Note: An order form is at:
April 26, 2003
United Methodist Leaders Release Book Challenging Ultra-Conservatives
Right Wing Agenda Challenged in New Publication
Contact: Bishop C. Dale White, (401) 847-3419
Organizations leading an ultra-conservative effort to control and
reshape The United Methodist Church to fit their agenda are the focus
of a book released today by active United Methodist lay and clergy
leaders. United Methodism at RISK: A Wake-Up Call shares extensive
research to show who is behind the campaign to force the denomination
into a narrow political and theological framework.
The book was published by the Information Project for United
Methodists, co-chaired by Bishop C. Dale White, widely known for his
leadership on peace issues, and New York attorney and well-known
United Methodist lay leader Beth Capen. Veteran Christian journalist
Leon Howell is the author. The books close to 200 pages detail the
rise of conservative renewal groupswithin United Methodism and sister
denominations, and link their activity to right-wing activity in
"All United Methodists need to read this book to be fully informed on
the tactics, ideological bias and theological restrictions evidenced
in the life and work of the conservative renewal groups," Bishop
White said in announcing the books release. The direction they would
take our church demeans clergy and laity, he said.
"It is insulting to the professional integrity of the clergy to
dictate to them the precise theological language they must use in the
pulpit and Bible studies," Bishop White said. "And its insulting to
the laity to assume they cannot be trusted to engage in theological
reflection and define their faith according to their own perceptions
"United Methodists need to challenge the claim of these groups that
they are true stewards of Scripture and the Wesleyan tradition. A
careful reading of the New Testament and the works of John Wesley
should convince discerning church members that the narrow ideological
focus and questionable tactics of these groups violate the spirit of
the Wesleyan revival."
Longtime active United Methodist laywoman Ruth Daugherty of
Pennsylvania, a member of the board of the Information Project for
United Methodists, shares Bishop Whites concern that people have
accurate information about the conservative renewal groups and that
dialogue remain open within the denomination.
I believe people should be able to ask questions about their faith,
Ms. Daugherty said. We need to discuss what is at the heart of
Scripture, what is at the very heart of Jesus life. The United
Methodist Church has always been a place where people can openly talk
from different perspectives. We talk and pray together for
discernment of what God is saying to us through Scripture. When we
look at Jesusdisciples, we see he was very accepting of diversity.
The church should be similarly accepting, she said.
"For Christians, theres only one person who can say he is the truth,"
she said. "The rest of us are searching for the truth. None of us can
say we have it."
Ms. Daugherty and Bishop White stressed the Information Project
formed to research and publish the book. It is not to be an ongoing
"We are clergy and laity who came together out of concern forour
church," Ms. Daugherty said. "We are not advocates for a particular
position, and we are not a group representing various organizations.
We simply wanted to get information, not accusations, out to United
Methodists. We want people to read the book and raise questions."
Among conservative renewal groups named in United Methodism at RISK:
A Wake-Up Call are Good News and its Renew Women's Network, the
Institute on Religion and Democracy and its UM Action, the Mission
Society for United Methodists, the Confessing Movement, Lifewatch,
the Association for Church Renewal, A Foundation for Theological
Education, Transforming Congregations, and the Coalition for United
Methodist Accountability. The book details attacks from these groups
on United Methodist Women and the Womens Division of the United
Methodist General Board of Global Ministries, the United Methodist
General Board of Church and Society, the United Methodist Commission
on Religion and Race, and the United Methodist Commission on the
Status and Role of Women.
The book also:
*Outlines funding sources that reveal the role of secular money in
establishing and sustaining conservative renewal groups,
*Shares stories of individuals who have been targeted by the groups,
*Shows the impact of the groups on boards and agencies of the church
that are working for social justice and inclusion of all God's
*Tracks the groups' anti-woman attitudes and efforts toward silencing
women in church leadership,
*Connects the conservative agenda and activity in United Methodism to
similar activities in other denominations and beyond the church in
political and global arenas, and
*Offers action ideas to counter the concerted attacks on the
integrity of the denomination by these groups.
*Bishop White said he is involved as a leader of the Information
Project for United Methodists because he believes the very heart and
soul of United Methodism is at risk.
"All of us in this group are passionately committed to The United
Methodist Church," he said. I affirm the right of all United
Methodists to participate in shaping our church. I am not willing to
allow any group to use intimidating tactics to force United
Methodists to move lock step in line with its ideological bias. We
must stop takeover of these groups that claim to be evangelical while
making it more difficult to make and nurture disciples of Jesus
Copies of United Methodism at RISK: A Wake-Up Call can be ordered
from the Information Project for United Methodists (IPUM). Inquiries
for information may be emailed to ipum@...
Cost of the book is $5 plus $5 shipping and handling.
Copies of United Methodism at RISK: A Wake-Up Call can also be
ordered from the Methodist Federation for Social Action for $5 per
On orders of :
1 - 5 copies - $5 shipping
6 - 10 copies - $6 shipping
11 - 15 copies - $8 shipping
16 - 20 copies - $9 shipping
21 - 30 copies - $11 shipping
31 - 40 copies - $15 shipping
orders over $205 (41 or more copies) - shipping is 10% of total cost
Simply download and print out the order form and fax or mail it to:
MFSA - UM @ RISK
212 East Capitol St., NE
Washington, DC 20003
Fax: (202) 546-6811
Do you Yahoo!?
The New Yahoo! Search - Faster. Easier. Bingo.