The Monthly Update

June 2006

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

The next month’s Update will start the coverage of our annual conference meetings, normally we would have received our first report in by now, but have not. This month’s Update presents information on the ideas in the popularized "Da Vinci Code" book and movie, along with other information of what is happening in our denomination and nation.

One issue that is of special interest at this time is the consideration by the U.S. Senate of the "Marriage Protection Amendment"; if you have not already done so, please call your senator and urge him/her to take a stand on this issue. As we have said more than once, the family is fundamental to our society; the country will stand or fall based on the health and viability of the family and as reflected in our Judeo-Christian ethic.

As we enter this time of annual conferences during which legislation is passed, we would urge you to monitor what is happening in each of your gatherings. Become familiar with the issues and inform others. It is important to understand the dynamics in our United Methodist Church and then take responsibility for helping to keep it on course.

Along with this I would like to plead with you to stay in our denomination and work to reform it along biblical priorities. To the extent that you along with all of the rest of us stay active in your local church, work for reform, and support those ministries that do God’s work – with God’s help, all of us can bring about change.

Again, I would urge you to continue praying for the Godly people of St. Paul Church in Fairbanks, Alaska, that they will receive a favorable verdict from the judges of the Alaska Supreme Court and have their property restored to them. They built it; they maintained it; and they cared for it. They are the ones who by rights should have it.

Please remember us as we enter the financially lean summer months. We appreciate your continued prayers and financial help. Without you, our ministry would not be possible.

Finally, as we enter these months please be careful when you drive and engage in the other fun-filled activities associated with summer; we truly want everyone to enjoy a restful, memorable vacation.

In His service,

Allen O. Morris,
Executive Director

June 2006 Update

Bits and Pieces from across the United Methodist Church

It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth.

- The Message by Dr. Eugene H. Peterson, p. 1923.

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The Good Stuff.

+ A grateful nation

I watched the HBO documentary "Baghdad ER," not only to see whether it lived down to the expectations of some conservatives who claimed, without seeing it, that the film would be an anti-war propaganda screed; I also wanted to be reminded of the cost of freedom. The program was "MASH" without as much humor, though there was humor amidst the blood, pain, death and grief. The documentary shows the reality of war. Viewers can read into it whatever they wish, but I found it authentic and compelling. What continues to amaze is how many of the wounded men and women did not want to leave Iraq, preferring to rejoin their units as soon as possible.

Chaplains prayed with the wounded and for the dead. If the ACLU objects, someone should tell them to shut up.

We are told that most people don't have any relatives in today's all-volunteer military, or know anyone who does. That is too bad, because such people are missing out on the privilege of knowing a group of young men and women whose commitment to duty, honor and country is refreshing in a self-centered universe.

Memorial Day honors those who took up arms in the defense of freedom and the common values shared by free people. These men and women lost their lives so that we (and others) could maintain our freedom. Unless you know them, it is difficult to understand their reasons for leaving behind comfort and loved ones to give their lives so that others might live in freedom.

Eighteen months ago, I wrote about a remarkable young man who I have known since his birth. Specialist Daniel Calvin Dobson of Grand Rapids, Mich., joined the National Guard with the intention of going to Iraq. He served and he came home. Next week, he leaves for a second tour. He tells me the Army has a policy that anyone who has already served in Iraq is not required to go back should his unit be recalled. Daniel volunteered to go back.

In e-mail to his friends, he asks three things: "First, do not lose hope in the face of negative reporting. We are doing good work in Iraq and God is with us. Second, pray for those of us who have chosen to serve our nation and the liberties espoused by our Constitution. Third, I ask that you never take advantage of the liberties guaranteed by the shedding of free blood, never take for granted the freedoms granted by our Constitution. For those liberties would be merely ink on paper were it not for the sacrifice of generations of Americans who heard the call of duty and responded heart, mind and soul with 'Yes, I will.'"

In a new book, "Home of the Brave: Honoring the Unsung Heroes in the War on Terror," the late Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger and presidential speechwriter and scholar Wynton C. Hall write of such men: "Every morning, in cities all across the world, 2.4 million Americans wake up, put on a uniform, kiss their loved ones goodbye, and head out the door to defend freedom. In exchange, they ask for nothing: not wealth, not power, not celebrity. To them, protecting America is a privilege, an honor, a solemn duty that has been passed like a torch from their parents and grandparents before them. "As First Sergeant Justin LeHew told us, 'It's all the crosses in Arlington Cemetery. It's all those GIs who died over there with my dad on Omaha Beach. You want your generation to do America justice like that one did. 'And they did."

They did, indeed. And they still are doing America justice and doing America proud.

Find a veteran this Memorial Day weekend and say, "thank you for my freedom." Visit a military cemetery and thank God someone was willing to die so you and I might live in freedom. And support those, like my friend Daniel Dobson, who for the second time is about to make an installment payment toward the price free people must pay in order that we might continue to enjoy liberty. [Note: You could thank a serviceman or veteran at any time.]

- by Cal Thomas, May 26, 2006. Cal Thomas is the co-author of Blinded By Might.

E-mail received from Capt. W.E. Saunders, Key West, Florida.

+ Outreach effort provides cards, packages to soldiers

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. - When a package Cheryl Price had sent her son was lost in the mail, God gave her a vision for a ministry that is now touching the lives of hundreds of soldiers. "I have a son who is in the Air Force, and he was sent to Korea just before Christmas, so I had sent a package, and he never received it," Price said. "He went to the post office every day and looked for this package. … I knew that there must be others in the same desperate situation, looking and longing for a package from home." Price told this story to Ken Beers, the missions director at First United Methodist Church of Coral Springs, and the lost package became the catalyst for the church's Military Mission Project. That was two years ago.

Price and Beers' mission was to send a card or package to the men and women from their church serving in the military. Soon, they expanded the mission outreach to "anyone who knew someone in the military." After a couple of months, 35 men and women were on their mailing list. "At Christmas time, we received a letter from a chaplain. He stated that he had 2,500 men that did not have access to a PX and relied on getting packages from the states for basic hygiene items," Price said. "We did a big pack and ship party. Our youth got involved and many members of the church. The congregation, the youth, even the little ones in the Sunday school and Sandwich Club made cards. We were able to mail packages to 1,000 men and women. "A little extra shopping for deodorant, candy, some beef jerky, a card, prayers and words of encouragement go a long way."

'Powerful testimony': The Military Mission Project has since set up a collection bin in the church. Each week, members of the congregation donate items the ministry can pack and ship. Some church members give donations directly to support this ministry. "Cheryl Price has received a hundred e-mails and pictures from solders and sailors in Afghanistan, Iraq and Turkey who received her care packages. I read most of the e-mails, and they give praise and glory to God for the church, the ministry and the gifts," said the Rev. Frank Fitzsimmons, associate pastor at the church. "The care packages bring joy and hope and a little bit of home to our kids so far away," he said. "The story of this work is a powerful testimony of how God works through people who reach out of their comfort zone to relieve the suffering of our young men and women in harm's way."

Matthew Arnold is one of the soldiers stationed in Iraq who has received a package from the church. He wrote a letter to the congregation soon after battling a kidnap-murder ring near Baghdad. He thanked members for two packages he had received that were filled with snacks, soap, shampoo and similar items. "The great variety of snacks included ensured there was something for everybody, and we all send our deepest thanks," Arnold wrote. "My team commander is a big fan of Easter Peeps (candy), so he especially sends his thank you. We all thank you very much for remembering us and making today a little brighter."

Making a difference.

Anthony Gucciardo is serving with the Navy in Iraq. He received a card from the church thanking him for his service and signed by a number of church members. He sent a letter in response, thanking the church for the "heart-felt thoughts and prayers." "Your letters, cards, packages and prayers have a profound effect on not only the service member but our families, as well," he wrote. "A 'normal' deployment is challenging enough for military families. When you add the circumstances of the current conflict, those challenges compound themselves. As our immediate families struggle to persevere, we are shored up by the kindness, spirit and love freely given by fellow Americans like you. I thank you; my family thanks you."

The church mission team hopes the Military Mission Project will catch on and other churches will begin a similar ministry so every soldier might be able to receive a package every month. "They are the heroes," Price said. "We can make such a difference in their lives by doing just a small thing by sending letters or packages."

- By Steven Skelley, Kathy Gilbert, United Methodist News Service (UMNS); Nashville {306}; May. 25, 2006. Skelley is

a freelance writer based in Beverly Hills, Fla. This first appeared in e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.

Of Interest.

+Diverse Faith Groups Unite to Push for Federal Marriage Amendment

Several major religious denominations have come together to urge the U.S. Senate to approve a marriage amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The Religious Coalition for Marriage has released a statement signed by 50 leaders and expressing support for the proposed federal marriage protection amendment. The Coalition is comprised of all eight U.S. Catholic cardinals, as well as officials of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Church of God in Christ, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, and the National Association of Evangelicals. While diverse in many ways, the groups represented share a singleness of purpose -- the protection of traditional marriage.

As Dr. Richard Land of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention notes, this alliance of faith groups is "truly an historic coalition." He notes that this is the first time these churches, religious leaders, and institutions have coordinated their efforts on this scale. Land says this has happened because a constitutional amendment is needed to preserve marriage from "radical activists acting through activist courts." These activists who are pushing to legalize marriage between homosexuals are, he asserts, "determined to reinterpret this fundamental institution in novel ways and against the will of the American people."

American Family Association founder and chairman Don Wildmon believes the united effort of these groups is a testament to the importance of one-man, one-woman marriage to all of society. He says the groups involved are representing countless other pro-family Americans who want traditional marriage protected from those seeking to redefine it. "People are getting fed up with having homosexual marriage crammed down their throats by activist judges across the country," Wildmon says, "and we are absolutely thrilled that all of these groups have come together." While many of the coalition's members "have very divergent and different theological perspectives," he notes, "they do agree that marriage should be only between one man and one woman."

Also, the AFA spokesman contends, the coalition members realize that pastors and other faith community leaders cannot remain silent on this crucial issue any longer. He warns those who choose to stay quietly on the sidelines while biblical marriage is under attack that "the day will come" when they may wish they had spoken out. "Because of your silence," Wildmon says, "if this thing passes -- if homosexual marriage becomes legal -- the day will come when you will be silenced, and it will be too late to do anything about it at that point in time. That's just the bottom line."

The Federal Marriage Amendment was voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. Next, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist will bring the marriage protection measure, known as Senate Joint Resolution 1, to the floor for a vote on June 6. The Religious Coalition for Marriage is mounting a major grassroots campaign of support in advance of the vote. A letter has gone out to all Catholic bishops from the U.S. Conference and the Knights of Columbus have alerted their members nationwide as well.

Meanwhile, the highest authority in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Quorum of Twelve, has endorsed the marriage amendment. And at the same time, all 43,000 Southern Baptist churches are being asked to take part in the campaign to advance the marriage protection measure and see it approved.

The Coalition has also launched a website ( that enables church members to send messages urging their senators to approve the Federal Marriage Amendment, and a major grassroots postcard writing campaign is under way as well. Campaign organizers are predicting the Senate will receive millions of postcards and messages expressing support for the amendment.

- By Allie Martin and Jenni Parker, AgapePress, May 25, 2006.

+ The National Council of Churches (NCC) and The Da Vinci Code. Code Turkey – A Special Report

[Note: Mark Tooley is right on target here: The NCC has for too many years confused a political with a spiritual agenda. Furthermore, contrary to what may be implied by the association of the name "Da Vinci" with this book and move, the great scientist Leonardo Da Vinci did not support the heretical ideas put forth in this book and movie.]

Roman Catholics and Evangelicals have challenged The Da Vinci Code for proposing that Christianity is a hoax perpetrated on the world for nearly 2000 years. The liberal National Council of Churches (NCC) is also concerned about the new movie, because it overlooks Jesus' supposed endorsement of its left-leaning political themes.

"Real-life scenarios are present daily that contradict the Gospel of Jesus Christ," the NCC announced in a special Da Vinci news release. "Too often it is those issues that have far-reaching affects on people's lives, and their faith, but they go without any word of protest or rebuttal -- issues like war, poverty, racial and economic injustice, the devastation experienced after hurricanes and tsunamis and the negative impact of global climate change, to name a few." The real Jesus "cared for creation and called us to stand up for peace and justice in the world," just like the NCC, according to the NCC. Its latest causes include opposing the U.S. military presence in Iraq, demanding an increased minimum wage, opposing U.S. "torture" of war on terror detainees, and demanding U.S. compliance with the Kyoto accord. Apparently Da Vinci fails because it neglects to include Jesus' stance on these issues.

Of course, most Christian objections to The Da Vinci Code focus on its central thesis that the early church, coerced by the Emperor Constantine, took Jesus the man and turned him into Jesus the God. At the same time, according to Da Vinci, the church imposed the canon of Scripture, suppressing all the Gnostic gospels in favor of Matthew-Mark-Luke and John. The real Jesus, we are told, married and had children with Mary Magdalene. But the male-led church denied the existence of Mrs. Jesus, not wanting to acknowledge her mystical feminine powers and dilute its own preferred patriarchal emphasis. According to Da Vinci, the church has kept all of this under wraps for centuries through coercion, blackmail, and murder, until Da Vinci's hero unravels it all. Da Vinci denies Christianity's understanding of the deity of Christ, salvation, the church, and the Bible.

But none of that apparently distresses the NCC all that much, or at least to enough to merit specific mention in its special Da Vinci news release. "In the midst of the media frenzy, let us not forget that The Da Vinci Code is a work of fiction that does not accurately depict the life and ministry of Jesus or the traditions of the Church," the NCC notes. But the distortions that concern to distress the NCC are that Da Vinci leaves out Jesus' supposed social justice advocacy. "We pray that those who see this movie will want to know more about Jesus Christ," the NCC declares. "And, we call on our Christian brothers and sisters to uncover distortions of biblical truths not only in entertainment but in policies and actions

perpetuated in our society every day. Neither The Da Vinci Code, nor any other work of fiction, will alter the beliefs, mission or work of individual churches or the National Council of Churches. We will not be diverted from the gospel imperative to care for creation, do justice and work for peace regardless of what the distractions of current culture may offer."

For the NCC, that is the real work of Jesus: lobbying, protesting, and organizing on behalf of the NCC's political agenda of the Left. Proclaiming the Lordship of Christ as the Son of God is not a major agenda item for the NCC. Indeed, it goes unmentioned in the NCC's Da Vinci news release. The NCC does note with hope that Da Vinci will provide "an opportunity for all Christians to share their faith when friends ask what they think about the movie." But one suspects that "sharing their faith," from the NCC perspective, entails talking about Global Warming and complaining about the Bush Administration's failures in post-Katrina New Orleans.

"The story of Jesus as told throughout the centuries is compelling," the NCC concludes, with all of the enthusiasm typically found in a perfunctory Christmas message from a member of the British royal family. The NCC cites "true biblical teachings," but does not explain them as anything more than the latest crusade to expand the welfare and regulatory state.

It is hard fully to understand what exactly the NC[C] really finds so objectionable about Da Vinci. Deconstructing core Christian theology would not distress the NCC all that much. The NCC is lead by old-line Protestant churches whose seminaries and prelates led the way a century ago in denying Christ's literal deity, virgin birth, bodily resurrection and miracles, not to mention the authority of the Scriptures. The resulting "Social Gospel," which focused on political and economic justice from an exclusively left-of-center perspective, became the rallying cry of the NCC, which was founded after World War II by liberal Protestants who had discarded the old "fundamentalism."

Unfortunately for the NCC, the Social Gospel ran out of steam after the 1960s, and the NCC's pillar denominations have been losing members continuously for 40 years. Meanwhile, the old "fundamentalism" morphed into a new evangelical movement that has displaced and surpassed the old Protestant establishment.

A typical American Protestant today is more likely to be sitting in a mega-church auditorium than an old Episcopal gothic sanctuary. And that mega-church Protestant is far likelier to hear a critique of Da Vinci that is more theologically substantive than the NCC's regret that Da Vinci's version of Jesus is not sufficiently politically outspoken.

- Special Report by Mark Tooley, The Institute on Religion and Democracy, 1023 15th Street NW, Suite 601,

Washington, DC 20005. Published 5/22/2006 12:07:33 AM. Mark Tooley directs the United

Methodist committee at the Institute on Religion and Democracy in Washington, D.C.

+ Pastors and Laity Differ on Spending Priorities

A survey of Protestant pastors and churchgoers shows significant differences in the ways the groups would spend an unexpected surge in income in their churches. The top priority for pastors was to improve church facilities. About half as

many laypeople agreed, but they would also want to retire church debt and help the needy. The studies, conducted by Ellison Research, compared responses to companion surveys of 504 Protestant pastors and 1,184 congregants who attend

church at least once per month. The survey found that 31% of pastors would spend a "sudden financial windfall" on buildings or facilities, compared to 17% of lay people. Published in the May/June edition of Facts & Times, the study provided options for pastors and churchgoers to select their priorities for spending a sudden swell in the budget. Eighteen percent of churchgoers and 12% of pastors chose paying off debts as a main concern. Laity and clergy from larger churches were more likely to stress this than those from small or medium-sized churches. Spending on social programs was a priority for 18% of laity but just 6% of pastors. Evangelism was identified as a primary concern for both groups, with 26% of clergy and 25% of laity saying money should go toward those efforts. The survey also concluded that only 1% of pastors would raise staff pay or benefits. Ron Sellers, president of Ellison Research, noted that "virtually all ministers are thinking first about their church, their community, or the world at large before their own needs."

- Newscope, May 26, 2006.

(UM) Bishops. Commentary: New bishops' president personifies Wesleyan ideals

[Note: Those of us in Concerned Methodists do not see this "personification" nor the similarities stated in this story.]

Witnessing the passing of the gavel to Bishop Janice Riggle Huie of the Houston Area reminded me of how far we have come as a denomination since 1956. On May 10, at a noon service in the Simpson Memorial Chapel of the United Methodist Building in Washington, Huie became the 38th president of the Council of Bishops and its second female president. The event reminded attendees that just 50 years ago this month, on May 4, women in the Methodist Church were granted full clergy rights. Another milestone was reached in 1980, when Marjorie Swank Matthews was elected the first female bishop. Four years later, Leontine T. Kelly was elected the first woman bishop of color. Since 1980, the church has elected 21 women bishops. In her acceptance remarks, Huie spoke of her yearning to return to the time when Methodism was seen as a movement instead of an institution. She spoke of reclaiming a sense of the Wesleyan tradition of social holiness. We have differences and fences to mend, but Huie made it clear in her message that we as United Methodists may differ on any number of opinions, but we need to be united on the essentials of the Christian faith.

For John Wesley, belief in the Holy Spirit, the final authority of Scripture and ministry with the poor were essentials of Christian teaching. We must let the Holy Spirit guide us in seeking answers and solutions to our differences. We cannot solve these differences with denial, rage or degradation.

[Note: We only wish that were so. Huie is the bishop who presided over the 2004 General Conference at the time that the pro-homosexual parade invaded the conference floor. Huie "welcomed them" and allowed them onto the conference floor, and invited the General Conference delegates to do the same. Her actions were see as being illegal. What Bishop Huie does not say is that John Wesley emphasized moral purity also and saving people from their sins; her actions are seen as not consonant with Wesley’s positions on many of the essentials of the faith. We shall see how her tenure is conducted.

- By the Rev. Chester Jones; Kathy Gilbert, UMNS; Nashville {310}; May 26, 2006.

(UM) General Board of Church and Society (GBCS).

+ Lobbyist for President Bush's Church Calls for Impeachment

"Impeach President Bush!" urged Jim Winkler, head of the Capitol Hill-based United Methodist Board of Church and Society. Winkler was speaking earlier this spring here in Washington, D.C., to an "Ecumenical Advocacy Days" rally for liberal religious activists. 

Jim Winkler, General Secretary of the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society.Winkler declared, "Despite the President's insistence he was placed in office by God for this moment, there was nothing Christian in his response to September 11."  The call for impeachment by Winkler showed up on several pro-impeachment websites recently across the nation.

The director of IRD's committee for United Methodists responded to Winkler's impeachment speech:  "He would make a good spokesman for, but he does not represent mainstream opinion in the denomination for which he purports to speak," said Mark Tooley. United Methodism in the U.S. has 8 million members, including both Bush and Vice President Cheney.

In his impeachment speech, Winkler faulted Bush for an "illegal war of aggression" that was "sold on lies."  He condemned "the war on terror" as a "a war of terror."  The Methodist lobbyist also called U.S. intelligence agencies "the secret police," rejecting National Security Agency monitoring of phone calls and records as "unconstitutional."  He advocated an 80 percent cut in U.S. military spending. "These are actions far more serious than a failed land deal on the White River or a sexual indiscretion with a White House intern," Winkler said, implicitly comparing Bush to Clinton, whose impeachment was never urged by Winkler's agency.

Winkler called Bush's removal a religious imperative:  "When I speak it is my desire to bring about the transformation of people and systems in order to advance the Kingdom of God even when it is painful."

IRD's Tooley concluded, "Most United Methodists do not look to a liberal church lobby office for political guidance.  Instead, they expect their church to provide spiritual and moral guidance.  Unfortunately, United Methodism has lost 3 million members in 40 years thanks in part to the misplaced priorities of agencies like Winkler's, which confuse partisan politics with the Gospel."

- Press Release from the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), John Lomperis, May 26, 2006.

The IRD report is at:

 [Winkler’s speech is: (

+ Immigration bill falls short, United Methodist leaders say

The immigration bill passed May 25 by the U.S. Senate does improve border security, create a guest worker program and open the door to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants, but it is still not just or adequate, according to some United Methodist leaders. "The Senate bill doesn't go far enough," said Bill Mefford, executive with the United Methodist Board of Church and Society. "It doesn't create a pathway for all, and it doesn't protect workers' rights." He also pointed out the bill doesn't address family reunification. "In keeping with positions of the United Methodist Church and the Board of Global Ministries, I call on Congress to adopt comprehensive immigration policy that respects the full human rights of all immigrants," said the Rev. R. Randy Day, chief executive of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, in a May 25 statement. "This should include full labor protections, family reunification, preservation of due process and a path to genuine legalization."

[Note: Whatever any branches of government do is never enough for members of the GBCS who espouse a far-left agenda. The Senate bill bends over backward in giving rights to those who are in this country illegally; some say the Senate had gone too far.] - Kathy Gilbert, UMNS; Nashville {311}; May. 26, 2006.

[Another view from the Family Research Council: Voters: No Amnesty for Errant Lawmakers

The Senate passed what is termed a "comprehensive" immigration bill last night. It is incomprehensible that those who voted for this legislation are so out of touch with the American people. Voters will not give amnesty to lawmakers who fail to stem the tide of illegal immigration into this country. While the bill pays lip service to securing our borders, it also manages to create one of the most elaborate amnesty programs for those who enter our country illegally. The bill's "guest worker" program would allow millions of illegal immigrants to qualify for permanent green cards within four years - a much shorter time period than those who come to our shores legally. In addition the Senate voted in favor of granting illegal immigrants Social Security benefits and allowing them to receive taxpayer money through the Earned Income Credit. The Heritage Foundation estimates that if the Senate bill becomes law, it could cost up to $50 billion annually - which does not include the costs to local governments in health care and education costs for illegal immigrants. If the Senate truly supported immigration reform, they would have followed the approach of Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE). Senator Nelson, alongside Senators Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Tom Coburn (R-OK), introduced legislation last year that solves the border security problem where it starts--at our borders. That's what the Senate should have passed. I understand the package that did pass is DOA (dead on arrival) in the House. Good.

- Received by E-mail, the Family Research Council, May 26, 2006.]

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God has no use for the prayers of the people who won’t listen to him.

The Message by Dr. Eugene H. Peterson, p. 1152.

Global Outlook

I have learned that just because I have pain, I don’t have to BE one.

- LoveLights edited by Mrs. Betty Linthicum,, March-April, 2005

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The World Council of Churches (WCC) New WCC executive committee addresses world issues

Meeting May 16-19 at the Bossey Ecumenical Institute outside Geneva, Switzerland, the executive committee led by the new moderator, the Rev. Walter Altmann of Brazil, was elected at that time. Committee members include the Rev. Larry Pickens, chief executive, United Methodist Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns. Statements on the Sudan, the Israeli/Palestinian situation, Iran and the new U.N. Human Rights Council emerged from the meeting. In addition, a letter signed by WCC leaders expressed concern to churches in Brazil about recent outbreaks of violence there. One of the tasks of both the executive committee and the 150-member WCC Central Committee, which meets Aug. 30-Sept. 6, will be to follow up on reconfiguring the council and ecumenical movement. Pickens said the committee affirmed six program areas: the council as an instrument of the ecumenical movement; unity, mission and spirituality; public witness and advocacy for justice and human dignity; justice and diaconia, or servanthood; ecumenical faith formation; and interreligious dialogue and cooperation.

[Note: The far-left WCC has been involved in political activism for over fifty years. It has far outlived its usefulness.]

- By Linda Bloom, UMNS, New York {303}; May. 23, 2006.

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Does my American flag offend you? Then call "1-800-LEAVE-THE-USA"

- Seen on the back of a pick up truck flying an American flag.

Published by Concerned Methodists, P.O. Box 2864, Fayetteville, NC 28302. Tel. 910/488-4379; FAX: 910/488-5090

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