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Florida church finds rebirth in mission

By Michelle Bearden, Faith & Leadership… TAMPA, Fla.—The call came from the bishop on the Rev. Jim Harnish’s 45th birthday. “Can you come by the office tonight?” the bishop asked. Dr. Harnish, then pastor of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Orlando, knew an urgent summons from the bishop was serious. He suspected that he […]

Breaking a barrier – Community partners help church fill special needs

By Susan Green, Special Contributor… TAMPA, Fla.—The first blow came when Sally DePalma heard the diagnosis: Her daughter Leah, then 2 years old, has autism. The second came when Ms. DePalma sought comfort and refuge with her family at church and discovered that, even there, life would never be the same. At the request of […]

Bishop Willimon on GC2012 and ‘church by committee’

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 […]

Backers of agency consolidation ponder what went wrong

The dream some UMC leaders had of bringing most general church agencies under a single 15-member board, led by an executive, crashed and burned at General Conference on Friday. And the dreamers were left to lament their defeat in the General Administration Committee, and try to figure out what went wrong. “I trust the Holy […]

UMC Twitter Sub-Culture Grows at General Conference

Lauren Roden (@laurenmroden) prophesied yesterday afternoon: “Twitter is about to be ridiculously overloaded with Methodists and their iPhones. #gc2012” Her prediction has proved accurate. Since the beginning of General Conference, thousands of tweets have rolled in with the hash tag #gc2012. Some users take advantage of Twitter to keep their friends informed by tweeting quotes […]