Yesterday, Charisma News ran an article from an anonymous source overturning what we’ve all said about the Wesleyan Covenant Association. I’ve maintained that the WCA is not going to promote or cause schism. The anonymous (for now) source “revealed” some “inside” information that in fact, the WCA was the start of a new denomination. It isn’t.
There is something about journalistic ethics and procedures not being followed that chaps my hide, but Jessilyn Justice (the assistant news editor) seems to not have followed these rules. Rather than any factual presentation of the data (beyond pointing to official statements on the Website, there isn’t much), or turning to someone who could speak about the WCA, Justice turned to this anonymous source which said, in part,
“The Western Jurisdiction has presented the rest of The UMC with a fait accompli. If it stands, then those are now the new rules—assuming there are any rules,” a source close to the situation tells Charisma News.
“If it is not to stand, then somebody is going to have to enforce the rules upon the Western Jurisdiction—by removing Bishop Oliveto, or withholding monetary support, or going to court. And if the WJ decides to break connection and leave, forming its own church? The structure is already in place to do so, only the legal battles remain to be fought over. Regardless of the particular issue Oliveto incarnates, the larger issue is whether any group can continue together unless all the members are willing to abide by the same rules,” the source continued.
That is is taken directly from the Charisma News website and presented a conversation between journalist and anonymous source.
This isn’t a conversation between source and reporter, but lifted directly from a personal, pastoral, blog:
The Western Jurisdiction has presented the rest of The UMC with a fait accompli. If it stands, then those are now the new rules — assuming there are any rules. If it is not to stand, then somebody is going to have to enforce the rules upon the Western Jurisdiction — by removing Bishop Oliveto, or withholding monetary support, or going to court. And if the WJ decides to break connection and leave, forming its own Church? The structure is already in place to do so, only the legal battles remain to be fought over. Regardless of the particular issue Oliveto incarnates, the larger issue is whether any group can continue together unless all the members are willing to abide by the same rules.
You can compare other quotes shared between the two sites on your own. This is not a “source,” any more than quoting a website is. I’m not going to speculate on who reached out to whom first, but everyone should realize what is happening by now. I think most people know my respect, admiration, and love for the journalistic field, so something like disappoints me.
The only bit I cannot find on the personal blog is,
Right now, the Wesleyan Covenant Association is a group working within Methodism. But it will soon be the formation of another denomination.
The current president of the Council of Bishops in the Methodist Church recently made a statement that infuriated evangelicals. He said the rumors of schism have to do with the election of an openly gay bishop AND the formation of the Wesleyan Covenant Association. So he’s trying to blame evangelicals for the problems in the UMC?
Right now the Wesleyan Covenant Association has not talked about the formation of a United Methodist church outside of the present one. But everyone knows that’s what it is.
They always try to blame evangelicals for division when all we are doing is standing on the Word.
Nothing on the WCA website says that first part, but rather does say the exact opposite. Every leader I have spoken with directly says the exactly opposite of Collin/The Source’s schismatic assertion. Further, there is nothing in Collins’ original article, or any public presence of his, connected to the Wesleyan Covenant Association. The unsourced quote, then, is one solicited from someone with no direct connection to the WCA but speaking on behalf of the WCA. This is not journalism. It is nothing more than a forced story badly enough formatted to cause the casual observer to realize that something is amiss.
Yet this “source” now says something different, and rather than the myriad of official statements, this person will now be quoted. Across the United Methodist forums, this story was circulated as absolute truth, and will be used later for that purpose.
Friends, whether or you are progressive or evangelical or neither, stop believing in poorly researched “news.” The progressives accuse Fox and other conservative outlets of this all the time but let them have one article that supports their view and… well… this is why we can’t have nice things.
I don’t speak for the WCA nor do I need to merit favor with those who do. I still maintain that there is still a way through this mess without losing The United Methodist Church and I believe the WCA will provide the renewal needed for such a venture. Further, I believe that the WCA is not the “formation of a new denomination.” I cannot, at this time, participate in such a thing and I have maintained that the WCA is directly opposed to that. And that’s why….
I’ll see you in Chicago.
Art Collins has responded. Please read what he has to say and then get a picture of what happened. Given that someone malicious and intentionally lifted Art’s words, using it as their own, only to then add a completely untrue statement, this points to a very dishonest attempt at harming the WCA.