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Top executive resigns from Board of Global Ministries

Bishop Edward Paup of Seattle addresses members of the United Methodist Board
of Global Ministries following his election
as general secretary. A UMNS file
photo by Cassandra Zampini.

A UMNS Report
By Linda Green*
Sept. 1, 2009

A year to the day of taking the helm of The United Methodist Church's mission agency, the top executive is leaving for health reasons.

The Rev. Edward W. Paup has resigned, effective immediately, as general secretary of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, Bishop Bruce Ough of West Ohio, board president, announced Sept. 1.

Paup, 63, had been on medical leave since Aug. 10.

"The results of examinations indicate the presence of a brain tumor that will require close and constant monitoring in the days ahead," Ough said. "Treatment and prognosis are unclear at this time. We understand that no one can both tend to serious health matters and conduct the demanding day-to-day business of Global Ministries."

Led restructuring

Ough acknowledged the economic and organizational challenges that Paup faced as the agency's leader during an economic downturn. The board lost millions in its investments in 2008 and the mission agency has been in the midst of a restructuring process since April.

The restructuring and a $4 million cut in the 2009 agency’s operating budget resulted in the elimination of 45 staff positions at the end of July. Another 19 accepted retirement or voluntary severance packages.

"The operational audit we have experienced has set us on a course that will enable the agency to define and conduct its future work with enthusiasm and energy, and within the economic means provided by the church," Ough said. "Ed's vision of our potential will be his legacy."

Bishop Mary Ann Swenson of the California-Pacific Annual (regional) Conference said Paup has been a "great leader for the church in every possible way." She said his compassion and his vision for global ministries made "him the right person to give us leadership in a new time and to take us forward."

Swenson said his resignation "is a stunning loss for us to lose that leadership after just beginning."

Josephine Deere, a member of the agency's board of directors, described Paup as an environmentalist.

Prior to Paup's arrival, bottled water was the norm for board meetings. He replaced the bottled water and provided board members with a water bottle, "which we had to bring and use at every one of our board meetings," said Deere, a leader in the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference. "He brought environmental awareness to faith and light for us. His presence will be missed.”

Prayers requested

Paup, a native of Oil City, Pa., is a 1967 graduate of Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pa., He earned a master of divinity degree from Iliff School of Theology in Denver in 1970, and was ordained an elder. He was a pastor and district superintendent before being elected bishop in 1996.

He was bishop of the Portland (Ore.) Area from 1996-2004 and bishop of the Seattle Area until 2008. Paup was elected the mission agency's general secretary in March 2008, and began working on Sept. 1, 2008, after resigning from the episcopacy.

An interim general secretary will be named in the near future, Ough said. Roland Fernandes, the agency’s general treasurer, will run operations until an interim is named.

Paup is a member of the Rocky Mountain Annual Conference, which is led by Bishop Elaine J.W. Stanovsky.

“Rocky Mountain Conference will be in touch with him appropriately about his appointment status, and we are certainly concerned about his health,” the bishop said Sept. 1. The conference will look at appointment options and work with Paup to clarify what he’s able to do, she said.

Stanovsky, Ough and other church leaders asked United Methodists to pray for Paup and his family.

"As people of faith, we believe in the healing love of God through Jesus Christ and the ministries of the church," Ough said.

Paup and his wife, Carol, have three daughters and five grandchildren.

*Green is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.

News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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