News Release: Sarah Wilke Leaving Discipleship Ministries

Sarah E. Wilke, world editor and publisher of Upper Room ministries, ministry of The United Methodist General Board of Discipleship (GBOD). Photo by Kathleen Barry, UMNS.

Sarah E. Wilke, former world editor and publisher of Upper Room ministries, ministry of The United Methodist Discipleship Ministries. Photo by Kathleen Barry, UMNS.

Discipleship Ministries | Communications Office
Steve Horswill-Johnston, Executive Director
(615) 340-1726 (O) (615) 429-3431 (C)

Wilke Leaving Discipleship Ministries

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Sept. 14, 2016 /Discipleship Ministries/ – Sarah Wilke, Associate General Secretary and Publisher/World Editor of The Upper Room, is no longer employed by Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church, effective immediately.

Following a complete review by the human resources department of a complaint filed against Wilke, the announcement was made by the Rev. Junius Dotson, General Secretary (CEO) of Discipleship Ministries.

“We wish Sarah well and appreciate her many gifts and efforts for The Upper Room and the whole of Discipleship Ministries,” Dotson said. “Sarah has tremendous leadership skills and has led The Upper Room through deep changes in religious publishing and has successfully realigned both the publishing and programming side of our work.”

Dotson said the agency will not be naming an interim Associate General Secretary.

“Instead, I’m asking the Management Team of The Upper Room to run the daily operations of the unit and report to me on a regular basis until an Associate General Secretary has been named,” he said.

Wilke assumed her position at Upper Room Ministries in 2009. Previously, she was head of UMR Communications, where she was the first woman to hold the CEO position in the 157-year history of the organization. Prior to her appointment at UMR Communications, she served as the North Texas Annual Conference’s urban strategist for four years.

The mission of Discipleship Ministries is to support annual conference and local church leaders for their task of equipping world-changing disciples. An agency of The United Methodist Church, Discipleship Ministries is located at 1908 Grand Ave. in Nashville, Tenn. For more information, visit, the Press Center at or call the Communications Office at (877) 899-2780, Ext. 1726.

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Editor’s Note: UMR Communications is the previous owner of United Methodist Reporter.  UMR is now owned by CircuitWriter Media LLC.

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8 Comments on "News Release: Sarah Wilke Leaving Discipleship Ministries"

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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Richard F Hicks

I am one of the strictest law and order people around, but I have a question: Just what was “the complaint?” Her grammar? Her punctuation?!;:., Is she facing criminal charges? What could be so big that she was escorted out of the building and sent packing? If she violated the discipline, bring charges or leave her alone. The Disciple is generally ignored any way. Inquiring minds want to know. Thank you, Richard F Hicks, OKC

Gilbert Caldwell

Thanks Richard Hicks for your comments. Regardless of disagreements on issues, our hopes
for the UMC are similar whether we are so-called traditionalists or progressives. I wrote what I wrote as a comment, because I believe we must separate the Bible from bigotry. And, we must always remember as Bonhoeffer wrote, “We are all sinners. Why should we be surprised
then when there are less-than-perfect persons among us?” (paraphrase). The UMC is a Church of Jesus Christ and not a Court, like that Pontius Pilate presided over.

Floyd L.
It’s generally true that “inquiring minds want to know”, but it’s equally true that Damage Control ranks at or near the top of the United Methodist priority-list these days. So the only information that’s ever going to be on the table, is the UMR article itself. Of course, Gilbert Caldwell’s two comments, featuring a repeated use of the buzzword “bigotry”, DOES offer an unpleasant hint as to a possible contributing factor to the abrupt situation. But overall, the readers are simply left to draw their own speculative conclusions. It is what it is, (whatever it is), and the UMC remains… Read more »

Surely there is some “new” news that you can report on. Thanks for ALL that you do, but, surely there are more current news items that you could update with. Just thinking…………………………………

Gilbert Caldwell

“And John answered Him saying Master, we saw one casting out devils in Thy name: and he
followeth not us; and we forbid him, because he followeth not us. But Jesus said, Forbid him not” Mark 9: 38, 39

The text of John Wesley’s sermon; A CAUTION AGAINST BIGOTRY

Could the complaint against Ms. Wilkie be an expression of bigotry? Those whom I know who
know her effective ministry have said how spiritually profound it has been. May those who
would testify to this, be spiritually strong enough to say so!

Licensed Local Pastor
Licensed Local Pastor

The leadership of the United Methodist Church Bishop’s and Boards are some of the most disingenuous appearing people. These type of announcements only add to the laities distrust of their motivations and methods.

jimmie shelby

Dear Licensed Local Pastor: Please check out follow quote. It is copied and pasted from Perspective; A Message from Good News. It has give me some hope–perhaps it will do the same for you.

“Evangelical United Methodist Church (EUMC), one of the denomination’s fastest growing large churches, has decided to withhold paying its annual conference and general church apportionments. The Greenville, Ohio, congregation reached its decision in late August.”

Licensed Local Pastor
Licensed Local Pastor

Yes I just read that yesterday. It gives me hope that the laity is telling the leadership in the only way the leadership will understand that the leadership needs to listen to all of membership and not just a select few.

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