Assembly will hold appreciation service for black members
10/23/2003 News media contact: Tim Tanton ∑ (615) 742-5470 ∑ Nashville, Tenn.
This report is a sidebar to UMNS story #505.
A UMNS Report
By J. Richard Peck*
When United Methodists gather for their top legislative
assembly next spring, they will hold a service of appreciation for
African Americans who remained with the denomination during the
The service will be conducted by the
denomination's Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns
and Black Methodists for Church Renewal.
In 2000, the General
Conference held a service of repentance and reconciliation, in which the
church officially apologized for racism that led to the creation of
three historically African-American Methodist denominations. After that
service, however, many United Methodists said that a similar act might
be performed for the black members who stayed in the predominantly white
The service of appreciation was one of many items
discussed by the Commission on General Conference during its Oct. 16-18
meeting in Pittsburgh, site of the 2004 assembly.
In other action, the commission:
Agreed to ask the General Conference to end the practice of allowing
individuals and local churches to petition the assembly directly,
starting in 2008. (See main story.)
¬∑ Agreed to provide an
orientation session for all delegates before the April 27 morning
worship service, while other orientation sessions may still be held for
youth, women, or members of ethnic minority groups.
¬∑ Learned that
the rules committee will continue its plan to ask the delegates to allow
bishops to serve as chairs of legislative committees with vice chairs
to report actions to plenary sessions.
¬∑ Planned for daily Bible study and time with prayer partners for meditation before voting on controversial issues.
Learned that the Rev. Barbara Day Miller, music director for the
conference, has invited more than 50 musical groups, including
liturgical dance teams, drum corps, college, seminary and children
choirs, and a choral group from Mytischi Church in Moscow. The groups
will participate in morning worship, sing during breaks and perform in
the food court.
¬∑ Limited the exhibition area to the 14 general agencies and United Methodist youth.
Heard from Marvin Cropsey, editor of the Daily Christian Advocate, that
the advance edition will be available in English, French, and
¬∑ Learned that no replies have been received to
speaking invitations issued to President George W. Bush or Laura Bush
and to Boris Trajkovski, president of Macedonia.
¬∑ Planned for optional communion services during the noon hour each day.
Agreed to provide J. Allen Gross, chairman of the host committee for
the 2008 General Conference in Fort Worth, a book on hosting
responsibilities with the understanding that similar volumes will be
available to future host committees.
# # #
*Peck is a
retired clergy member of the New York Annual Conference, four-time
editor of the Daily Christian Advocate and editor of the 2000 Book of
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