Historic gathering of denominational leaders

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An historic meeting of 18 top leaders of denominations committed to a common emphasis on holiness in the 21st century met as part of the Wesleyan Holiness Consortium (WHC) at the Central Offices of the Foursquare Church Jan. 13. Welcomed by president Glenn Burris, These leaders represent 13 denominations whose roots are common in the Wesleyan Holiness movement. Commissioner William Roberts, national commander, and Commissioner Jim Knaggs, Western territorial commander, represented The Salvation Army.

The WHC was formed in 2006 at a meeting of these leaders in Dallas.  Since then, the WHC has expanded in influence involving regional leaders and thousands of pastors from these denominations across the United States and in South America. The denominations represented at this meeting included: Assemblies of God, Brethren in Christ, Church of God/Anderson, Evangelical, Foursquare, Free Methodist, Grace Communion International, Nazarene, Pentecostal Holiness, The Salvation Army, United Methodist, United Pentecostal, Wesleyan.

The work of the WHC represents the first time in a century that the Pentecostal and traditional streams of the Holiness movement have come together in unity around a common future mission. Vinson Synan, renowned church historian at Regent University from the International Pentecostal Holiness Church, reported on the meeting with enthusiasm, “This is an historic day. The divisions of a hundred years ago were laid aside today in a wonderful spirit of unity.”

J.K. Warrick, General Superintendent of the Church of the Nazarene, reflected: “This meeting would never have been possible 15 years ago.” Pastor Jack Hayford, co-host and former President of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, expressed a personal sense that this indeed may be a “prophetic path increasing partnership toward reaching the world.”

Kevin Mannoia, Chair of the WHC, depicted the unity of churches through the WHC as “a rising tributary that fuels the river of God in the world. These families of churches have a common heritage. That heritage is the source of unity and passion for the future with a renewed emphasis on holiness in the 21st century.” Reminiscent of Ezekiel 47, in opening remarks he painted a picture of the river of God flowing through the world bringing life wherever it goes. “That is the transformational impact of God’s holiness in the world. And the WHC re-weaves the Pentecostal and traditional holiness churches together in heart and mission.”

Significant outcomes of the meeting included a commitment to expand the WHC efforts in regional networks as well as publications through the newly formed Aldersgate Press. Currently the WHC facilitates regional networks that conduct Holiness Pastors’ Days in five cities in the U.S., and four cities in South America. Additionally the WHC Presidents’ Network meets annually convening the presidents of universities and colleges seeking to integrate the impact of this message and theological distinctive on their leadership, educational approach, and identity. The WHC also provides a context and support for the Wesleyan Holiness Women Clergy (WHWC), which is affiliated with the WHC.

For information about the Wesleyan Holiness Consortium or any of its networks, visit holinessandunity.org.

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