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Gift of renewal – Donors provide retreat time for UM clergy

By Sally Hicks, Faith & Leadership… Last October, Margot Porterfield and her husband, the Rev. Mark Porterfield, faced big changes in their life together. He was starting a new appointment as pastor at First United Methodist Church in Port Lavaca, Texas. She was going back to full-time work after five years. And with their two […]

Thomas V. Wolfe named president of Iliff School of Theology

The Rev. Thomas V. Wolfe has been named president of Iliff School of Theology in Denver, a United Methodist School. He’ll be the 14th president of Iliff, and comes from Syacuse University, where he has been senior vice president and dean. “We are excited to have Dr. Wolfe join us,” said Jim Wilkins, chairperson, Board of […]

Faith in Action: Discovering the purpose and potential of confirmation

I spoke with a pastor not long ago who told me a shocking story about confirmation. He had arrived at a new appointment one June and discovered that—in his words—“all the children from second grade and up were already confirmed.” If you are familiar at all with the practice of confirmation, that statement will strike […]

United Methodist woman helps arrange burial of Boston Marathon suspect

A United Methodist woman in Richmond, Va., said she was acting out of Christian compassion in helping to arrange the burial of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings. “Jesus tells us to love our enemies, not hate them after they’re dead,” said Martha Mullen, in a phone interview. “That’s why I kind […]

Case ‘is’ a horror, but no reason to leave RCRC

By Steve Copley, Special Contributor… The Kermit Gosnell case is as horrible as you think it is. And it illustrates precisely why it should not be used to argue for further restriction of access. Women living in poverty in Philadelphia felt that Gosnell was their only option when they needed an abortion, in part because […]

How will United Methodists respond to Gosnell horror?

By Matt O’Reilly, Special Contributor… United Methodists have an impressive record for faithfully responding to tragedy. In the aftermath of the Newtown massacre, Methodist congregations responded with an outpouring of love and intercession. We have preached, prayed and worked to transform the systems that not only allow but sometimes even enable such terrible acts. The […]

Ten reasons why UM bishops shouldn’t meet in private – from a retired bishop

By Joe E. Pennel Jr., Special Contributor… As one of the retired bishops I join those who are concerned about the active bishops meeting as a closed “forum,” as they are scheduled to do in San Diego from May 5-8. The word “forum” is a public word. Its derivation comes from the open space or […]

Commentary: It’s time to re-think life tenure for U.S. bishops

By Joseph Stains, Special Contributor… One of the less-noted dialogues of General Conference 2012 that comes home for further review is the American way of electing bishops, untested, for lifelong tenure through retirement. While we have clung to this hierarchical model from our Anglo-Catholic forbears, worldwide United Methodism is bringing us fresh vision of shared […]

`Rio Texas Conference’ to be name of unified Southwest Texas and Rio Grande Conferences

The unified Southwest Texas and Rio Grande Conferences of the United Methodist Church will go by the name “Rio Texas Conference.” The team charged with implementing unification of the conferences chose the name in a unanimous vote on Wednesday, and announced it today. Byrd Bonner, a Southwest Texas Conference layman and co-chair of the Unification […]

A pastor makes the case for infant baptism

By Dalton Rushing, Special Contributor… Last Sunday was a special day in the life of our family. Our daughter, Emmaline, was welcomed into the family of God through the sacrament of baptism. Emmaline did not make the decision to be baptized, as she is 2 months old. Her parents, partners in a clergy couple who […]