July 26, 2017
Dear Members and Friends of the Desert Southwest Conference, I greet you in the name of Jesus Christ in the unity of the Holy Spirit.
It is with deep sadness that I share news of the efforts of a group of leaders of the Camp Verde United Methodist Church to seize the property and assets of the church in order to meet, worship and operate as an independent church. In the past several months since learning of their desire to leave the denomination, the Conference has made efforts to engage in respectful conversations about the dissident group’s disagreements with our Church. Unfortunately, these efforts have failed to produce a just resolution in the dispute. Negotiations have failed to lead to productive and respectful dialogue and the dissident group is claiming possession of the church and its parsonage and the assets of the Camp Verde United Methodist Church.
In order to protect the interests of The United Methodist Church, a complaint was filed in Superior Court of Yavapai County on Wednesday, July 26. This complaint asks that those who wish to leave The United Methodist Church do so and that the property and assets of Camp Verde United Methodist Church be retained for worship and ministry in the name and spirit of United Methodism as provided for in the Book of Discipline.
This is a complex and difficult situation, and I ask that you pray for those who remain loyal to The United Methodist Church as well as for those who are choosing to leave the denomination. Please pray for the leadership of our Conference who are assisting me in the effort to bring a faithful and just resolution to this matter on our behalf. Those persons are District Superintendent Rev. Neil Leftwich, Conference Chancellor Marilee Miller Clarke, Conference Trustees Chairperson Steve Ziegler, and Conference Treasurer Randy Bowman.
Please direct questions or concerns to District Superintendent Rev. Neil Leftwich at (602) 798-8236 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.