Why a regional chapter of the Wesleyan Covenant Association?Daniel G. Topalski
Everyone knows that most members of the United Methodist Church in Eastern Europe share the traditional understanding of human sexuality, marriage, and ordination standards. It is difficult to deny that most of those members could not imagine the possibility to belong to a Church, which will not hold unity on all these issues. It is tempting for some Church leaders and even theologians to explain all that as a contextual problem. The Eastern European Methodists think that way because they live in very traditional societies. They are on a different page of their cultural development; the culture of shame defines their behavior. There are no other serious arguments against the liberalization of sexual ethics of our Church.
As an Eastern European myself, I can’t accept my position to be dismissed so easily. I don’t want to see my beliefs simplified, marginalized, or misrepresented by the Church leadership. That is why I have joined other Eastern European Methodists who are convinced that their understanding of Christian sexual ethics is not defined only by their cultural context. Therefore, they can’t dismiss the problems of same-sex marriage and the ordination of practicing homosexual persons as secondary and not important. For them, it is a matter of faithfulness to the Word of God and the tradition of the Christian Church. They cannot imagine that the leadership will apply different standards to different parts of the connexion, and we will still be one Church.
It was natural for us to turn our attention to the Wesleyan Covenant Association. Their clear statements and intentions for the future traditional worldwide Methodist denomination have won our hearts and minds. Therefore, we decided to join this preparation process as soon as possible, offering our Eastern European perspective. But, on the other hand, we felt that the Eastern European Methodists deserve to receive adequate and up-to-date information about the structure and teachings of the future traditional Methodist Church. The next step was to set up a regional chapter of the Wesleyan Covenant Association with these specific goals in mind. If you need more information, do not hesitate to contact us. We are ready to help and to be in conversation with everyone.
Photo: Stoyan Stalev