(By Walter Fenton, Good News). A congregation in Wichita, Kansas, that averages 350 in worship has voted to leave The United Methodist Church. As a satellite campus of Asbury UM Church, the congregation announced its decision on Sunday, March 19.
“Some pastors and people are weary of all the defiance and unaccountability in the denomination,” said the Rev. Rick Just, senior pastor of Asbury UM Church. “While we at the central campus are praying and waiting for the Commission on a Way Forward to provide leadership and guidance during this unsettling time, Pastor Aaron Wallace, the leadership team, and the congregation at our west campus reached the conclusion that the ongoing battles in the denomination are a distraction from the kind of kingdom work they want to do.”
Asbury UM Church planted its west campus site 10 years ago in an effort to reach unchurched people and younger families on Wichita’s growing west side. The satellite congregation grew quickly and attracted its target audience. The west campus is filled with people in their 30s and 40s, and boasts thriving programs for children and youth. The central campus also remains one of the healthiest and most evangelistic churches in the Great Plains Annual Conference.
“We are sad about their departure,” said Just, “but church leaders have been going their separate ways to do ministry since Peter and Paul took different paths. Asbury is proud of what we accomplished with our west campus. We’re not bitter about the situation, and we foresee partnership opportunities with Pastor Wallace and his congregation as we all work to make disciples of Jesus Christ.”
In a media statement shared with Good News, Wallace acknowledged his “struggle with some of the conflict that has been occurring in the life of the denomination.”