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Sibling delegates share hopes for GC 2012

Two General Conference delegates from the Arkansas Conference—the Rev. John P. Miles Jr. and the Rev. Rebekah “Beka” Miles—are siblings with sometimes widely divergent views. But they and other delegates are being encouraged to use holy conferencing, or holy conversation, to set “a tone for respectful dialogue and relationship building.” The goal, explained Minnesota Area […]

Why is it so hard to do religion in prime time?

By Piet Levy – Religion News Service • • • Many TV network executives, advertisers and producers would sell their souls to get the kind of audience God has. But giving religion a starring role in prime time? Not so much. Religion, God and spirituality have made cameos across the dial from The Sopranos to […]

Hope rises above N. Dakota flood damage

By Doreen Gosmire – United Methodist News Service • • • MINOT, N.D.—Recovery from last summer’s massive flooding in Minot, N.D., has been painstaking, but hope for the future builds each time a volunteer steps forward or shares material resources. In June 2011, the Souris River overflowed its banks, destroying or extensively damaging more than […]

Played with Passion Living Last Suppers bring Easter message to life

In 2007, Tim Saporito attended a “living Last Supper” at his church, First United Methodist in Irwin, Pa. The dramatic and musical portrayal of Jesus’ final Passover meal recreated the scene as Leonardo da Vinci interpreted it in his 1494 painting. “I was dazzled,” he recalled. “I thought, ‘This is one of the coolest things […]

Bishops’ children recall times of change

By J. Richard Peck, Special Contributor • • • NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Fifteen-year-old Mary Brooke Oliphint was sitting in the congregation during a June 1971 ceremony that united the Anglo-American Louisiana Conference with the African American Louisiana Conference. Eleven-year old Stephen Handy was home, but his mother attended the ceremony that celebrated the merger of what was […]

Petition drive seeks support for major reforms

Call it pushback to the pushback. With General Conference looming, backers of the first and most aggressive restructuring plan for general agencies of the UMC have mounted an online petition drive. They want to show that, despite noisy opposition and the emergence of alternative proposals, they have broad support from across the denomination. In under […]

Robert’s Rules of Order aren’t best guide for GC

We Methodists are about to head to Tampa for our big quadrennial denominational meeting called General Conference. Like some beached whale, our church struggles to survive, and the underbelly frankly isn’t very pretty. I like to be hopeful that the creature can live, but worry that the way we do what we do at such […]

GC 2012 book series aims to prepare delegates

Before delegates arrive in Tampa, Fla., for the 2012 General Conference this April, Abingdon Press would like them to do a little homework. And it’s a reading assignment. The United Methodist Publishing House has issued five new books, available online and in print, called the “Adaptive Leadership Series.” Each book offers an analysis of where […]

Leadership Institute Fellows watch denomination in action

TAMPA, Fla.—A small group of young people—inquisitive, well-educated and diverse—will carefully watch the proceedings during the 2012 United Methodist General Conference. These “watchers” are learning how the United Methodist Church really works. During a pre-conference news briefing Jan. 19-21, the Bishop Melvin G. Talbert Leadership Institute Fellows got a taste of what to expect when […]

We need ‘call to integrity’ more than Call to Action

Following the endless conversations about “what comes next?” in the United Methodist Church, it becomes more and more apparent that most of the suggestions, reports and recommendations made thus far are all designed for just one purpose: to avoid the hard work that actually must happen. In my humble opinion—one I have espoused now since […]