Recently the Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA), an organization forming a new denomination to break away from the United Methodist Church, communicated that “Bishop John Schol without consultation” informed a pastor of a move and “such actions…are provocative and disruptive, and are targeted at pastors and churches who are theologically conservative.”
Good News, a group that has supported the Wesleyan Covenant Association also communicated that Bishop Schol removed the appointment of a senior pastor without the consultation required by The Book of Discipline.
These accusations are false. I and the superintendent have worked with the pastor for over four years to address specific issues. Regretfully, a complaint was filed against the pastor by the superintendent when some of the issues persisted, and the pastor refused to accept an appointment on two different occasions. In an effort to resolve the complaint, including steps that could be taken for the pastor to stay at the church failed, the pastor suddenly and surprisingly turned in his orders. The cabinet and I follow The Book of Discipline when making appointments, including consultation as outlined in our protocols listed on the GNJ webpage. In my career as a bishop, I have never moved a clergy person because of a difference in theology or because they sought to leave The United Methodist Church. We work with all of our clergy and congregations to make appointments to further the mission of the church. I have pledged to lead and seek to unify a theologically, culturally and racially diverse church. My ministry and leadership have been enriched through the diversity of ideas and theology, and I pledge to support all of our congregations and clergy to the best of my ability and our church’s polity in making appointments.