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United Methodist bishops will visit U.S. lawmakers Nov. 5

10/30/2003 News media contact: Tim Tanton · (615) 742-5470 · Nashville, Tenn.

By United Methodist News Service

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Bishop Ruediger Minor, Photo number W03072, Accompanies UMNS#519
By United Methodist News Service

The bishops of the United Methodist Church will spend the afternoon and evening of Nov. 5 visiting with lawmakers and diplomats on Capitol Hill, as part of a weeklong gathering in Washington.

The church's top clergy leaders will have lunch and spend the afternoon at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington. There they will meet with and hear remarks from members of the Senate and House of Representatives.

The day will conclude with a dinner at the J.W. Marriott Hotel, where Moscow Bishop Ruediger Minor, president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, will speak on the state of the church. A number of diplomats representing countries where the United Methodist Church has a presence, as well as members of Congress, have been invited to attend.

The visit of more than 100 bishops to Washington could not be more timely, said host Bishop Felton Edwin May. "Our church and our nation both face critical, indeed historic challenges with far-reaching theological and social implications for our lives and communities of people around the globe," May said.

The council meets twice a year. It comprises 50 active bishops in the United States; 18 bishops in Europe, Asia and Africa; plus about 75 retired bishops worldwide. They lead a denomination of about 10 million members.

The bishops' annual fall meeting begins Nov. 2 with worship and memorial services in the Washington area. Those will include an All Saints service at Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church, where the council will unveil and dedicate a marble-and-bronze memorial tablet honoring John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. The service will commemorate this year's 300th anniversary of Wesley's birth and celebrate his service in the American colonies.

Later in the day, a memorial service will be held at Asbury United Methodist Church. It is believed to be the first time the council's memorial service has been held at a historic African-American church.

Convening at the Doubletree Hotel in Arlington, Va. through Nov. 7, the bishops will discuss a wide range of topics, including their Initiative on Children and Poverty, a holistic plan for ministry in Africa and a strategy for making disciples. They also will spend time in training for their roles as presiding officers at the denomination's legislative assembly, General Conference, which meets April 27-May 7 in Pittsburgh.

While the bishops are meeting, their spouses will be doing volunteer work in United Methodist-related ministries in the Washington and Baltimore areas.

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