who has called us to BE SALT AND LIGHT in this time and place!
It’s hard to believe, but it’s already been a little more than two months since we launched the Allegheny West Provisional Annual Conference. We started with a little more than 50 churches. As I write, hundreds of churches are at various stages of disaffiliation from the United Methodist Conferences (UMC) that are in the region of the Allegheny West Provisional Annual Conference (East Ohio, West Ohio, and Western Pennsylvania). By the end of August, after those Annual Conferences have each met, over 750 churches will have disaffiliated from the UMC. We believe 400-450 of those congregations will become part of Allegheny West by September 1.
I’m encouraged by all our new denomination, the Global Methodist Church (GMC), has accomplished in its first year. We’ve welcomed more than 2400 congregations and 2800 clergy in the United States. We anticipate those numbers to grow to over 70% of the 5300 churches that have disaffiliated in the US to date. At least 11 operating provisional annual conferences have launched—and at least 15 Transitional Conference Advisory Teams are getting ready to launch provisional conferences in the United States and abroad in the near future. The future is bright.
As I’ve shared before, our goal has never been disaffiliation. Our goal has never been affiliation. The GMC is about much more than changing the name on the front of our buildings. Our goal is to move forward as a movement of like-minded, warm-hearted, Spirit-filled, Jesus-loving, evangelical, orthodox Wesleyan Christians committed to offering the whole Gospel to the whole world. I recently shared a glimpse of what we are all about that you can watch here.
We’re coming together to build a global denomination dedicated to our vision to join God in a journey of bringing new life, reconciliation, and the presence of Christ to all people, and to helping each person reflect the character of Christ.
We’re coming together here in Allegheny West, too. You may remember that in a previous article I encouraged you to save the dates for our convening Annual Conference which will be held on October 13 and 14 in Reynoldsburg, Ohio. We’ve since announced that a clergy session will be held on October 12 at Reynoldsburg. Please add that date. I anticipate a powerful time of healing, inspiration, vision-casting, and celebration of our hopeful and fruitful future.
The Convening Conference of the Allegheny West Conference promises to be historic. Our theme for the Conference is “Becoming One” and is an important reminder of who we are and Whose we are as we cast a clear and compelling vision for our future, lift up the values upon which we are building our movement, and celebrate the ordination of up to 150 clergy as Deacons and/or Elders. I don’t remember ever before reading or hearing of an ordination celebration of such size.
I recently preached a sermon based on the text at the top of this article and the 19th of Wesley’s Forty-Four Standard Sermons (The Sermon on the Mount—Discourse #4). I was reminded we’re called to live a distinctive life of holiness—sanctification—which reflects a heart that’s been renewed in God’s image and will be seen in our lives. We’re called to be salt (meaning we are to preserve and add flavor to the Christian life) and light (meaning we bring light into a dark and fallen world). BE SALT AND LIGHT!
I’m blessed and honored to share this journey with you!
Jeffrey E. Greenway