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Look at what unites us, not at what divides

By Bishop Gaspar João Domingos I was glad when they said, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”—Psalm 122:1 What willingness and satisfaction is seen on the face of the Psalmist when he utters these contagious words? These words, even today, are still proclaimed with the same emotions when we remember the day […]

‘Prone to wander’

By Jorge Acevedo “Have you experienced a ‘sense of distance’ among parts of the UM Connection?” My short answer to this question is a sad yet firm “Yes!” The week after Easter 2011, I gathered with many of the pastors of the top 100 largest United Methodist churches in America (in terms of worship attendance) […]

Please listen beyond the noise

Dear 2012 General Conference, Please listen to us. And please don’t. Listen to the people of the United Methodist Church. We everyday pastors, staff, and volunteers have never felt more disconnected from the larger church bureaucracy. We visit hospitals and hold youth retreats and preach and try to serve faithfully. But how do the most […]

Unity within a diverse church

Bishop Rosemarie Wenner The United Methodist Church in Germany is a small but vital part of our church. Six delegates representing three annual conferences are preparing themselves to travel to Tampa, Fla. They value the fact that they belong to a church serving Christ on four continents and are looking forward to meeting fellow United […]

What will serve as our guide during General Conference?

By Bishop Larry Goodpaster Preparations for the 2012 General Conference began almost as soon as all the delegates departed from the previous General Conference in Fort Worth in May 2008. Many people have worked tirelessly in an effort to make our gathering in Tampa a place of hospitality and hope for our denomination. Now, delegates […]

Q&A: Transformed lives will transform the world

Dr. Steven Furr, M.D. Professionally, Steve Furr is a family physician in a small town of about 5,000 in southwest Alabama, who does “everything from delivering babies to taking care of patients in nursing homes.” At the General Conference in Tampa, Fla., he’ll be one of three speakers delivering the Laity Address on April 25, […]

All UMs urged to pray for General Conference

The Rev. Tom Albin sees prayer as the wind behind the sails of General Conference. And he wants a big wind. “The Wesleys taught us that God does nothing apart from prayer,” said Dr. Albin, dean of the Upper Room. “I’m absolutely thrilled with the direction we’re going, but my goal is to engage every […]

Hosts in Tampa area stand ready to serve

The Rev. Jim Harnish, pastor of Hyde Park UMC in Tampa, Fla., likes to say that “people who live in Tampa are always happy to welcome people to Tampa.” And he’s counting on that. As chairperson of the host committee for General Conference this year, Dr. Harnish and his team are in the process of […]

2012 is first cookie-free General Conference

For the first time since anyone can remember, General Conference is strictly BYOC—bring your own cookies, according to the conference’s business manager, the Rev. Alan J. Morrison. At past General Conferences—nobody’s sure how many—local volunteers have baked homemade cookies for delegates to enjoy during breaks at General Conference. This year, however, the Commission on the […]

Four steps toward vitality in our denomination

By Adam Hamilton ••• Special Contributor As an aside, I don’t believe that restructuring the general boards is the key to having a future with hope; I see it as an opportunity to more effectively do the work of the church. This is more than rearranging the proverbial “deck chairs on the Titanic” but if […]