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Three paths

The 2019 Special General Conference of the United Methodist Church highlighted the depth of the irreconcilable differences present in our Church.Rather than continue the quarrel over homosexuality at the 2020 General Conference, a group of Progressives, Centrists and Traditionalists developed proposals for a pathway to an amicable, respectful separation in the United Methodist Church.

We envision a new future for the people of the United Methodist Church to avoid further harm to one another and to those with whom we seek to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

We envision an amicable separation which would provide a pathway to new denominations of the Methodist Movement so we can all make new disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. If these proposals are accepted at the 2020 General Conference we pray that we could all bless each other as we continue our Christian journeys along different organizational pathways. We hope we can release each other to joyful obedience to Christ’s call on our lives.

Contributor Biographies

Rev. Keith Boyette

Rev. Keith Boyette is the president of the Wesleyan Covenant Association. He is an ordained elder in the Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church. Previously he was the founding pastor of Wilderness Community United Methodist Church (Spotsylvania, Va.) where he served as pastor for 19 years. From 2000 to 2008, he was one of nine members of the Judicial Council of The United Methodist Church (the denomination’s supreme court). He and his wife, Pamela, have three children and four grandchildren.

Rev. Darren Cushman Wood

Rev. Darren Cushman Wood is the Senior Pastor of North United Methodist Church in Indianapolis. A delegate to the 2004 and 2008 General Conferences and the 2000 and 2016 NCJ, Cushman Wood has served urban and rural churches as an instructor in the course of study, a Community of Shalom conference coordinator, and an associate district superintendent. He is an adjunct professor of labor studies at Indiana University. He blogs at newmethodism.wordpress.com. He is a graduate of Union Theological Seminary (New York) where he met his wife Ginny and they have three adult children.

Rev. Dr. Douglas Damron

Rev. Dr. Douglas Damron is a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary and United Theological Seminary. He serves as Senior Pastor of Epworth United Methodist Toledo, Ohio. Douglas has served as the Chair of the West Ohio Conference Board of Ordained Ministry and currently chairs the conference’s Transformative Discipleship Team (Council on Ministries). He served as a delegate to the 2016 and 2019 General Conferences. He enjoys spending time with his sons and is an avid Cleveland sports fan.

Lynette Fields

Lynette Fields is a graduate of University of Evansville (BA in theology) and University of Michigan (MSW). She has been an active lay person serving as a General Conference delegate (1996, 2000, and 2004); on the General Commission on Religion and Race (1996-2000), and on various Conference committees and task forces. She served as a young adult missionary in Miami and became a reconciling UM in 1996. She is currently Executive Director of Community Transformation at St. Luke’s UMC in Orlando. She and her teenage son, Jonathan, like to travel, camp, and play games.

Rev. Dr. Cathy Johns

Rev. Dr. Cathy Johns, serves as senior pastor at Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband, Rev. Doug Johns. She is a graduate of United Theological Seminary, Chicago Theological Seminary, and the Academy of Spiritual Formation. She served as a national trainer for Disciple Bible Study and was a reserve delegate to Jurisdiction Conference in 2016. She enjoys spending time with family and training dogs.

Krystl D. Johnson

Krystl D. Johnson is a counselor in the Philadelphia area. She is a Rutgers University (B.A.) and Cairn University (M.S.) graduate and a Doctor of Theology candidate at Evangelical Seminary in Myerstown, PA. Krystl has been a delegate to GC2016 and GC2019, and is a delegate to GC2020. She serves as Executive Director to the Delaware County Pregnancy Center, a board member to GBHEM, the Co-coordinator for BMCR’s Philadelphia Caucus, and the Young People’s Coordinator for NEJ-BMCR. Although she enjoys painting, cooking, and writing, her new favorite activity is planning her June 2020 wedding with her future husband, Damian Gauld.

Rev. Thomas Lambrecht

Rev. Thomas Lambrecht is an ordained elder in the Wisconsin annual conference. After serving 29 years there in pastoral ministry, he became the Vice President and General Manager of Good News in 2011. Tom has worked with the Good News legislative team at eight General Conferences, the last four as coordinator of the Renewal and Reform Coalition. Tom has submitted numerous briefs to the Judicial Council and participated in oral arguments before the Council. Tom and his wife Mary have three married daughters and five grandchildren.

Dr. Kent Millard

Dr. Kent Millard is President of United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, one of the 13 United Methodist Seminaries in the United States. Prior to becoming President at United, Dr. Millard was Senior Pastor at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Indianapolis for 18 years. He and his wife Cheri have four children, nine grandchildren and one great grandson.

Cara Nicklas

Cara Nicklas is a practicing attorney in the Oklahoma City area. Cara has been a reserve delegate to GC2012, a delegate to GC2016 and GC2019, and is a delegate to GC2020. She serves as a board member to GBCS and the Oklahoma United Methodist Foundation. Cara and her husband, Tim, are members of Church of the Servant UMC. They enjoy spending time with their two sons and daughter-in-law.

Rev. Dr. Chris Ritter

Rev. Dr. Chris Ritter is the Directing Pastor of First United Methodist Church in Geneseo, IL. A delegate to the 2016 and 2019 General Conferences of the UMC, Ritter has been an active solution-seeker since 2014. He is a member of the Global Council of the Wesleyan Covenant Association and blogs frequently on United Methodist issues at PeopleNeedJesus.org. He and his wife, Becky, have four adult children.

Rev. Dr. John E. Stephens

The Rev. Dr. John E. Stephens is Senior Pastor of Chapelwood United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas and an Elder in the Texas Conference. Prior to moving to Houston in 2014, he served 20+ years in the South Georgia Conference. John will serve as an alternate to General Conference 2020 and a delegate to the South Central Jurisdictional Conference. He is a member of the Core Leadership Team (CLT) of the Texas Conference and participates in the Texas Methodist Foundation’s cohort of Large Church Pastors in Texas. John received his M.Div. from Candler School of Theology, Emory University and his D.Min. from Columbia Theological Seminary. He is married to Stephanie and has two daughters – one who works in ministry and the other who is a freshman at The University of Oklahoma.

Rev. Judy Zabel

Rev. Judy Zabel is Senior Pastor of Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church in Minneapolis, a reconciling congregation since 1993. She was a general conference delegate in 2008, 2012, 2016 and 2019. Prior to her appointment to Hennepin Avenue UMC, she served as the Twin Cities District Superintendent. She serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary. She and her husband have supported mission in the Sierra Leone and Liberian conferences through OCMinistries, a UMC ministry based in MN for over 25 years.