Tuesday, November 01, 2005

So What's Happening in Northern New England?

UNITED BAPTIST CHURCH, Concord, New Hampshire
I’ve been renewing old acquaintances via this blog; one’s with
David Doyleof United Baptist Church of Concord, New Hampshire.
I knew David when Iwas pastoring in Laconia, New Hampshire. He’s
a good pastor and an outstanding exegete. In an email, I asked him,
“So what’s the theological climate in the ABC of Vermont and New
?” Here, with his permission, is his reply.
The theological climate in VNH is lukewarm at best.  We have an
Executive Minister (Z. Allen Abbott) who is committed to bringing
us to a Welcoming and Affirming stance and is, for the most part,
a clone of Roy Medley (it's interesting - you hear or read a remark
from Medley and within three weeks Dr. Abbott is spouting the same
thing). The structure of our Region makes any change virtually
impossible unless the Executive wants it.
Basically say that nothing can come to the floor of the Annual
Meeting unless 75% of the Executive Trustees (basically all on Dr.
Abbott’s side) and each association (also by a 75% vote) want it.
There are a number of efforts to relieve Z. of his burdens! I doubt
they'll do much as he isn't really stupid
enough to do anything that will cause his firing.
The Region itself is pretty strongly conservative-overwhelming support
forthe Minister’s Council amendment, and when they took a vote of the
Region's ministers before it was 80-30 in favor of the amendment. Dr.
Abbott is being hammered on this but he's said that it's an issue he'll die for.

He is going around the Region telling ministers that they had better not be
associated with the group of renegades or they won't get placement, and
other veiled threats. So nothing new there.
One of our problems is that there always seems to be someone on the
conservative side that starts acting like a jerk and driving people away
from a cooperating association. But we are still trying.
Mostly frustrating in the denomination stuff – many have done what
UBC has done - we've pretty much withdrawn for any denominational
activity and have designated all our giving so that Valley Forge and
[the ABC/VNH office] gets nothing. That's irritated a few folks.
UBC passed two resolutions on sexuality (one I think came from your
Region) and sent a letter to both Z. and Roy – no response yet.
It's kind of funny being one of the old hands (25 years in the
watching things implode and believing that it's for
the best
. Can't wait to see what God brings out of the ashes.

I think you’ll agree that Dr. Doyle’s letter illustrates the self-protective
nature of many ABC denominational officials, as well as the gap
between the churches and those same leaders. His comment that
Dr. Abbott was willing to “die for” the W&A issue is also illuminating,
showing the depth of passion some are willing to invest in this poison pill.

Also, I should note that David has a blog, www.fightingacedia.blogspot.com.

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