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Ecclesiology discuss Writing a Letter of Membership Termination in the Theological Forum forums; I joined TNPC last month; however, I still need to write the letter officially terminating my membership at my parents' Methodist Church. My difficulties come ...

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    Theoretical's Avatar
    Theoretical is offline. Puritanboard Professor
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    Writing a Letter of Membership Termination

    I joined TNPC last month; however, I still need to write the letter officially terminating my membership at my parents' Methodist Church. My difficulties come in terms of how to best word this letter so that it is not harsh in tone. Both of my parents are still incredibly active members of this church, and I do not wish to create strife for the wrong reasons; however, I do believe I owe it to those mentors and pastors I've had at the church to explain my reasoning. To make matters even worse, I am breaking from a four-generation history at this particular church, so there is lots of grief I could cause my parents needlessly if I don't write this letter carefully.

    Any advice would be appreciated.
    Scott - Dallas, Texas - Faith OPC

    "It is not what a lawyer tells me I may do; but what humanity, reason, and justice tell me I ought to do." - Edmund Burke

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    Contra_Mundum's Avatar
    Contra_Mundum is offline. Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
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    Do you really need to go into a detailed explanation? Why not just ask them to send a letter of "good standing" to the new church, and drop your name from their rolls? Thank them for ministering to you and your whole family over the years.

    Tell them (if true) that God used them in your life, spiritually. Now, God wants to continue to grow you in a new location. I think telling them you think they are wrong in this and that is pointless, unless they insist on your explanation. Your parents/family relationship to others in this other church should hardly be affected by your disappearance.

    Unless I am a central figure in the life of my old church, or someone that is regularly counted on to perform necessary assignments that now must be farmed out to others, I would not expect my disappearance to dramatically impact others in that church. Despite multi-generational membership.

    By the way, how did you join TNPC while still a member elsewhere? Or did you join "pending receipt" of the other church's dismissal? Just wondering.
    Rev. Bruce G. Buchanan
    ChainOLakes Presbyterian Church, CentralLake, MI

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    Thanks for the advice, as this is something I've never had to do before. I made it clear to the elders that I was still a member of the previous church, and what they offered for either them to send a standard membership change form or for me to send a letter. They permitted me to join, even though I am still on the rolls at the other church, even though I haven't been there in nearly 2 years. I know I need to send the letter out soon, as it's not a Biblical situation to be a member of more than one congregation (especially since both are in the Dallas area).

    I guess with my question it wasn't so much a problem addressing leaving the church itself on the bureaucratic end, but on the personal end, as I did develop a lot of strong personal connections to several of the ministers there, and the way I stopped attending wasn't exactly the best approach to take.

    Especially at the time, I had far less courage to be willing to say outright why I was leaving to those who ministered to me, so I latched onto the opportunity to help get a friend settled into his church. I freely admit it was a cowardly approach for me to take, especially since I knew didn't have to worry about a cultish leadership attempting to force me to stay. That's also why I felt a few additional personal letters to certain mentors at the church might be in order, but I still have no clue whether that's even appropriate or not.

    Thanks for the counsel, Rev. Buchanan.
    Scott - Dallas, Texas - Faith OPC

    "It is not what a lawyer tells me I may do; but what humanity, reason, and justice tell me I ought to do." - Edmund Burke

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    Contra_Mundum's Avatar
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    Well Scott,
    I would just write the letter, and make it warm and personal, and include expressions of thanks, and apology/request for forgiveness where necessary.

    Then, before you send it, stick it in a drawer, and pull it out in 24 hours, or 3 days, or a week, re-read it and see how it reads as though you just received it. Change if necessary.

    Then, show it to someone you trust unrelated to the situation at the old church (not family, IOW), and ask them if they would read and critique it. Change if necessary. Send off.
    Rev. Bruce G. Buchanan
    ChainOLakes Presbyterian Church, CentralLake, MI

    Made both Lord and Christ--Jesus, the Destroyer
    Acts 2:36 - 1 Cor. 10:9-10 & 15:22-26 - Hebrews 2:9-15 - 1 John 3:8 - James 4:12

    When posting friends, kindly bear those words of earthly wisdom in mind:

    Oh, that God the gift would give us
    To see ourselves as others see us.
    --Robert Burns, 1786 (modernized) ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ Click to get: Board Rules -- Signature Requirements -- Suggestions? -- Sermons

  5. #5
    jfschultz's Avatar
    jfschultz is offline. Puritanboard Junior
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    Quote Originally Posted by Contra_Mundum View Post
    Do you really need to go into a detailed explanation? Why not just ask them to send a letter of "good standing" to the new church, and drop your name from their rolls? Thank them for ministering to you and your whole family over the years.
    Isn't this really something that the clerk of Session is supposed to do?
    Soli Deo Gloria

    John Schultz
    Member, Riveroaks Reformed Presbyterian Church (PCA)
    Germantown, TN

    Be careful what you send in an e-mail ... it might get published!

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