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Spiritual leaders will meet to discern God's call for church

1/30/2003 News media contact: Linda Green · (615) 742-5470 · Nashville, Tenn

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Spiritual leaders from across the United Methodist Church will meet this summer to determine how God is leading the denomination in developing spiritual formation and maturity in Christ.

The Spiritual Leaders Conference, Aug. 4-7, will be the church's second gathering aimed at understanding how the denomination is nurturing spiritual leaders for itself and the world. More than 150 people are expected to gather at the Oakwood Spiritual Life Center in Syracuse, Ind.

Most spiritual leaders in the United Methodist Church today feel that they are not adequately supported and equipped to do what God has called to the do, according to the Rev. Tom Albin, dean of the Upper Room Chapel in Nashville, Tenn., a sponsor of the conference. "They would say that the church could do better."

The event sponsors, which also include the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry and the Board of Discipleship, hope that conference participants will get a clearer sense of God's will for the church, and that there will be a "clearer commitment of everyone working together (for) the glory of God and the benefit of the church," Albin said.

"It is our hope that in the future, people who feel called to service in the United Methodist Church will find a warmer welcome, better spiritual preparation to be servant leaders, and the support needed to sustain themselves for a lifetime of service in the church and the world."

Conference leaders will include Albin; Bishop Susan Hassinger, Lawrence, Mass.; the Rev. Marjorie Thompson, director of the Pathways Center for Spiritual Leadership, Nashville; and the Rev. Luther Smith, a Christian Methodist Episcopal member of the Commission on Pan-Methodist Cooperation and Union and professor of church and community at United Methodist-related Candler School of Theology in Atlanta.

More information is available at, or by contacting Albin at (615) 340-7110 or

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