United Methodist Action
The United Methodist Committee of the Institute on Religion & Democracy
1110 Vermont Avenue NW • Suite 1180 • Washington, DC  20005
Phone: 202-969-8430 • Fax: 202-969-8429
Web Site: www.ird-renew.org • E-Mail: mtooley@ird-renew.org

November 5, 1999

Dear United Methodist Friend:

In just six months 996 United Methodist delegates from around the world will meet in our denomination's General Conference to decide the direction of our Church for the next four years. Their decisions will affect you and your Local Church!

Their decisions will hasten the death of our declining Church—or help it become again an alive, growing, evangelical Church that would warm John Wesley's heart. Their decisions will help return our Church to faithfulness, honoring Jesus Christ as Son of God, Savior, and Lord—or allow it to sink deeper into the swamp of unfaithfulness and partisan politics.

Specifically, the General Conference in May 2000 at Cleveland, Ohio, will decide:

• Will The United Methodist Church stand firmly for Christian sexual morality—or will we cave in and let our ministers conduct homosexual "weddings"'?

• Will our Church give top priority to Jesus Christ and His Great Commission? Or will our mission board continue to have more New York headquarters employees than full-time missionaries overseas?

• Will our Church continue pouring your dollars into a $4 million lobby office in Washington, DC that promotes partisan, left-wing politics in the name of United Methodism?

• Will we require our United Methodist seminaries to teach Christian doctrine and affirm the Bible as God's Word—or let them continue undermining their students Christian faith?

• Will the Sunday School materials sent to your Local Church be faithful to traditional Christian beliefs or promote other philosophies (New Age, goddess worship, etc.)?

• Will we hold Church bureaucrats accountable? Will we allow our Local Churches to decide whether (and how much) to give to each national Church board and program?

First, let us share with you where UMAction stands. We believe Church agencies and of finials must be accountable to The United Methodist Church's historic beliefs and accountable to our Church's members!

UMAction is asking the General Conference to require accountability of the Church bureaucracy, to eliminate unnecessary Church agencies, and once again to focus on the needs of the Local Church.

And we need your help. Too many United Methodists are completely unaware of what has gone wrong within United Methodism beyond the Local Church. There cannot be Church reform without more informed members.

UMAction will give the facts to General Conference delegates. We will also bring the truth to hundreds of thousands of United Methodist laity before the General Conference!

Will you join with us to spread the word that The United Methodist Church desperately needs reform, our problems are serious, but there is great hope that United Methodism can be reformed and reverse its 30-year membership decline?

Did you know The United Methodist Church has lost almost 2 1/2 million members in 30 years—a net loss of nearly one-fourth of our total membership?!! While our denomination declines, many faithful Christian denominations are growing.

UMAction believes this General Conference should resolve not only to regain those 2 1/2 million lost members, but to add at least another 2 1/2 million members in the coming years.

Over 100 million Americans have no Church affiliation. We call for The United Methodist Church to target winning at least 5 percent of them to Jesus Christ.

But our resolve to reverse the decline must go beyond words. A Church that is not faithful to the Bible, not faithful to its own creeds, and not faithful to the Lordship of Jesus Christ cannot be a growing, dynamic Church.

A growing United Methodist Church must be Christ-centered, Scripture-based, and Holy Spirit-directed!

Perhaps you agree with us so far but are wondering: Who is UMAction?

We are both lifelong United Methodists. David Stanley, Chairman of UMAction, is a retired attorney and businessman who has taught Sunday school for 40 years in Wesley United Methodist Church, Muscatine, Iowa. He has represented his Local Church in the Iowa Annual Conference for 25 years. He led the Iowa Delegation at the 1992 General Conference.

UMAction Executive Director Mark Tooley works full-time for UMAction, based in Washington, DC. He attends and reports on United Methodist agency meetings around the country, to inform members who would not otherwise know what is happening. He is an active member of Pender United Methodist Church, Fairfax, Virginia, and has been a lay member ofthe Virginia Annual Conference.

The UMAction Steering Committee includes laity and clergy who share a passion for reform of The United Methodist Church. All of us are active in our Local Churches and in national efforts to reclaim our denomination for Scriptural, Wesleyan beliefs.

UMAction is part ofthe Institute on Religion and Democracy, an 18-year-old Christian organization that works for reform in the mainline Protestant denominations—United Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, etc.

• Social renewal and Christian revival in America require renewal and revival in these historic denominations that have influenced our country since its founding.

• Christians should be politically involved, but the Church should not be a partisan lobby.

• The Church can best influence the nation by being the Church, by proclaiming the Gospel, by changing lives, and by equipping believers to become faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.

Do you share these beliefs? If so, we invite you to join UMAction's crusade to restore and reform this great United Methodist Church that we all love.

Here is our Action Plan:

• UMAction is sending at least 13 proposed reforms to General Conference—to require financial and theological accountability by our Church agencies, seminaries, and Bishops; reduce Church bureaucracy; and give Local Churches the right to decide where their money goes.

UMAction will contact all 996 delegates going to General Conference, giving them our specific reform proposals and our reasons why reform is so urgently needed if our Church is to have a future.

UMAction will sponsor information luncheons at the General Conference, inviting all delegates to hear our reform agenda and ask questions.

UMAction between now and General Conference in May 2000 will contact at least 200!000 United Methodist households with the vital information they need to know about the troubles that plague our Church and also the great hope of reform for our Church and how they can help win reform.

We are not na´ve about the political process at General Conference. The bureaucrats of national Church agencies will be there in force, at your expense, lobbying to preserve the status quo. They do not want reform. They want even more of your money, but no accountability.

Radical special interests, especially the homosexual lobby, will be at General Conference pushing hard for their agenda. They claim to want only "tolerance" and "inclusion." But they actually want to hijack our Church for a narrow sexual and political agenda that rejects the Bible and would ensure the eventual collapse of United Methodism.

Too many delegates at General Conference get caught up in Church politics and forget the concerns of our Local Churches. UMAction is determined that the Local Church be heard. We believe the Church bureaucracy exists to support the Local Church, not vice versa.

At General Conference we expect both some defeats and some victories. But UMAction is focused not just on what happens six months from now. We are in this fight for as long as it takes to win real reform and return our Church to Christian faithfulness.

Yes, in the coming months UMAction plans to send UMAction Briefing to at least 200,000 United Methodist homes. It publishes the facts you will not get from ''official'' Church publications. It frankly tells you about Church agencies, Bishops, and seminaries using our Church's name and your Church dollars to promote radical, partisan politics and to deny Biblical authority and the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

But UMAction will not stop at next veal's General Conference. We are working to bring UMAction Briefing to at least one million United Methodist households as quickly as possible. Reform of our Church is impossible without informing and involving the people in the pews.

UMAction believes a better-informed Church will lead to an even better General Conference in 2004 and 2008. We believe working for our Church's renewal and reform is a long-term calling, focused not on next year but on coming decades and ultimately on eternity.

What will The United Methodist Church look like 20 or 30 years from now? Will it be faithful, alive, and growing—or dying? The answer will depend on what you and we do right now! Only God can save our Church, but we can best help by serving Him through working for the Church's reform.

UMAction's ministry is based on hope. Hope in the faithfulness of most United Methodists. Hope in the future of a renewed United Methodism and its impact in coming years upon our nation. And hope that the Lord still guides our Church and will revive it for His grand and unknowable purposes.

Will you join with us in this hope?

Here's how you can help:

Share the concerns in this letter with your Local Church members. Ask them to become informed and to pray for the General Conference, in May 2000.

Contact the delegates from your Annual Conference who are going to General Conference. Ask them to uphold Scriptural beliefs, especially our Church's strong stand against homosexual "marriage." (If you need the names and addresses of your delegates, let us know.)

Send us a copy of your Church directory or member list. Mark the names of people you believe will share our convictions for reforming the Church. We'll start sending them UMAction Briefing.

Help us reach General Conference delegates and reach people in your Church with the vital facts they need. Your contribution of $25* $50* or $75 will help us pay for investigation! printing. and publishing. Every dollar you send allows us to mail UMAction Briefing to one more United Methodist household four times a year.

Contact us today for copies of the petitions (reform proposals) we are sending to General Conference. You can endorse one or all of these petitions and send them to General Conference yourself!

Our United Methodist Church needs your help. May we count on you?

With appreciation,

dstanley_sign.gif (2149 bytes) mtooley_sign.gif (2483 bytes)
David Stanley
UMAction Chairman
Mark Tooley
UMAction Executive Director
 

P.S. You might be curious where UMAction gets its funding. We receive no official Church funding. We rely entirely upon the generosity of United Methodists like you. Over 8,000 individual United Methodists are now supporting our ministry, with an average donation of $30. We obviously cannot out-spend the Church bureaucrats with their multi-million-dollar budgets. But we do believe that in our desire to restore United Methodism to traditional Wesleyan, Biblical beliefs we speak for the vast majority of Church-going United Methodists! Please send your contribution today in the enclosed reply envelope.