UMPH president announces transition process toward retirement


A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Neil Alexander, President and Publisher of the United Methodist Publishing House (UMPH), released a letter to UMPH staff today announcing his intention to retire before or soon after the 2016 General Conference, and that the UMPH board will be initiating a two year process to search for a new publisher to allow for transition from Alexander’s leadership.

Alexander has led UMPH since 1996, and has worked in the organization since 1988. Prior to joining the staff Alexander was an executive with the General Board of Discipleship and the Southern New Jersey Annual Conference. Neil is married to Leslie, has one son, Sean, and five grandchildren.

Alexander has presided over the UMPH at a difficult time for the publishing industry as a whole, which has seen a decline in the demand for print resources. In recent years this led to the closing of the retail Cokesbury stores throughout the United States as the organization has shifted the focus to web sales for marketing and selling resources.

Alexander was also a key member of the Interim Operations Team (IOT), a group appointed to propose structural changes to the United Methodist Church in the wake of the Council of Bishops Call to Action report. The suggestions of the IOT for a smaller, more focused United Methodist structure were rejected by the 2012 General Conference in favor of the Plan UMC proposal, which was later ruled unconstitutional by the Judicial Council.

In his letter, Alexander told the staff that “I’ll be working with intensity and focus the next two plus years – because our ministry and business require our faithful and full attention.” He expressed his support of the staff, as they work together “for assuring UMPH’s future as a faithful, vibrant and nimble provider or resources people choose, use and value for Christian life and ministry.”

The UMPH board has been meeting this week, and will conclude their meetings later today.

Jay Voorhees, Former Executive Editor

The Rev. Jay Voorhees is the Executive Editor of The United Methodist Reporter and the Chief Creative Officer for CircuitWriter Media LLC which operates this site and Jay is an ordained elder in the Tennessee Annual Conference. Jay has written on life and the practice of faith in The United Methodist Church at Only Wonder Understands since 2003.

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