November, 2011. We hold a non-board meeting and are denied a charge conference.

No board had met to make decisions about the church since before April 1, 2011. We didn’t have a nominating committee meeting, didn’t have a budget, and were tired of being told decisions couldn’t be made because we were in transition. We called a meeting of the board, although we were told by Pastor Lillian that it was out of order. Thirty people attended. Among other business, we unanimously passed a resolution against an appointed board, nominated officers, and prepared as best we could without pastoral support for the upcoming charge conference.

Two days later we received an email from Bishop Willimon stating that our votes at the board meeting had no meaning, and that Church of the Reconciler would not be included in the mass charge conference being held the next day. In fact, Church of the Reconciler would have no charge conference at all. We had been designated a mission church and no longer had any say in the running of our church.

We were later told that a celebration of Church of the Reconciler was held at the mass charge conference, but while our ministry was held up as an example of mission and ministry, those of us who had built that ministry were being removed from office and denied a voice in our own church.





Sunday, October 23, 2011. We are notified about our new pastor.

Three weeks after the public announcement at Highlands, Reconciler was finally notified during worship that we would receive Emily Freeman Penfield as our new senior pastor in January.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011. We seek justice.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011. Twenty-nine members and active friends of the church filed a complaint against Bishop Willimon with Bishop Alfred Gwinn of the Southeastern Jurisdiction. We asked for an investigation into the effort to remove the church leadership and the complete lack of consultation and engagement with our members.

Grief and loss statement w_ signatures


Sunday, October 5, 2011. Another new pastor for Reconciler. Still no consultation.

Sunday, October 5, 2011. It was announced during worship at Highlands UMC that their associate pastor, Emily Freeman Penfield would be leaving at the end of the year to become senior pastor at Church of the Reconciler. There had been no consultation with Church of the Reconciler about this appointment, and no announcement was made at Reconciler. We only found out when people began to call us to ask us what we thought of the appointment. In fact, Lillian Eddleman, who had been appointed associate pastor in June and became the only pastor in August, did not know that a new senior pastor was being appointed before the public announcement was made at Highlands.