A call for all members of the New Mexico Conference to maintain integrity, honesty, and goodwill in the midst of disaffiliation. 

To the people of the New Mexico Conference:


The distinguishing marks of a Methodist are not his opinions of any sort. His assenting to this or that scheme of religion…We believe indeed, that all scripture is given by the inspiration of God….We believe the written word of God to be the only sufficient rule, both of Christian faith and practice…We believe Christ to be the eternal supreme God…But as to all opinions which do not strike at the root of Christianity, we think and let think. So that whatsoever they are, whether right or wrong, they are not distinguishing marks of a Methodist.

- John Wesley, the Character of a Methodist


We are proud and committed United Methodist pastors and leaders in New Mexico and West Texas. We are proud because of all the things our tradition stands for: our commitment to mission combined with our appreciation for evangelical witness, our connectional relationship and the ways it enables us to do big things together, and our deep emphasis on the grace of God, found through Jesus, the Lord.


We also embrace our theological tradition, as articulated in the Articles of Religion and Confession of Faith. At this moment in our church’s history, we particularly affirm:


  • “There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body or parts, of infinite power and goodness; the maker and preserver of all things, both visible and invisible. And in the unity of this Godhead there are three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. (Articles of Religion, Article I)
  • “We believe in Jesus Christ, truly God and truly man, in whom the divine and human natures are perfectly and inseparably united.” (Confession of Faith, Article II)
  • “Who truly suffered, was crucified, dead and buried, to reconcile His Father to us.” (Articles of Religion, Article II)
  • “Christ did truly rise again from the dead, and took again his body…wherewith he ascended into heaven.” (Articles of Religion, Article III)
  • “We believe the Holy Bible, Old and New Testaments, reveals the Word of God, so far as it is necessary for our salvation. It is to be received through the Holy Spirit as the true rule and guide for faith and practice. Whatever is not revealed in or established by the Holy Scriptures is not to be made an article of faith nor is it to be taught as essential to salvation.” (Confession of Faith, Article IV)
  • “We believe the Christian church is the community of all true believers under the Lordship of Christ…It is the redemptive fellowship in which the Word of God is preached by men [and women] divinely called, and the sacraments are duly administered according to Christ’s own appointment.” (Confession of Faith, Article V)
  • “Sacraments ordained of Christ are not only badges or tokens of Christian men’s [and women's] profession, but rather are certain signs of grace, and God’s good will toward us.” (Articles of Religion, Article XVI)

We affirm and embrace Our Theological Task, described in the Discipline, as “critical and constructive, individual and communal, contextual and incarnational, and essentially practical.”


We believe these things, we preach them, we teach them; we are proud of them.


Recently, as congregations in our denomination have begun the process of disaffiliation, we have begun hearing, repeatedly, that we don’t really believe or affirm these things. Lay-persons and congregations are being told that the United Methodist Church either doesn’t believe these things, or that we will abandon them in the near future. We as leaders in the New Mexico Annual Conference are committed to our theology. We are remaining in the UMC, not in spite of our Wesleyan tradition, but because these beliefs are integral to who we are as Christians.


While we understand that it is human nature to define one's self against something, we prefer to define ourselves by what we are for. Further, we call on all people of goodwill to do the same.


We invite, in a spirit of grace, those who are convinced that disaffiliation is the right path to proceed with integrity, articulating their own future as they discern it. In doing so, refrain from prognosticating what the future of United Methodism will entail, something which none of us know. We have been your colleagues, pastors, and friends. It is already painful for us that we will no longer work together in ministry with you. That pain is compounded when people question our commitment to our faith and tradition on the way out the door.


Let us all embrace the spirit articulated by John Wesley: “Let there be no guile found in your mouth: let your words be the genuine picture of the heart. Let there be no darkness or reservedness in your conversation, no disguise in your behavior.” (John Wesley, “Upon Our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount: Discourse Four”)


And to all who wish to remain in the United Methodist Church, we want to communicate all the reasons we are excited about the future of United Methodism in New Mexico.


We are excited:


  • Because in our conference, centrists, progressives, and traditionalists all have a voice and are working together to build a church that is rooted in tradition and innovative in its witness.
  • Because in this moment in history, we as Christians can all live as missionaries, right here in our neighborhoods and communities.
  • Because in the New Mexico Conference we are pioneering new ways of planting churches in places where we haven’t planted churches in decades.
  • Because we are led by Robert Schnase, a Bishop with a track-record of renewal and an established history of leadership rooted in our theological tradition.
  • Because in our conference, we have innovative leaders and new ideas are bubbling up.
  • Because our conference and its congregations worked together to thrive in the midst of a global pandemic and we are emerging passionate about the work of the Gospel.
  • Because in the United Methodist Church, questions and searching are celebrated as an integral part of our faith journey.
  • Because we are United Methodists and proudly so.


Signed,

Dustin Burrow, Pastor, Christ UMC, Albuquerque

Ross Whiteaker, Pastor, Central UMC, Albuquerque

Tina Cross, Pastor, First UMC, Roswell

Josh Kouri, Pastor, Mesa View UMC, Albuquerque

Amy Wilson Feltz, Pastor, Morning Star UMC, Las Cruces

Randall Partin, Pastor, St. John’s UMC, Albuquerque

Damon Stalvey, Pastor, First UMC, Portales

Joe Whitley, Pastor, Asbury UMC, Albuquerque

Kimberly Kinsey, Pastor, Western Hills UMC, El Paso

Doug Mills, Pastor, St. Mark’s UMC, El Paso

Matt Bridges, Pastor, St. John’s UMC, Santa Fe

Kelly Jackson Brooks, Pastor, Central UMC, Albuquerque

Brad Bennett, Pastor, First UMC, Liberal, KS

Greg Kennedy, Pastor, St. Paul’s UMC, Las Cruces

Barbara Tegtmeier, Pastor, Cornerstone UMC, Albuquerque

Cazandra Campos MacDonald, Pastor, St. Paul’s UMC, Socorro

Joe MacDonald, Pastor, First UMC, Belen

Scott Sharp, New Mexico Annual Conference Clergy

John W. Nash, Pastor, First UMC, Los Alamos

Todd Seelau, Pastor, X-ile Community

Koreen Guillermo, Pastor, First UMC, Deming

Jon Kuncel, Pastor, El Buen Samaritano/University Heights UMC, Albuquerque

Laird Cross, Pastor, First UMC, Roswell

Stephanie Harmon, Pastor, Retired, Carlsbad

Young Hoon Kang, Pastor, Trinity UMC, Roswell

Nema LaCuyer, Pastor, Trinity-First UMC, El Paso

Jayne Belknap, Clergy Spouse, First UMC, Liberal, KS

Raquel Mull, Pastor, Rio Rancho UMC

Melinda S. Whitley, Clergy Spouse, Asbury UMC, Albuquerque

Susan Ideus, Layperson, Christ UMC, Albuquerque

Kathy Jewell, Layperson, St. Paul’s UMC, El Paso

Beth Cole Simpson, Layperson, First UMC, Deming

D.G. Hollums, Pastor, Zia UMC, Santa Fe

Jared Secret, Pastor, Paradise Hills UMC, Albuquerque

Robert Pelfrey, Pastor, New Mexico Annual Conference

Tom Nagle, Pastor, St. Mark’s UMC, Retired

Will Steinsiek, Pastor, Bernalillo UMC

Kathleen Potter, Pastor, Ojo Amarillo UMC

Linda Sacra, Layperson, First UMC, Roswell

Don Holladay, Retired Clergy, New Mexico Annual Conference

Steve and Nancy Evans, Laypersons, St. Luke UMC, El Paso

Layloni Drake, Pastor, St. Paul’s UMC, El Paso

Russell Parchman, Retired Clergy, New Mexico Annual Conference

David Reed Wilcox, Pastor, Grace UMC, Albuquerque

Leonard Jewell, Layperson, St. Paul’s UMC, El Paso

Ellen Y. Swain, Retired Clergy, New Mexico Annual Conference

Robert Holder, Layperson, Rio Rancho UMC

Mary Elaine Williamson, Layperson, First UMC, Odessa – Comment: “After decades of service, in many churches and church settings, my husband Ed (retired pastor) and I are praying and working for the truth and mutual integrity of this process. Stay UMC.

Lisa M. Blaylock, Pastor, Covenant UMC, Albuquerque

Dave Ring, Retired Clergy, New Mexico Annual Conference

Add your name to this letter today. All laypersons and clergy in the New Mexico Annual Conference are invited to sign and share.

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