On Monday April 15, 2019, church leaders from St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Port Republic notified Bishop John Schol and Superintendent Brian Roberts that 98% of the congregation want to leave The United Methodist Church. Two weeks earlier, Pastor Frank Brown, who was has been appointed to St. Paul’s in Port Republic since 2011, was notified by the chairperson of the Cape Atlantic District Committee on Ordained Ministry that his local pastor’s license was not renewed. Local pastors are approved for a license by district committees in each of the nine districts of GNJ. Local pastors meet with the district committee at least yearly and update on their progress, education and addressing any issues. Pastor Brown who has been serving St. Paul’s since 2011 has meet several times with the committee over the last year and his license was not renewed by a vote of the committee at its last meeting.
As has been reported in the Digest and Relay, St. Paul’s former music director, Brian McSee was convicted of molesting a young person over a three year period of time. McSee lived in the lower level of the parsonage. The congregation, the pastor and the pastor’s wife, each have a law suit filed against them by the family. Bishop Schol calls all United Methodists to pray for the young person, the family and everyone else involved.
“When a congregation decides to leave, we all feel a deep sense of loss,” said Schol, “Our goal is to continue to work with the congregation to heal the division and maintain the connection.”