Sept. 29, 2004
By Linda Bloom*
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.
(UMNS) - Sitting in the projected path of Hurricane Jeanne, members of
the United Methodist Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious
Concerns officially marked a new era of leadership.
Bishop Ann B. Sherer
the Sept. 22-24 organizing meeting in Daytona Beach - shortened a day
and a half because of the hurricane - commission members noted a number
of "firsts." The Rev. Larry Pickens was installed as the youngest chief
executive and the first African-American to lead the church agency.
Bishop Ann Sherer of Lincoln, Neb., became the first woman president to
lead the commission. Sherer and Bishop Minerva Carcano of Phoenix also
became the first female bishops to serve as commission members.
a 45-year-old Illinois pastor and attorney, became the commission’s
general secretary July 1. He succeeded the Rev. Bruce Robbins, who left
at the end of 2003 after 13 years in that position. Bishop Melvin
Talbert was the interim leader.
- who until recently served as the United Methodist Council of Bishops’
ecumenical officer - offered a salute to Pickens during his Sept. 24
installation service at Bethune-Cookman College, a historically black
college associated with the denomination. He recalled their years of
friendship, adding, "Tonight, I look out on him as one of my sons in
Buoyed by music from
the Bethune-Cookman chorale, commission members crowded near Pickens as
he pledged himself to God and the work of the church. The installation
service was preceded by a dinner at the college, where the group was
joined by Trudy Kibbe-Reed, the school’s new president.
Bishop Minerva Carcano
Sherer, the new commission officers are Jerry Ruth Williams,
Chesterfield, Mo., vice president and Lonnie Brooks, Anchorage, Alaska,
secretary. Clare Chapman, staff executive director of finance and
administration, serves as recording secretary.
other personnel matters, the commission learned that the Rev. Betty
Gamble, a staff executive, will take early retirement in January.
Another executive, Anne Marshall, also left the commission this year.
The personnel committee will serve as a search committee in the hiring
of two new staff members.
*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in New York.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.