10/1/2003 News media contact: Linda Bloom · (646) 369-3759 · New York
A photograph of Bishop Melvin Talbert is available.
General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns. Photo number W03030, Accompanies UMNS #466
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NEW YORK (UMNS) - Bishop Melvin Talbert will be the
interim leader of the United Methodist Commission on Christian Unity
and Interreligious Concerns.
Beginning in January, he will
temporarily succeed the Rev. Bruce Robbins, who reached the
denomination's 12-year term limit for general secretaries but received a
one-year extension for 2003. In March, Robbins will become senior
minister of Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church in Minneapolis.
who lives in the Nashville, Tenn., area, told United Methodist News
Service he will continue in his part-time role as ecumenical officer for
the denomination's Council of Bishops while performing his new duties
for the commission. He said he would not relocate to New York, where the
commission's office is based, but will travel there for at least
several days each month during his six-month contract.
been a general secretary before, so I know how agencies work," the
bishop said, noting that he served as the first leader of the then-new
Board of Discipleship from 1973 to 1980. He also is a former president
of the National Council of Churches.
The commission has
negotiated with Robbins to work on its behalf when the 2004 General
Conference, the denomination's top legislative body, meets next April in
Pittsburgh. He will be paid for his expenses but won't receive a
salary, Talbert said.
The commission's search committee is
distributing information to possible applicants for the general
secretary position, according to the bishop. It hopes to nominate a
candidate for approval by the denomination's General Council on
Ministries in April.