Nov. 4, 2004
|A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose
Bishops Leo Soriano (right) and Clifton Ives sign Bibles to be presented to President Bush and first lady Laura Bush.
By Kathy L. Gilbert*
SIMON’S ISLAND, Ga. (UMNS) — In a 200-year-old tradition, United
Methodist bishops signed a Bible to send to President George Bush and
issued a statement of congratulations following his re-election.
at Epworth by the Sea, a United Methodist retreat center, the Council
of Bishops wrote a statement offering prayers and support for the
president and his family as well as U.S. Sen. John Kerry and his family.
The council comprises 130 bishops representing the United Methodist
Church in the United States, Africa, Europe and Asia. The bishops are
the top leaders of the 11 million-member denomination.
bishops offered to work with Bush "to build bridges of understanding."
They also thanked Kerry "for the gracious way he has accepted the
"We are grateful that
President and Mrs. Bush are committed disciples of Jesus Christ, and we
pray that they continue to grow in their discipleship," said Bishop
Peter Weaver, council president and leader of the church’s Boston Area.
|A UMNS photo by Mike Dubose
Methodist Bishop Rhymes H. Moncure says he is looking forward to
establishing a relationship with President Bush in the next four years.
said many of the issues the president listed as priority concerns are
also priorities of the church — war and peace, terrorism and poverty.
is common ground for conversation," he said. "There are different
perspectives, but I believe we all grow when we hear different
Rhymes H. Moncure, whose area includes the Bushes’ home church, said he
is looking forward to establishing a close relationship with the
president. George and Laura Bush are members of Highland Park United
Methodist Church in Dallas.
a prayer before one of the plenary sessions Nov. 3, Moncure said, "God,
help those who might be disappointed to find peace and tranquility.
Reconciliation is always possible."
am looking forward to whatever is in the past being in the past," he
said later. "We have four more years ahead of us, and I know that it
will be four more productive years for the president and his cabinet as
well as the people of the church to work together to bring about the
kinds of changes that he (Bush) would like to see."
know the Council of Bishops wants to have an open line of communication
with President Bush," said Bishop John Schol, assigned to the
the bishop of Washington D.C., I too want to establish a good working
relationship with President Bush and the administration."
"It helps for there
to be a pastoral relationship in which we can provide pastoral care and
concern but also have an opportunity to be in dialogue about the nation
and the world," he added.
|A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose
United Methodist Bishop Hope Morgan Ward reflects on the re-election of President George Bush.
are places where we share common interest and common hope," said Bishop
Hope Morgan Ward, assigned to the Mississippi Area. "The United
Methodist Church has desires for children to have fullness of life. I
would hope that would be one place we could come together and have
common commitment. The church could be a great resource, and we are a
church and the bishops have always had a relationship with the
president dating back to Bishop Francis Asbury and President Washington,
time there is an election, whoever is elected, we express our prayers
and invite the nation to be in prayer," he said. "We reach out to offer
our counsel, our support and offer to continue to be partners in the
pursuit of peace and justice and well-being for all of God’s children."
*Gilbert is a United Methodist News Service news writer in Nashville, Tenn.
News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Council of Bishops’ complete statement follows:
Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church
Congratulates U.S. President George W. Bush
Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church offers its
congratulations to U.S. President George W. Bush as he assumes the
presidency for a second term. We thank Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kerry
for the gracious way he has accepted the voters’ decision. The Council
represents 11 million United Methodists in the United States, Africa,
Europe, and Asia.
prayers are for President Bush, his wife, Laura, and their family, and
for Sen. Kerry, his wife, Teresa, and their family, after the tightly
contested presidential race.
pledge to work with President Bush to build bridges of understanding
that we pray will lead to overcoming the gulfs that divide the nation
and the world.
every nation, where free elections are held, they create crossroads of
opportunities. This year’s U.S. election is no different. The election
process reflected the nation’s concerns about moral values, economic
well-being, and national security. It is of no small consequence that
these are also worldwide concerns growing out of our understanding of
will continue to keep our brother in Christ, and fellow United
Methodist, President Bush, in our prayers. We look forward to building a
constructive relationship with him as we shape a world where we do
justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God.
Bishop Peter D. Weaver, President
On behalf of the Council of Bishops
Nov. 4, 2004
Epworth by the Sea, St. Simons, Ga.