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Letter to the Editor: Don't Close our Churches

Written By Michael on 7/11/15 | 7/11/15

Dear Editor,

My husband, Rev. Richard P. Bean, and I have been in ministry over 30 years travelling across the country. Our membership is with the United Methodist Church. During the months of April through October, we have proudly attended the Dorloo Methodist Church for over 20 years. We have witnessed many positive changes in that time. At first we only noticed women attend; now we have several men attend regularly. We now enjoy worshipping with the second generation as well as the third.

When we first started out in Dorloo, the village had a small store, post office, gas station, and the church; all have closed except the church. We at Dorloo may not be strong in number, but we are incredibly strong in faith. We connect with our community through at least seventeen or more community outreaches regularly. The most recent was the Marathon for a Better Life where our church's team, Wings of Hope, raised over $7,000 for this local charity. Many of our efforts support the needy in Schoharie County. Dorloo UMC is not only about charity and raising money; it is about the witness of God's love to all. For such a small congregation, our outreach is amazing. Our worship leader, David Houch, and his wife Melody, travel a very long distance to share a wonderful, prayed over, Bible filled message each week and they refuse to accept any kind of compensation for their time, efforts, or even gas.

Even though the actual church was built in 1852 and reflects the beautiful old fashioned craftsmanship of that era, the old gels and meets the new; exalting Jesus at each service.

When you leave a service at the Dorloo UMC, you know you've been to church, and you know you are cared about and loved by God.
It is unthinkable that The Oneonta District of the Upper NY Conference of the United Methodist Church has decided to close our church along with three others. None of the "powers to be" in this group, including District Superintendent Jan McClary Rowell, whose job description, includes visiting each church in the district, has NEVER put a foot in our church. It's absolutely an absurd ruling.

Richard and I, along with almost every member of our church, have attended more than a few meetings lead by District Superintendent Rowell. We cannot speak for others; however, we found her to be rude, overbearing, and arrogant. She is a woman who will be sure you hear what she says, and sees that you do what she dictates. She will entertain questions, so long as they are questions she is prepared to answer. If your inquiries or statements are not what she wants to address, you are told to sit down. In my husband's case, as a minister himself, his statement was "In today's world where evil & turmoil are running wild, we need churches." He shared a prayer to open a meeting - then started to speak of a recent outreach he had helping someone in danger. The point he tried to make was the members of the Dorloo UMC tried to shower this person with love and assistance. He was never able to complete this testimony because he was told to sit down and please be quiet. We had over 65 people at that same meeting and before it was over, I was told that I had said enough and told to sit down, also along with several others. District Superintendent Rowell is a woman who has never seen how we worship, or how we spread the love of God through our church. She stood boldly and firmly in front of people who were losing the places they worshipped in, built by their generations over 160 years ago, yet she could not be sensitive enough to hear the people out in a dignified way.

The members of the Dorloo United Methodist Church will go on because we are Christians and do NOT worship the building. We worship Jesus Christ. It hurts, no doubt. If we had to stand before God today, I am confident He would be pleased with our efforts of Praise, Worship, Faith, and Outreach. I wonder if the deciding members of the Upper NY Conference of the United Methodist Church could say the same. Where will your direction lead the churches in 20-40 years from now? At the rate you are going in the United States, the United Methodist Church will not be in existence. Today's local news in our county included churches closing and casinos opening.

Rev. Richard P. Bean
Linda Marie Bean
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