I have been challenged in the past by theobloggers such as Michael and Kim (of Connexions), who have made the assertion that Stanley Hauerwas is no longer a Methodist. I consider this to be an oversimplification. The fact of the matter is that Stanley Hauerwas attends an Episcopal Church -a fact that I suspect would make John Wesley happy. John Wesley was an Anglican all his life, and it doesn't stop us from calling him a Methodist. As Ken knows, I sometimes say that two of my favorite Methodist theologians are N. T. Wright and Rowan Williams. When people point out to me that they are both Anglicans, I say, "So was John Wesley." Of course, that is tongue in cheek. But there are serious reasons why Stanley Hauerwas is considered still a Methodist, and below I will provide some documentation for this claim.
First of all, there is the strong Methodist shape to his theology, rooted in a Wesleyan understanding of sanctification, dating all the way back to his dissertation at Yale. His view of Christian practices, habits, and virtues owes much to John Wesley -- as pointed out in the most recent edition of the Christian Century by his frequent co-author William Willimon. Interestingly, Willimon challenges the conventional wisdom (which he himself and Hauerwas helped make popular) that Christianity is primarily about practices, arguing instead that these practices have distracted our attention away from the living God (see the March 9, 2010 edition of the Christian Century).
Here is some documentation. In the Preface to Performing the Faith (published in 2004), Hauerwas says that he and his wife are now worshiping with the Anglicans (p. 10). This, in and of itself, is not sufficient reason to cease calling him a Methodist. I worship with Anglicans from time to time, too. I'm still a Methodist. Additionally, his wife is an ordained United Methodist minister, although she too worships with the Anglicans. Clearly, worshiping with the Anglicans does not mean one is no longer a Methodist. Remember that John Wesley always encouraged the Methodists to worship with the Anglicans.
Despite the fact that in 2004 Hauerwas publicly announced that he worshiped with Anglicans, in August of 2006, one of his graduate students (Jason Byassee) wrote an article in the Christian Century about the number of Protestants who were becoming Roman Catholic. In the article, Byassee calls Hauerwas a Methodist. This is after at least two years of Hauerwas worshiping with the Anglicans. A quote from the article reveals something significant: "While raising his son, Hauerwas found that the Methodists were good at shaping young people in faith. He also prefers loyalty to one's church of origin: "I feel like you need to stay with the people that harmed you." So in August of 2006, Hauerwas is still a Methodist.
In 2007, Bishop Scott Jones was preaching at the Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas (near Kansas City). UMC Bishop Scott Jones is the brother of L. Gregory Jones, who has been dean of Duke Divinity School for 13 years. (L. Gregory Jones was also a graduate student of Hauerwas at one time). In this sermon, Bishop Scott Jones refers to a Methodist theologian by the name of Stanley Hauerwas. I think that the Jones family would be familiar with Hauerwas' ecclesial identification, and he calls Hauerwas a Methodist. So in 2007, still a Methodist.
The most recent documentation of Hauerwas' identity as a Methodist comes from his own lips. In the Feb. 12, 2009 edition of The Shreveport Times, Hauerwas is quoted as saying, "I'm a Methodist." (see the image I have uploaded with this story). I am aware that Hauerwas has also said things like,"I'm an Anglican," and I have no reason to deny this. Andy Rowell, currently a doctoral student of Hauerwas at Duke, identified Hauerwas as a Methodist on Feb. 3, 2010. Whatever his official ecclesial status is with the Anglicans (and I have no knowledge of his actually being confirmed in the Episcopal Church), this is at least enough documentation to consider Stanley Hauerwas as a major voice within the Methodist tradition, and so I have included his name as potentially one of the ten most important theologians in the Wesleyan tradition.
UPDATE/CLARIFICATION: In his book of sermons, A Cross Shattered Church, (2009) Hauerwas explains, "I am a Methodist who is a communicant at the Church of the Holy Family (Episcopal)." (p. 155) In his memoir, Hannah's Child, (2010) he explains why he no longer attends the UMC where he was a member (pp. 258-259).