Late Tuesday afternoon, Dr. Wayne Schmidt called the conference to read “The Statement of the General Board of the North American General Conference of The Wesleyan Church” from page 24 of the conference program, pausing to give affirmative responses to the various points contained therein. At the conclusion of the reading and verbal affirmations, Dr. Schmidt commented a song seemed in order.

Chase Stancle (ministerial delegate, The Great Lakes Region, newly-elected General Board member) spontaneously began the chorus of “Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus” as voices from all across the conference floor joined in response to the Spirit, lifting up worship and praise to God.

Video courtesy Stevan Sheets

Upon conclusion of the song, amens and expressions of praise were heard. One delegate made their way to the mic, making a motion that the General Conference affirm the statement. This affirmation passed by a resounding vote of “Amen.”

The full statement is below:

We affirm our deep commitment to our core mission of evangelizing the lost, discipling believers, equipping the Church, and ministering to society. This mission is foundational as we seek to be agents of the hope and holiness of Jesus Christ.

Unprecedented times is a term often used to accurately describe our current reality. The Covid-19 pandemic has upended many things we have taken for granted for decades. Coupled with the ever-shifting sands of our culture on the social and political issues of our time, uneasiness, and a sense of angst hover in the air.

Changes thrust on us have raised questions and perhaps even fears and apprehension as we attempt to navigate the shifting landscape. More than once we have asked, “What next?”

Our General Superintendent, General Board, General Conference, district superintendents, and the presidents and board chairs of our college and universities, have prayed, discussed, and reasoned together on these matters and unanimously approved the following statement of affirmation:

“We hereby declare that we remain deeply committed to proclaim, defend, and hold each other accountable for the historic and orthodox doctrinal positions of The Wesleyan Church as presented in our Articles of Religion, and

We hereby affirm our full and ongoing support for the official Position Papers on the social issues of our time including our commitments:

  1. To affirm that persons of all races are created equal in the image of God and are entitled to equal justice under the law.
  2. To affirm the sanctity of life and that all life is sacred from conception to death.
  3. To affirm that God’s only design for marriage is between one man and one woman.
  4. To affirm that religious freedom is a liberty essential for our pluralistic democracy.”

Loyalty has not changed. Love still thrives. Commitment remains strong. The core is solid.

While commitment to our understanding of Biblical truth is unwavering, we do understand that there are other points of view on a range of social issues. There is room for courteous dialog on these issues within the boundaries of Biblical truth.

As our leaders, we commit ourselves to pray earnestly for the power of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to rest on the ministry of The Wesleyan Church. Our deep passion is to be agents of both grace and truth in this time and place in history.

Rev. Angela Alvarado is the assistant editor of Communication and Administration of The Wesleyan Church and a graduate of Wesley Seminary, Marion, Indiana.