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Searching for hope amid our dark night of the soul

By Steve West, Special Contributor… Some United Methodist leaders have been gloomy in recent weeks. They feel that General Conference, the massive every-four-year gathering of denominational leaders, failed to produce change. There was, in the works, a dramatic overhaul of the agency structure, aimed at downsizing and simplifying. Many feel the present system of agencies […]

Guaranteed appointment may stand after all

General Conference 2012 may not have ended guaranteed appointment for ordained elders after all. Though delegates at the United Methodist Church’s quadrennial meeting voted to change one relevant part of the Book of Discipline, another was left untouched, apparently inadvertently. “It appears that there is no end to guaranteed appointments for elders under the 2012 […]

New England delegation: UMC’s identity and unity must be spiritual, not structural

Editor’s note: This essay comes from the New England Conference delegation to General Conference. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins. (Mark 2:22 The NIV) Preface  In 2012 […]

Don’t blame bishops for General Conference ‘fiasco’

By William H. Willimon, Special Contributor… General Conference in Tampa made history as the most expensive ($1,500 per minute!), least productive, most fatuous assemblage in the history of Methodism. Sunday evening’s “A Celebration of Ministry” fiasco was a metaphor for our nearly two weeks at church expense: four hours of belabored supplication by the General […]

Q&A: A self-described fanatic for ecumenism

Bishop Thomas L. Hoyt Jr., the senior bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church, presides over the East Coast region for the 141-year-old historically African-American denomination. Long before his 2010 appointment to that post, he was known as a scholar and a leader in the Christian ecumenical movement. A former president of the National […]

United Methodists join Pan-Methodist covenant

By Rich Peck, UMNS… TAMPA, Fla.—After several hundred years of separation, members of six Pan-Methodist denominations have committed to ministry together. The United Methodist Church is the last of the denominations to adopt the full communion agreement, which was celebrated May 1 during the 2012 General Conference. The affirmation establishes a new relationship among the […]

Congo family performs at General Conference

By Elliott Wright, UMNS… TAMPA, Fla.—Four brothers and a sister from the Congo took the United Methodist General Conference to its knees and brought it to its feet as they sang “O Happy Day . . . when Jesus washed my sins away.” The five Kamana children, ranging from 9 to 21 years of age, […]

Looking back, looking forward after GC 2012

By Alan Heath, CEO, UMR Communications… Halfway through the second week of General Conference, I sat down to record my observations as a first-time attendee. I was not a delegate, only a very interested observer with little or no context other than attendance at many Annual Conferences in North Texas. I made some observations at […]

On repairing broken trust in the UMC

By Ricky Harrison, Special Contributor… The first night of the 2012 General Conference opened with a grand worship service. There were bright lights, cool graphics, beautiful music, abundant prayer shawls and a moving sermon. One of the most moving moments in the service for me was the sight of all of our episcopal leaders, in […]

United Methodist Men salute Scout milestone, give two awards at GC

By Rich Peck, UMNS… TAMPA, Fla.—The 2012 General Conference marked the 100th birthday of the Girl Scouts, one of the youth-serving organizations supported by the Commission on United Methodist Men. It was appropriate for the birthday celebration to be in Tampa because one of the first troops was organized in this city. In 1913, Jessamine […]

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