Shunk Response to Lesson in Compromise

A Response to Lesson in Compromise

President of W. PA Conference Evangelical Connection
Responds to Lesson in Compromise

Dear brother Clayton, and a copy to the new Pres. of the WPAEC,

Please read this brief account of how P91 came to be. I hope afterwards you can appreciate what we did and give us some grace. I have admired your courage and helpfulness in getting the word out over the internet about events as they unfold, but please tell the true story and not half of it. Because several people have read what you put on your "Range" I have gotten some questions and criticism. By God's grace I will take the heat, but I did not expect a brother in the faith to cause this to happen without asking me first to get a first hand view. You were not involved in the two meetings prior to Annual Conference that we had with the Reconciling Congregations representatives and the MFSA, so I provide for you this account.

Here is a brief outline of what happened.

  • 1. Last year there was a P91, authored by the Reconciling Task Force, that called the Conference to cease fire on arguing and acknowledge that there are hurting people among the heterosexuals and homosexuals who need loving ministry and not rejection. It was defeated because it included baptismal language that our Evangelicals could not agree with and statements about sexual minorities that we thought too political.

  • 2. Some of our brothers and sisters who have been getting some training from the Transforming Congregations Team with James Gentile came to me asking if we could modify P91 and submit it in 2000 as a joint statement saying that all persons are of sacred worth and that we should stop just talking about our differences, confess our lack of genuine love, and start to do ministry among a wider group of people who are sexually abused, addicted, divorced, among both the homosexual and heterosexual circles. We had two meetings and worked out a new P91, but two days before the submission deadline MFSA backed out saying they needed more time for their people to understand the document and sign on. The new P91 was not sent to the Conference Secretary.

  • 3. What we did not know was that MFSA submitted their own P91 condemning "reparative therapy" and any means to change the homosexual from his or her lifestyle. We were deeply disappointed, and decided that the only way to introduce the new P91 now was by substitution because otherwise it would be out of order since it did not go through the Legislative Section process. That did not work in the Section meeting as the leader ruled the new P91 not germane to the issue and could not be a substitute. The Section voted "non-concurrence" to P91.

  • 4. The next day Bishop Bashore suggested that we can only ask for a Suspension of the Rules to submit any new piece of legislation. So we prepared the new P91, made 2000 copies and distributed them to the delegates.

  • 5. Just two hours before Section 9 was to bring P91 off the consent calendar for discussion, Sally Jo Snyder, the Chair of MFSA in WPA came to me asking to sign on. They would agree not to take P91 off the Consent Calendar, and that they could sign on with us. After some adjustments we agreed in the interest of getting on to ministry and diffusing the hostility. One of the MFSA pastors mistakenly asked for our P91 to be a substitute when they declined their own P91, but we went on to suspend the rules and submit the new P91 as new legislation. It was further amended and accepted by a two thirds vote. It was clearly a two thirds vote in spite of Clayton's viewpoint sitting in the back.

  • 6. This new development does not mean we have caved in, or compromised our evangelical theology. The document must be followed according to the 2000 Book of Discipline which is very clear about homosexual behavior. We will be getting to know each other as colleagues in ministry better over the next year and some of the MFSA group have already indicated to Evangelist Dick Burns that they will attend the Training seminar in October we are planning to help pastors, youth workers and other laity how to minister the transforming grace of God among those who are sexually broken. James Gentile will be the main presenter. Prior to this agreement at our AC we would not have seen such openness. MFSA knows that we do not agree with their simple "welcoming of all persons without moral responsibility" approach, and we will not condone the practice of homosexuality.

  • 7. The WPA Evangelical Connection has just elected a very dedicated, godly leadership with Dr. Allyn Ricketts, Pres.; Rev. Doug Burns, VP; Rev. Robert Zilhaver, Treas.; and Rev. Andy Verner, as Sec. They are among a Board of 24 pastors and laity who will continue to be a strong voice for the authority of the Word of God, the sanctity of all life, especially the unborn, and for evangelistic ministries that provides an encounter with the life changing Savior Jesus Christ.

I hope that this is helpful, and I am very sad that we are perceived as compromising the Gospel or dishonoring our Lord Jesus Christ. I guess that is the risk of leadership. If you think we are totally wrong please point out what you see is still troubling to you.

Love all, worship One,
Dale R Shunk, former Pres of the WPAEC

For those who may want to respond to Dale or ask questions
please email him at

CR did make a personal response to the above email, but that is not available here or anywhere else on Circuit Rider's Range. Now aren't you a bit curious as to what might have been said in that reply?

HOWEVER, CR has picked up the gauntlet on this ever growing popular activity known as "dialogue" -- look into About This Dialog Thing! -- some serious things to consider!

Further Response from Dale Shunk Plus Information of Future Events

Hi Clayton, with a copy to Dr. Allyn Ricketts,

Yes, please post my response with an e-mail link. I would appreciate that. Also, thanks for your comments and caution. We are aware of Church history and the failures of attempts to come to common ground , yet the WPAEC, and many U.M. evangelical groups across our nation have no track record of actual ministry with and for homosexuals. We are being moved by the Holy Spirit to develop and duplicate a model of ministry across our Annual Conference with the help of Transforming Congregations under the teaching of Jim Gentile. The first training sessions, sponsored by the WPA Renewal Ministries, were last month in May. They are offering a major training seminar next October at Jumonville near Pittsburgh. The WPAEC is in full support. We will be respectful of each man's dignity, but very outgoing and bold regarding the transforming grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. This will be done in the context of a worship setting. I would very much like for you to be on board with other evangelicals in the conference, and even attend the October event. Mailings will go out in the next month. There was a yellow ad on the tables at Annual Conference.

P91 in WPA is our spring board to move on to ministry and not just argue the points of controversy. We believe transformed ex-gays will tell the story better. What do you think?

Love all, worship One,
Dale Shunk

"Men, Women, and Relationships" Seminar - October 20-22 '00

NOTE: A follow up item of information relayed to CR by Dale is posted here for informational purposes -- as you are able, please pass the information on to others. Thank You. cdh

Hi Clayton,

Thank you for posting my response on your site. It looks fine.

You may also post the information about the Restoration Seminar entitled "Men, women, and relationships" at Jumonville October 20 - 22 on your site. The event is sponsored by WPA UM Renewal Fellowship. There is a special youth track for senior highs and Youth Leaders only. People may contact for more details, or call Richard or Susan Thomas at (412) 655-3619.

Love all, worship One,

Location: Jumonville is located just a bit east of Uniontown, PA (Uniontown is south of Pittsburgh PA) and about 25 or 30 miles north of the West Virginia state line. Although you can't go to the W. VA state line as the crows fly

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