Oct 26, 2023

Dear United Methodists of Eastern Pennsylvania,

Last week, the judge ruled in favor of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference regarding a request by 11 of our churches for an injunction. These churches sought to disaffiliate without adhering to the process outlined by The Book of Discipline, Judicial Council rulings, and the Conference-approved procedures. We are grateful that the court acknowledged our polity and the EPA’s procedures.

The 11 churches are among 50 congregations that have pursued legal action against us with the intent to leave the denomination with their property, bypassing the standard process, avoiding the necessary payments, and disregarding the Trust Clause. We anticipate this case will be heard in 2024.

The 50 congregations, like all our congregations, are important to us and the mission of The United Methodist Church. I’ve had the privilege of meeting many of their leaders, who are indeed faithful Christians. I ask you to pray for them and all our congregations. Within the EPA, we embrace a diversity of theology, beliefs, culture, race, and context. Despite our differences, we’ve dedicated ourselves to serving Christ through mission and ministry, both in our communities and around the world. The cabinet and leadership of EPA pledge to work with and assist all our congregations, recognizing differences and seeking to honor each congregation.

In the past two years, there have been misconceptions about The United Methodist Church and its leaders, including those within the EPA. There have also been misrepresentations about the 50 churches. Such narratives are often crafted to create divisions and push more members to consider departure. I implore all of us to emulate Christ Jesus and heed John Wesley’s charge for Methodists: do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God.

Below is the judge’s ruling. We’ve chosen to delete the names of the involved churches, as our intention is not to isolate or single out any congregation. They remain part of our family. Though we may have differences, we are all integral members of the same body of Christ.

Click here to read the Court Ruling

Keep the faith!

Bishop John Schol
The United Methodists of
Eastern Pennsylvania & Greater New Jersey
BishopJohnSchol@epaumc.church | 484-474-0939
BishopJohnSchol@gnjumc.org | 732-359-1010

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