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Agency leaders continue work on Areas of Focus

By United Methodist News Service
June 27, 2008

Neil Alexander

In their first meeting since The United Methodist Church’s legislative assembly, leaders of the denomination’s general agencies continued cementing partnerships and planning their work on Four Areas of Focus.

The agencies’ top executives, or general secretaries, met June 24-26 in Washington, D.C., two months after the 2008 General Conference affirmed the Areas of Focus as the emphases of the church.

Neil Alexander, chairperson of the General Secretaries Table and president of the United Methodist Publishing House, told UMNS that the agency leaders reiterated “shared strong commitment for investing staff and other resources to support ministries initiated and implemented across The United Methodist Church.”

The group is fashioning ways to learn from local churches and annual conferences from every corner of the connection, and it is exploring innovative partnerships that will integrate those learnings and share them broadly, Alexander said.

“The general secretaries understand the Four Areas of Focus express the vision and yearnings of the people of The United Methodist Church. We are eager to continue work in place and also innovate by adopting new methods that will increase effectiveness and make a dramatic difference,” Alexander said.

The agency executives met with Bishop Gregory Palmer, president of the Council of Bishops, and Bishop John Hopkins, president of the Connectional Table, as they began concentrated work in joint planning and action strategies.

The four areas focus on:

  • Combating the diseases of poverty by improving health globally.
  • Creating new places for new people and revitalizing existing congregations.
  • Developing principled Christian leaders for the church and the world.
  • Engaging in ministry with the poor.

The General Secretaries Table comprises leaders of the General Council on Finance and Administration, Board of Church and Society, Board of Discipleship, Board of Global Ministries, Board of Higher Education and Ministry, Board of Pension and Health Benefits, Commission on Archives and History, Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns, Commission on Religion and Race, Commission on the Status and Role of Women, Commission on United Methodist Men, United Methodist Communications and United Methodist Publishing House.

News media contact: Tim Tanton, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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