Dear members of THE WALK family,
In a recent Lenten devotion from Rev. Bev Coppley, our district superintendent, we were reminded of this verse:
“So, let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.” -Galatians 6:9
It seems we’ve been in transition for quite some time here at THE WALK and in all transparency, there have been times I wanted to just give up. Most recently, we’ve been betwixt. Now there is a word for you. It is sort of like being in the space between two things. You can’t stay too long in that state of betwixt, because if you do, something or someone is going to make decisions for you. Think of water for a moment. I call it liquid life. If water gets in a place of betwixt, not moving in either direction, soon it becomes stagnant and loses its divine purpose of being a catalyst for bringing life.
So, I am writing you today to share that THE WALK’s leadership team has made a decision to move forward, to not grow weary in doing what is right, to look ahead to what will be reaped, to not give up and most of all – get out of this place of being in betwixt.
What exactly does that mean?
We have given notice to the district leadership that we are going to close as a United Methodist Church congregation.
Why are we closing as a UMC church?
1. We are a reconciling congregation because we want to engage in authentic Christian community, where everyone is welcome at God's table. This is who we are and we can’t compromise that calling. At one time we had seen some hope of progress in the UMC, but the most recent action taken at the General Conference is a huge set back and in direct contrast to our call. We are grateful to our local UMC conference and their support over the years, but our hearts will not let us continue under this denominational covering.
2. We have had a decline in attendance which impacts giving and our ability to meet the significant financial obligations here. We have signed a contract to list the property for sale, but the reality is we are not in a financial position to continue paying all the bills until the property sells.
So, what’s next?
The exciting news is that there is a core group of people that would like to continue as a community of faith, living out the vision and mission of THE WALK.
We don’t have all those answers yet, but the core group of those wanting to remain in community will be meeting soon to have more conversation about next steps. If you want to be part of that conversation, please let me know. It sounds cliché to say that when one door closes, another opens, but I do believe as I always have – God is up to something and that God can do exceeding and abundantly above all that we can ask or think. That something may not be what we thought. Maybe when God can get us to the end of what we think, the door of possibility opens wide, so I say swing wide door!
Just to remind you of the opening of this letter from Galatians 6:9, “So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.”
I am not giving up. I am committed to living intentionally and loving radically. Thank God, I am no longer betwixt. We are moving forward. How about you? Guilford and Alamance County still needs a safe space where all people of all races, ages, genders, gender identities, national origins, sexual orientations, faith traditions, financial means, education, marital statuses, family make up, and mental and physical abilities are encouraged to join in and be a part of the work God is doing! We don’t know where exactly or what exactly that will look like, but we are not giving up hope.
What do I do while we discern together our next steps?
Please keep attending and engaging in the conversations about the future work. We appreciate everyone who has participated in the discernment process we have been engaged in so far. It is also important that you keep giving as you’ve been doing until we announce other plans. We need those funds to support continuing to worship together here in the current facility. We don’t have an official UMC closing date but we know it would not extend past June and it could be even sooner. For now, we’ll continue as is, meeting here at the current facility until the official closing.
I hope you will join me and others in continuing to be a living expression of the love extended through Christ, as together we strive to be an authentic Christian community — loving God and loving neighbor.
More to come!
In Christ’s loving service,