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Advance giving program undergoes leadership transition

LINK: Click to open full size version of image
A UMNS file photo by Mike DuBose

The Rev. William T. Carter (left) and Joy Magnus (center) with the Advance visit with the Rev. Mary Virginia Taylor - later elected bishop - at a hospitality center for the program in Pittsburgh in 2004.
March 14, 2006

By Elliott Wright*

EL PASO, Texas (UMNS) — A major administrative transition is under way at the Advance for Christ and His Church, the multimillion-dollar designated mission-giving program of the United Methodist Church.

The Rev. William T. Carter, a clergy member of the Northern Illinois Annual (regional) Conference, is preparing for retirement in June after 27 years as the top staff member of the 60-year-old Advance. Two other veteran staff members retired in late February.

Carter announced his plans to retire at a March 9-11 meeting in El Paso of the Advance Committee, which oversees the program for the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.

“The church owes enormous gratitude to Bill Carter for his leadership of the Advance across almost three decades,” said the Rev. R. Randy Day, chief executive of the mission board. “His hand has been steadfast and his heart has been passionate for mission.”

Day will assume the leadership of the Advance on a temporary basis at the end of March, and Carter will continue as a board staff executive until his retirement. The Rev. Rena Yocom, a former board executive and special assistant to Day, also will work with the Advance during the transition period.

The Advance covers hundreds of mission projects and appeals, including disaster relief and missionary support, around the world and in the United States. One hundred percent of every dollar goes to the program stipulated by the contributor. A total of $137.65 million, including donations to South Asia tsunami and Gulf Coast hurricane relief, was given to the Advance in 2005. Contributions in more normal years amount to about $30 million to $35 million.

LINK: Click to open full size version of image
A UMNS file photo by Mike DuBose

Bishop Joel Martinez (left) and the Rev. Paul Dirdak visit a camp in Bateilik, Indonesia, for people displaced by the Dec. 26, 2004, tsunami.

“ The Advance is one of the most important components in mission support,” said Bishop Joel N. Martinez of San Antonio, Board of Global Ministries president. “The transition we are currently experiencing is generational in nature. We are thankful that it is coming at a time when the Advance is strong, a condition that Bill Carter has helped to maintain.”

In his report, Carter noted that from 1948 through 2005, $1.15 billion has been contributed to mission through the Advance. “On behalf of our partners in mission in the United States and around the world, thank you!” he said. “Every gift makes a difference.”

Two longtime staff members, Russell Scott, executive secretary for Advance coordination, and Barbara Campfield, Advance computer coordinator, retired in February.

The denomination’s General Council on Finance and Administration serves as treasurer of the Advance. Since 100 percent of every gift goes to mission, Global Ministries pays staff and overhead costs out of other funds.

*Wright is the information officer for the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.

News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or

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