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Pa. treasurer to oversee United Methodist finances

By Marta W. Aldrich*

Moses Kumar

July 9, 2008 | NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS)

The agency overseeing the finances of The United Methodist Church has elected a church treasurer from Eastern Pennsylvania as its new chief executive.

Moses Kumar, 54, of Jeffersonville, Pa., was elected as the sixth general secretary of the General Council on Finance and Administration on July 8 during a special session of its board. He officially begins his tenure on Sept. 1.

He will be responsible for overseeing the Nashville-based agency that coordinates and administers finances for the 11.5 million-member worldwide denomination, as well as safeguarding its legal interests and rights.

Kumar replaces Sandra Lackore, who retired at the close of 2007 after heading the council for 12 years.

With more than 32 years of ministry experience, Kumar has served the past eight years as treasurer and executive director of administrative ministries for the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference. He previously worked at Palmer Theological Seminary in Wynnewood, Pa., where he was vice president for finance and operations.

"I firmly believe that God has called me and provided me with a path to this time and place of global ministry," Kumar said in a prepared statement. "As general secretary of GCFA, I will fully engage my leadership talents to guide the council in fulfilling its ministry of administration."

“I firmly believe that God has called me and provided me with a path to this time and place of global ministry.”
–Moses Kumar
A native of Chennai (Madras), India, Kumar joins the council at a time when the denomination is placing new emphasis on its global connections and is considering significant changes to its worldwide structure. The United Methodist Church is growing in Africa and the Philippines, while its U.S. membership has shrunk to 7.9 million.

"Moses brings a global perspective and an annual conference understanding of the work of GCFA," said Bishop Mary Ann Swenson, president of the council. "… Moses' collegial style, faith perspective and commitment to The United Methodist Church make him a great leadership fit for the future of our denomination."

Bishop Marcus Matthews, who presides over the church's Philadelphia Area, said he has admired Kumar's work as conference treasurer and his "persistence in finding ways to help churches facilitate their ministries." He credited Kumar's commitment to stewardship for helping the conference pay 100 percent of its apportionments in 2007, for the first time in 20 years. Apportionments are contributions requested of U.S. annual conferences to support denominational ministries and administration.

"He is also very committed to mission and has a clear understanding of the directions coming out of the general church for making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world," Matthews said.

Out of 19 applicants, Kumar was recommended to the council by a search committee working with the Center for Non-Profit Management in Nashville.

"The depth and breadth of experience within the applicant pool was impressive and supported a robust and thorough discernment process," Swenson said.

Kumar holds a bachelor of commerce degree from Madras Christian College in India and a master of business administration from Eastern University in St. Davids, Pa.

He and his wife, Felicia, have two grown daughters, Poornima and Penny.

*Aldrich is news editor of United Methodist News Service. This story was based, in part, on a news release by the General Council on Finance and Administration.

News media contact: Marta Aldrich, New York, (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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