|New group will study church’s worldwide nature |
Bishop Gregory Palmer
A UMNS Report
By Linda Green*
March 3, 2009
Twenty United Methodists from across the globe have been named to a
committee to develop recommendations related to the worldwide nature of
The United Methodist Church.
The committee members, named by Bishop Gregory Palmer, president of
the Council of Bishops and Bishop John Hopkins, chairperson of the
Connectional Table, will study the denomination’s changing worldwide
demographics as well as its structural needs and take recommendations
to the 2012 General Conference, the denomination’s top legislative
Last May, the 2008 General Conference made a cautious step toward
reorganizing the 11.5 million-member United Methodist Church so it does
not appear to be a U.S. church with satellite locations in Africa, Asia
Delegates voted to consider recommendations proposed by a study
group that submitted 23 petitions to amend the church’s constitution to
allow for the creation of a regional conference for the United States.
The recommendations include the possibility of making the United States
a “central conference” similar to other conferences elsewhere in the
The 2008 delegates requested that the Council of Bishops and the
Connectional Table create a 20-member committee to consider the study
group’s recommendations, and they suggested that the six members of the
early study be included in the new committee. The new group also will
consider the financial implications of proposed changes in structure
and report in 2012.
“The General Conference has asked this committee to do work that
will lead the church in thinking about its future shape and practice,”
Palmer said. “ I pray and trust that they will do their work with deep
faith, enormous sensitivity and an eye only to the glory of God and the
mission of the church … making disciples of Jesus Christ for the
transformation of the world.”
Joint nominating committee
The Council of Bishops and the Connectional Table appointed a joint
nominating committee at their respective meetings last November and
received nominations from their bodies for the study committee’s
“We need to surround the members of this study committee with prayer …”
– Bishop John Hopkins
“The Council of Bishops and the Connectional Table have appointed a
diverse group of gifted United Methodists from all geographical regions
to continue the conversation of the worldwide nature of our church,”
Hopkins said. “We need to surround the members of this study committee
with prayer as they draft the next chapter of God’s worldwide mission
for United Methodists.”
The members of the committee are David Beckley (Mississippi
Conference), Elisabeth Englund (Sweden Conference), the Rev. Ruby-Nell
Estrella (Philippines Conference), Sandra Ferguson
(Baltimore-Washington Conference), Richard Grounds (Oklahoma Indian
Missionary Conference), Bishop John Innis (Liberia Conference) and
Bishop Scott Jones (Kansas West Conference).
Bishop John Hopkins
Also, the Rev. Ilunga Kandolo Kasolwa (North Katanga Conference),
Matthew Laferty (East Ohio Conference), the Rev. Forbes Matonga
(Zimbabwe Conference), the Rev. Timothy McClendon (South Carolina
Conference), Bishop Ruediger Minor (Germany Central Conference),
Christine Mlambo (Zimbabwe East Conference) and the Rev. Lyssette Pérez
(Greater New Jersey Conference).
Also, the Rev. Joon Sik-Park (West Ohio Conference), the Rev. Bruce
Robbins (Minnesota Conference), Bishop Leo Soriano (Davao Area
Conference), the Rev. Cathy Stengel (Western New York Conference),
Marjorie Suchocki (California-Pacific Conference) and Monalisa Tuitahi
Bishop Scott Jones was named chairperson of the committee by the Council of Bishops.
For more information about the Worldwide Nature of the Church Study Committee, contact Jones by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (316) 686-0600.
*Green is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in
Nashville, Tenn. Portions of this article were adapted from a release
from the Connectional Table.
News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or email@example.com.
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