Archives for June 2012

‘Wilderness of fear, distrust’ seen at GC 2012

By Ricky Harrison, Special Contributor… The first night of the 2012 General Conference opened with a grand worship service. There were bright lights, cool graphics, beautiful music, abundant prayer shawls and a moving sermon. One of the most moving moments in the service for me was the sight of all of our episcopal leaders, in […]

Trip to teach the parables led her to a new one

By Alyce McKenzie,  Special Contributor… One Sunday recently I was invited to be the retreat leader for a Sunday School class from a large church in Dallas. One of the members has a lovely vacation home in the wilds of east Texas near Chandler. I was to arrive by 9 a.m., have breakfast with the group, and lead […]

Politics from the pulpit is a turn-off for many

By G. Jeffrey MacDonald, RNS… With the 2012 election only five months away, congregations are getting the message that Americans want religion out of politics. But that doesn’t mean they plan to keep mum in the public square. Instead, they’re revamping how congregations mobilize voters by focusing on a broader set of issues than in […]

Minnesota congregation pulls together after fire

By Victoria Rebeck, Special Contributor…   MINNEAPOLIS—After a Sunday evening fire destroyed their building, Walker Community United Methodist Church members did what they do best: sing and plan their future. The Minneapolis church building caught fire on May 27, between 8 and 9 p.m. during a thunderstorm. Twelve hours later, church members and friends gathered […]

New England delegation: UMC’s identity and unity must be spiritual, not structural

Editor’s note: This essay comes from the New England Conference delegation to General Conference. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins. (Mark 2:22 The NIV) Preface  In 2012 […]

Library under construction at Liberia seminary

By Vicki Brown, Special Contributor… A new $300,000 library to replace the building looted during Liberia’s civil war is under construction on the campus of the Gbarnga School of Theology. “The library was up to first floor level when I left for school in early January,” said the Rev. Yatta Young, dean of the seminary. […]

Committee explains actions regarding Bishop Bledsoe

An evaluation of Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe led the South Central Jurisdictional Episcopacy Committee to ask that he retire voluntarily and to promise a vote on involuntary retirement if he didn’t go on his own, the committee chair said in a statement Friday. “The results of our evaluation of Bishop Bledsoe were mixed. While having […]

One year after tornado, rebuilding forges ahead

By Fred Koenig, Special Contributor… It’s been just over a year since an F5 tornado devastated the town of Joplin, Mo., killing 160 people and leaving the central core of the town in rubble. People close to the Missouri Conference’s role in the recovery effort are in agreement on two things regarding progress since that […]

Bishop Bledsoe reverses course, says he’ll ‘fight like the devil’ to stay in post

PLANO, TEXAS – Bishop Earl Bledsoe announced last Friday that he was retiring voluntarily, but late Tuesday afternoon reversed the decision in dramatic fashion, telling members of the North Texas Conference that he was being pushed out and had decided not to stand for it. “With your help we’re going to fight like the devil […]

Rev. Mike Baughman preaches on ‘dehydration’ of church

Note: The Rev. Baughman preached this sermon June 3, at opening worship of Annual Conference 2012 of the North Texas Conference. Greetings beautiful people of the North Texas Annual Conference. I am so grateful to stand before you this day as we enter into this time of Holy Conferencing. I give thanks to Bishop Bledsoe […]