Bishop Woodie White term image

Reflections: Annual tour brings 1960s rights struggle to life

I teach a course titled “The Methodist Church and Race” at Candler School of Theology, as part of my responsibility as bishop in residence. The course not only examines the history of race in the church—from the beginnings of U.S. Methodism in the American colonies to the present—but in the nation at large, as well. […]

Reflections: Can we ‘raise our voices’ in a new song for Easter?

Easter celebrations are filled with traditions. The hymns we sing, choir anthem selections, special prayers and litanies. Even sermons do not wander far from the norm, and there are certain phrases in particular religious traditions that are integral to the Easter message. Perhaps no other worship service is quite so predictable. Most worshippers have come […]

Reflections: It’s OK to feel helpless—but never hopeless

Perhaps at some time, you have experienced a sense of utter helplessness. Most of us, I am sure, know how it feels to want so badly to change a situation but have no power to do so. It can be especially hard for those accustomed to moving through life independently, managing even difficult circumstances with […]

Reflections: Things that fill my soul in Black History Month

The observance this year of Black History Month has nearly concluded. In many communities and churches, special times were set aside for sharing and celebrating a part of the nation’s journey. America—as a country made up of immigrants and the native peoples indigenous to the land—holds a multiplicity of cultures and places of origin. The […]

Reflections: Lent – Season of regret, with cleansing to come

How can Lent be here already? It seems we were just celebrating Christmas. But Ash Wednesday, Feb. 13, signals the beginning of this solemn season of 40 days. On the High Holy Day of Easter, we will join Christians around the world in celebrating our Lord’s Resurrection. But first we must prepare ourselves. How will […]

Reflections: A ‘changing landscape’ – How will we respond?

My colleague and friend Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar, who presides over the Boston Episcopal Area of the United Methodist Church, recently brought to the attention of members of the Council of Bishops an interesting article that caught his attention in a newspaper in India. The headline reported: “First Hindu U.S. Legislator Makes History with Oath on […]

Commentary: Fifty years on, the Dream is becoming the new reality

Editor’s note: Bishop White, the first chief executive of the General Commission on Religion and Race, writes a “birthday letter” each year to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. about the progress of racial equality in the U.S. Dear Martin: I write this year as we will observe the 50th anniversary of your “I Have […]

Bishop’s annual ‘Dear Martin’ letter recalls historic speech

Editor’s note: Bishop White, the first chief executive of the General Commission on Religion and Race, writes a “birthday letter” each year to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. about the progress of racial equality in the U.S. Dear Martin: I write this year as we will observe the 50th anniversary of your “I Have […]

Reflections: Truly ‘coming together’ on a Christmas morning

I have known her since she was 5 years old. Last summer Judy, her husband and children visited us from a western state where they now live. I had not seen her since serving as a pallbearer at her father’s funeral several years ago. She and one of my daughters, who began school together and […]

Reflections: How I learned the true power of church polity

It was a lesson in Methodist polity that I still remember in surprising detail. It took place in November 1963. On a late Saturday afternoon, I was seated in the parsonage of a pastor whose worship service I planned to attend the following Sunday morning. I and two other companions wanted to meet the pastor […]

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