The 141st meeting of The Wesleyan Church General Board was held virtually on November 17, 2020, led by Chair General Superintendent Dr. Wayne Schmidt. Vice-Chair H C Wilson opened the meeting by reading 1 Chronicles 12:32 and praying on behalf of the Board:
Father dear, we are truly thankful for your blessings that every one of us on this call benefit from and enjoy each and every day. Help us to grasp again the advantages we enjoy that much of the world must do without simply because of where we were born — the accident of birth.
Like the wise leaders of Issachar long ago, we find ourselves in very unique times — times of a raging pandemic, restrictive governmental regulations, cultural confusion, deep political division, moral ambivalence, flaming rhetoric, questions around human sexuality issues and a need for understanding the times that is more acute than any earlier time in our lifetimes.
Father dear, I ask that you will grant us a balance of wisdom and courage in our deliberations and decisions this week and beyond. Experience has taught us that wisdom without courage leads to much discussion but little or no action while courage without wisdom often leads to ill-considered and sometimes reckless action. Please grant us this week temporary membership in the tribe of Issachar, that we may understand and know what to do.
Please let your hand rest on our Chair as he guides us, and may your face look upon this board with favor as we strive to honor you in our deliberations and decisions giving evidence of our temporary tribal home with Issachar.
With all the options before us, some more obvious than others, may we be wisely courageous is my prayer.
In the strong name of the Lord Christ,
The General Superintendent State of the Church address followed during which Schmidt discussed crisis tendencies, grieved the challenges experienced by the Wesleyan family in 2020 and celebrated their faithfulness throughout the past year. He concluded his report reminding the Board that, “Christ will build his church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.”
One of the first official actions of the General Board, made at the recommendation of the Executive Board, was to postpone General Conference until 2022.
The decision was prompted by concerns regarding ongoing COVID-19 travel restrictions and associated hardships impacting the ability of The Wesleyan Church to successfully gather in St. Louis June of 2021.
“The first priority of the General Board is to care for our church, which is our people,” Schmidt said. “There was honest and deliberate discussion addressing the pending church business that has already been delayed for one year and the changing pandemic restrictions that appeared highly probable in preventing an effective onsite gathering next summer. I am grateful for the way the General Board wrestled with this important decision.”
CEO of Wesleyan Investment Foundation (WIF) Craig Dunn, at the conclusion of his board report, also acknowledged COVID-19’s impact on The Wesleyan Church. He then announced a million-dollar grant awarded to the General Church by the WIF Board in appreciation for its missional persistence and financial stewardship.
“WIF and TWC are strong partners, sharing a long-time unity in purpose and mutual respect,” said Schmidt. “Reflecting on our collective prayers for God to unleash The Wesleyan Church as a Kingdom Force, I think of this Kingdom-focused partnership that has for years equipped and encouraged local churches to reach the lost through reflecting the love of Christ.
“I had not anticipated another General Conference postponement and certainly not WIF’s generous gift that enables our Church to better navigate this unpredictable pandemic season,” he added. “I praise God for the gift of the Holy Spirit and how I see it working through our General Board and Church. I thank God for Wesleyan sisters and brothers who are obedient, persistent and courageous.”
The spring General Board meeting is scheduled for May 2021. Details are pending for the rescheduled General Conference.