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Bishop Paup to lead Board of Global Ministries

Bishop Edward Paup (center) is congratulated by Bishop Joel Martinez following Paup's election as chief executive of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. UMNS photos by Cassandra Heller.

By Linda Bloom*
March 11, 2008 | STAMFORD, Conn. (UMNS)

Paup addresses board members following his election.

United Methodist Bishop Edward Paup has been elected to lead the church's Board of Global Ministries, which oversees global missions and is the denomination's largest agency.

The election came March 11 during the board’s spring meeting. He will assume the post of general secretary on Sept. 1. Until that time, Bishop Felton May will continue as the interim top executive.

Paup, 62, is bishop of the Seattle area, which includes the Pacific Northwest Annual (regional) Conference and Alaska Missionary Conference, and is president of the Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops. He said he will tender his resignation from the episcopacy, effective Aug. 31, when the United Methodist Council of Bishops meets in April. The denomination will elect new bishops during jurisdictional meetings in July.

No stranger to the Board of Global Ministries, Paup became a director in 2004 and serves as president of the United Methodist Committee on Relief. He chairs the board's health and relief committee and its audit committee and also serves on its finance and executive panels.

Paup told United Methodist News Service that he strongly believes in the importance of the role played by the general secretaries of the denomination's agencies and commissions and the need for him to resign as bishop in order to be "in the same category" as his fellow chief executives.

Unprecedented move

The election of an active bishop to oversee a church agency is unprecedented in the 40-year history of The United Methodist Church.

U.S. bishops are elected for life and, while some have resigned for various reasons, none has left for full-time leadership of a church agency. Paup said he wants to "model the possibility" of moving beyond the episcopal role. "There are times when some of us are called to lead a particular ministry in our church," he said.

Paup said his interest in mission grew through his longtime involvement with the work of the Advance for Christ and His Church, the denomination’s second-mile giving program. He served as chairperson of the Advance from 1996 to 2000. Paup said he has been drawn "to the importance of the mission opportunities that we have in Jesus Christ across the globe."

"There are times when some of us are called to lead a particular ministry in our church." –Bishop Edward Paup

The mission agency’s previous chief executive, the Rev. R. Randy Day, was dismissed during the board's annual meeting last October. Its personnel committee did not re-nominate Day and instead called for a vote on May as interim leader. The official reason cited was that the board "was looking for a different style of administrative leadership."

Bishop Joel Martinez, board president, lauded Paup as a "highly experienced" choice to lead the agency, with a deep commitment to mission and a "great vision for the church."

Journey of leadership

A native of Oil City, Pa., and 1967 graduate of Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pa., Paup earned a master of divinity degree from Iliff School of Theology in Denver in 1970, where he was named Alumnus of the Year in 1995 and received an Excellence in Ministry Award the following year.

He was ordained a deacon in the Western Pennsylvania Conference in 1968 and transferred to the Rocky Mountain Conference a year later, where he was ordained an elder in 1970. He served as a pastor in Colorado 1970-89; superintendent of the Utah/Western District 1989-93; and assistant to the bishop 1993-96 before his own election as bishop in 1996.

He served as bishop for the Portland (Ore.) Area until 2004, when he was appointed to the Seattle Area.

Paup served on the General Council on Ministries 1996-2004 and was its president 2000-2004. He was a member of the World Methodist Council Executive Committee 1996-2001 and served on the United Methodist Commission on Communication 1992-96. He was a General and jurisdictional conference delegate in 1988, 1992 and 1996.

He is a member of the board of governors of the Columbia Tower Club in Seattle and the board of trustees of the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash. From 1996 to 2004, he was a board member at Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage, Willamette University in Salem, Ore., and the Northwest House of Theological Studies in Salem.

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

*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in New York.

News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or newsdesk@umcom.org.


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Bishop Edward W. Paup bio

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