Good News briefs delegates at breakfast gatherings

Participants attending the Good News breakfast and briefing on Saturday, May 14.UMR photo by Wes Magruder

Participants attending the Good News breakfast and briefing on Saturday, May 14.

Portland, OR — Good News, an evangelical witness organization within The United Methodist Church, has continued their tradition from past General Conferences of sponsoring an early morning briefing breakfast on seven of the ten days of the conference. Held this year in the ballroom of the Crown Plaza hotel in downtown Portland, attendees hear from a variety of church leaders about issues deemed of importance by Good News and the other members of the Renewal and Reform Coalition, which also includes The Confessing Movement, UMAction, and Lifewatch.

The breakfasts begin promptly at 6:30 a.m. and attendees are offered a full-service breakfast, seated at cloth covered tables and expertly served by white-gloved hotel waiters.

The breakfast briefing held on Saturday, May 14, 2016, was the second of the seven scheduled events. Greeters at the hotel door and down the hallway moved people efficiently into the ballroom, which nearly full by the time the program began.

The program opened with Rob Renfroe, President of Good News, offering words of welcome and an opening prayer. Renfroe then introduced several special guests, including Mark Tooley, President of the Washington DC-based Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD). Renfroe also introduced John Lomperis, IRD’s United Methodist Director and thanked the IRD for its support of Good News and for sponsoring the breakfasts.

Renfroe encouraged attendees to invite others to the remaining breakfasts, which will be held daily, May 16-20 at 6:30 am at the Crowne Plaza. There is no charge for the breakfasts and are open to any who wish to attend.

Renfroe then recognized the thirty volunteers who have been assisting the African delegates and being generally useful in multiple ways, Renfroe then introduced Wayne Lavender, co-sponsor of legislation to make orphans and vulnerable child the missional focus of The United Methodist Church over the next quadrennium.

In a succinct well-rehearsed presentation, Lavender explained that the goal of this piece of legislation is to put orphans and vulnerable children at the center of UMC’s mission priorities. The writers of the petition believe that this focus offers an opportunity for the church to unify around a common purpose on which all can agree.

“We care about those who are defenseless, the poor and orphans. That is our heart,” Renfroe said in response to Lavender’s presentation. He then introduced Bishop Pedro Marquez Torio, Jr. from the Baguio Episcopal Area in the Philippines. The delegates from that episcopal area were then asked to stand and be recognized.

Quickly, Bishop Torio summarized the ministries of his episcopal area. He stated that they had come to make a clear statement of their biblical faith, their missions, and their centeredness on the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Renfroe then asked the numerous seminary students in attendance to stand and be recognized. Many from the Candler School of Theology come to participate in the breakfast.

Next, Renfroe introduced the Rev. Madeline Carraso Henners from the Rio Texas Conference who offered a testimony of her conversion from progressive Christianity to biblical, charismatic understanding of faith.

Henner had been on the staff of a large church in Austin for four years and found her work there frustrating and fruitless. She then took a month off for a sabbatical, during which she said that the Lord spoke to her and revealed to her a greater truth. Henners then disconnected from social media and TV to spend her time worshipping, reading the Bible, and asking God to fill her heart. As she prayed, she told the group, “The Lord clearly said, ‘I  need you and this word — this Gospel that you are reading. I need you to see what you added is not here.’”

This began an unfolding of truth for Henners — a truth that she believes transcends current culture, generation, or nationality. Henners said that “our God is not a God of confusion.” She also heard from the Lord that he would not forsake her, and sensed an encouragement to go after the truth.

Henners then read John 17:14-19 where Jesus prayed for those who will champion the truth that he has given them. Henners noted that they don’t belong to the world and need to be kept safe from the evil one.

She asked: “Do I actually believe that the words of our Lord are alive and true and achievable in this life?”

“Do I actually believe that healing was possible?”

“Who or what would I give authority over my life?”

“Who would I trust, and to what extent?”

“Was anything truly possible through God’s power as the Scriptures say?”

She stated, “I am done assuming or presuming that the Word is unreachable or unattainable, and therefore lowering my standard of living. If I believe my Lord is true and I trust my God, then I know he would not set us up for certain failure.”

Henners contends that our God is not cruel, then God would not put before us something impossible to achieve. He wants us to do greater things than Jesus did.

According to Henners, to do these greater things we must allow the power and presence of God to dwell among us and in us.

She said that as she began, she had been awakened to the ministry of healing. She has seen many people healed miraculously, “not by my hands but through my hands.” She has developed a habit of asking people if they have neck or shoulder pain and then offering prayers of healing for them, seeing them walk away healed.

Henners said she was grateful that God had pushed her to the brink as she believed she needed to be there. Her advice to the confused or those in despair: “Go to the Word, putting aside all devotionals, all commentaries, and pray,  ‘Lord, through your Holy Spirit, reveal your truth to me even if it is painful.'”

Tom Lambrecht presents updates on legislative matters of interest to Good News. UMR photo by Wes Magruder

Tom Lambrecht presents updates on legislative matters of interest to Good News.

After the applause from her message died down, Tom Lambrecht, Vice-President and General Manager for Good News, came to the podium and exhorted the attendees to allow the power of the Holy Spirit free reign through their lives. He also invited everyone to attend African worship service, 11:00 Sunday morning, making the invitation on behalf of the African delegates. According to Lambrecht, no one has really worshiped if they have not attended an African worship service.

Lambrecht began his summary of legislation coming from committees, noting that he would not cover every piece of legislation but only the high points. With expertly prepared slides to give visual support, Lambrecht efficiently gave reports from ten committees plus the Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters.

He did not offer a report from the Local Church or the Discipleship Legislative committees.

The morning breakfast was dismissed promptly at 7:30 am, giving the attendees plenty of time to get to the Oregon Convention center, a quick 10 minute walk, before the 8:00 am worship service.


The free Good News Breakfast and briefing will be held every morning during the rest of the General Conference in the Crowne Plaza Hotel Ballroom at 6:30 a.m.


I’m a retired Elder in the United Methodist Church, the place I finally discovered grace after a lifelong search. I love writing, gardening, reading, asking questions and making connections between political and religious practices.

My husband and I jointly claim eleven children (as he says, “mostly by mergers and acquisitions!”) and twelve grandchildren. In between our own travels, we love to have them and many others come and stay with us a bit. We see so much of the heavenly grace in the offering of earthly hospitality.

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The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
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jimmie shelbyJohn Wesley Leek Recent comment authors
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jimmie shelby
jimmie shelby

This writer would like to thank the UMR for including “Good News Briefs” in your posting. The story that Rev. Henners is absolutely wonderful. Praise Father/Son/Holy Spirit for revealing the GOOD NEWS to Rev. Henners and bring her out of the very social and progressive gospel. Stories like hers and the reporting of Good News gives one hope……………….

John Wesley Leek

That sounds like a very worshipful time.

I know the “Love Your Neighbor” coalition hosted daily meals with speakers in 2012. Are they not doing something similar this year?

If I were a delegate I’d want to attend at least one of both!

jimmie shelby
jimmie shelby

will there more “briefs” from Good News?

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