The Monthly Update

June 2003 Update


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:


As a reminder, please note that our new e-mail address is:


This edition of the Monthly Update contains the first of this year's summaries of the annual conference meetings from the Methodist Church around the world. Most of these events are held in the United States.


In addition along with the June Monthly Update we are sending the summer edition of The Christian Methodist Newsletter. We believe that you will find this information helpful when evaluating the true priorities of the General Church, that is the United Methodist Church that exists at levels above the individual Annual Conferences. It is this level of the hierarchy of our denomination that is supported by a great deal of money from the people in the pews and at the same time is very visible in the public sector.


Regarding Iraq, while not a great deal of attention is given to this area, we still want to keep the situation there in our prayers, as we also want to remember the men and women in that part of the world who are serving in our armed forces for the cause of freedom. We also need to remember President Bush.


May I ask one other favor of you? Please continue to pray for our country. It was founded on a belief in God - the God of the Bible. Our country is built on the Judeo-Christian heritage and adherence to its beliefs. During the last four decades we have drifted away from that foundation and into non-religious beliefs, pagan religions, and secular humanism - belief that human beings are the final arbiter of morality. The problem with this latter belief is that we are flawed and have an inadequate understanding of spiritual truths that range beyond human reasoning. This combined with beliefs in other religions strikes at the root causes of our country's greatness. With the spiritual and moral foundations of our country undermined - our long-term strength as a country is being eroded.


Please pray for revival - that tens of millions of Americans will come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior. When they do, there will be an increased awareness of God's standards  and our country's need to return to him.


I thank you.

                                                                                                In His service,




                                                                                                Allen O. Morris,

                                                                                                Executive Director


 June 2003 Update


Bits and Pieces from across the United Methodist Church


When you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock somewhere else.

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Note: The sayings used in this "Monthly Update" were some of the favorites of Jim Shirley, a Christian businessman who was an inspiration to those who knew him. He passed away on April 8th of this year. The last "saying" I'd heard about from him was what he said shortly before he died at age 77 of Parkinson's Disease: "The Lord has already spoken to me. I'll be going home soon." he said as he pointed upwards. - Editor


(UM) Bishops.

+ Membership Growth Report Debated by Bishops

The UM Council of Bishops, meeting April 28-May 2 in a suburb of Dallas, received a report on church membership that caused some to focus on the decline of UM membership in the United States. The percentage of U.S. congregations not receiving at least one member on confession of faith or “restored” status increased from 37.8% in 1984 to 40.7% in 2000, according to the report “Making Disciples for Jesus Christ.” Bishop John Hopkins (Minnesota Area) presented the report on behalf of the Council of Bishops' committee on pastoral concerns. The report also showed that in 2002, the denomination's membership grew beyond the ten million mark for the first time since 1979. That increase was due to growth in numbers outside the United States, particularly in Africa. Two African bishops offered a different perspective on the vitality of the church from that reflected in the U.S. membership data. “Why are we talking about the decline of membership?” asked Bishop Emilio DeCarvalho (retired) of Luanda, Angola. “Thousands and thousands of children are attending Sunday school in Africa.” Bishop Joao Somane Machado (Mozambique Area) noted that the bishops whose areas are growing in membership have not been asked how their churches are growing. “In Africa, we are evangelizing,” he told the council. “It's like you don't want to hear that word anymore.” How, he asked, can the bishops exchange and share information so that U.S. bishops can benefit from the experience of African bishops?

            The data showed that the central conferences have nearly 20% of the UMC's membership, with Africa accounting for 16%; Southeast Asia, 2%; and Europe, 1%. The Southeastern Jurisdiction has 28% of the members; South Central, 18%; North Central, 16%; Northeastern, 15%; and Western, 4%.

            The Southeastern and South Central jurisdictions were the only two in the United States that had increases in the numbers of people received on confession of faith in 2000 compared with 1984. The breakdown: Southeastern, up 17.4%; South Central, up 14%; Western, down 11.3%; Northeastern, down 14.4%; and North Central, down 15.6%.

            As of 2000, UMs represented 3.7% of the U.S. population, compared with 7.1% for Southern Baptists and 22% for Roman Catholics. The report also noted the widespread presence of the UMC. “Out of the 3,171 counties in the United States, the United Methodist Church has a congregational presence in 3,003 counties, more than any other denomination in the United States.”

                                                - United Methodist News Service (UMNS), as reported in Newscope, May 16, 2003.


+ Council of Bishops Supports New Leadership, Structure

As the UM Council of Bishops transitioned from the presidency of Bishop Sharon A. Brown Christopher (Illinois Area) to its first-ever leader from the former Soviet bloc, the bishops also proposed a new organizational structure for its leadership during the April 28-May 2 meeting. The episcopal leader of the UMC in Russia, Bishop Ruediger R. Minor (Eurasia Area), was elected by his fellow bishops for a one-year term as president of the international Council of Bishops. There are 50 active bishops in the UMC, with 18 serving outside the United States. The council approved the concept of having a two-year president, a move that would lead to doubling the length of time a bishop holds that office. In addition, a retired bishop serving in the new position of vice president would handle much of the day-to-day work. An administrative assistant and an ecumenical officer-also a retired bishop-would round out the staff. The president would be an active bishop and would continue overseeing a geographic area. The plan, which will go back to the Council of Bishops at its fall meeting for final approval, also calls for establishing a permanent office for the council at a location yet to be determined. The bishops also voted 21-20 to ask the denomination's top legislative assembly to approve changing the church's constitution to give them the flexibility of having a four-year president with no duties for overseeing a geographic area. That proposal will go to General Conference, which meets next spring in Pittsburgh. The narrow margin reflected, at least in part, the opposition of some bishops to the idea of a four-year president. A term of that duration, some argued, would limit the number of people who could hold the office, curtailing diversity in the presidency and the sharing of different styles of leadership.[Note: We any increase in the numbers of bishops - and this action would call for the creation of one more bishop.]                 - UMNS, as reported in Newscope, May 16, 2003.


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

+ Board approves $114,000 in ethnic program grants

HERNDON, Va. (UMNS) - Programs serving ethnic minorities will receive more than $100,000 in grants authorized by the United Methodist Board of Church and Society. In all, eight grants totaling $114,000 were given for advocacy and justice-oriented programs in the United States and the African country of Ghana. The Ethnic Local Church Fund was created to help the denomination's program boards support local church and annual conference ministries in each board's area of concern. The largest grant awarded this spring, $40,000, will help support the Ethnic Young Adult Summer Interns at the board for the eight weeks they will spend in the nation's capital. They will work in advocacy and serving as resource people for annual conferences, campus ministries, ethnic caucuses and state and federal offices. Issue seminars supplement their placements and include such topics as gender equity and violence against women, racism and racial justice, and economic justice and poverty. Applicants include young adults from the central conferences - regional units of the church in Africa, Europe and Asia - who are already in the United States. The multicultural group also learns about the United Methodist Church and how it addresses the issues. A $20,000 grant will support a program in the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference that serves Native American youth of 88 churches. The One Voice One Community program is aimed at developing in the young a political consciousness as native people.

[Note: We question whether this is a wise use of the money given so faithfully by the people in the pews. - Editor]

                                                - UMNS; Joretta Purdue; Washington; 10-32-33-71BI{175}; March 26, 2003.


+ Pace with Justice grants to help a variety of causes

A total of $49,400 in Peace with Justice grants has been awarded to 20 organizations throughout the world.

- Grants of $5,000 each were given to Mental Health Ministries in Pasadena, Calif., and Empowerment through Education and Social Action in Kidapawan City, Philippines.

- Two $4,000 grants were awarded to the Task Force on Latin America and the Caribbean, the Washington Office on Vieques (Puerto Rico), and Outreach to Community Youth for Peace in Oklahoma City.

- Youth Cultural Action on Militarism and U.S. Intervention, in Kidapawan City, Philippines, and Campus Bound/College Ready in Los Angeles each received $3,000 grants.

- Four groups received $2,500 contributions to their programs: INTERACT in New Smyrna Beach, Fla.; PeaceMobile - Houston Project, headquartered in Dickinson, Texas; Fostering Families/Operation Turnaround in Columbia, S.C.; and Justice for the Homeless in Cincinnati.

- Grants of $2,000 were given to five programs: Youth at Risk Justice Ministry in San Antonio; Living Wage Campaign in Memphis, Tenn.; Global Peace and Justice Advocacy in Toledo, Ohio; Hillsborough House of Hope in Tampa, Fla.; and Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, in Richmond, Va.

[Note: We again question whether this is a wise use of the money given so faithfully by the people in the pews. - Editor]

                                                - UMNS; Joretta Purdue; Washington; 10-32-33-71BI{176}; March 26, 2003.


(UM) General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM).

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. The United Methodist Board of Global Ministries met April 7-10.

Board directors forwarded a raft of social resolutions to be considered by the denomination's top legislative body.

In a resolution on North Korea, directors affirmed the longtime relationship between the Board of Global Ministries and the Korean Christian Federation of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, as well as the denomination's continuing work toward a peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula. They urged the United States and North Korea "to reopen a dialogue to resolve all issues related to nuclear proliferation and work toward a non-aggression pact." The U.S. government also was urged to lift economic sanctions against North Korea and provide humanitarian assistance there. [Note: The GBGM advocates for reunification of the North and the South without considering human rights issues, a very ill-advised position. - Editor]                 - UMNS; Linda Bloom; New York; 10-21-31-35-71BI{217}; April 11, 2003.


(UM) General Conference. Committee proposes bishops as legislative chairs

The committee that establishes rules for the United Methodist Church's lawmaking assembly has recommended that bishops - rather than elected laity or clergy - lead the assembly's legislative committees, beginning in 2004.The 10-member Committee on Plan of Organization and Rules of General Conference, meeting in Chicago May 3, proposed that two bishops be assigned as chairpersons for each of the 11 legislative committees that review and recommend petitions to General Conference. If approved by the opening plenary of the 2004 General Conference, the rule change would go into effect at that session of the church's assembly, which meets every four years. The Rev. Jerome K. Del Pino, top executive with the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry, is chairman of the rules committee.



            The current rules stipulate that, once legislative committees are organized at General Conference, committee members themselves elect one of their own as chairperson. Supporters of the rule change say the current practice is problematic because committee leadership may be uneven, depending on who is elected, and because it removes those chairpersons - elected delegates from the church's regional units - from participating in discussion and debate.[Note: This is seen as a move that would increase control of the General Conference and frustrate the move toward much-needed change. - Editor.]                                    - UMNS; M. Garlinda Burton; Nashville, Tenn.; 10-71BP{274}; May 9, 2003.


(UM) General Council on Finance and Administration.

+ The General Council on Finance and Administration directors reduced the previously approved salary increase for bishops in the United States from 7.9% to 4% of current levels at their May 19-22 directors meeting. The directors also froze office expenses for bishops at 2003 levels because reserves have been depleted. Directors authorized funding for each of them to attend the second week of General Conference, and they authorized the GCFA executive committee to act for the whole agency during the first week of that event as needed. [Note: It seems that as much money as the bishops make they could attend General Conference at their own expense. - Allen Morris]


+ Finance Council Approves Office Move, Examines UMC Budget

The General Council on Finance and Administration, meeting May 19-22, stressed the importance of finding new ways to help the church fulfill its mission while spending less on administration. The primary goal of the GCFA directors was to set bottom-line budget figures for the next quadrennium in preparation for their joint meeting this fall with the denomination's program coordinating agency, the General Council on Ministries. At that Sept. 5-8 meeting in Los Angeles, the GCFA and GCOM directors will flesh out the 2005-08 budget proposal before sending it to the 2004 General Conference. In looking at the efficiency of its own operations, GCFA moved forward with a proposal to consolidate its Evanston, Ill., offices into its Nashville offices by the end of 2005. The directors authorized spending up to $50,000 on the professional services of an architect or other relocation specialists. The GCFA Location Task Force had calculated expected long-term savings of more than $652,000 annually. GCFA estimated reaching the break-even point in 8-13 years, depending on the amount realized in the sale of the agency's interest in the Evanston building, the cost of the combined facility, and the rate of financing on the balance needed. The Evanston building is co-owned with the denomination's General Board of Pension and Health Benefits.                                                - UM News Service


UM Women.

[Note: The first issue deals with overturning our church's position against homosexuality. The others deal with, essentially, political issues from a socialistic perspective and issues of the past. All are seen to be problematic. - Editor]

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (UMNS) - The Women's Division directors approved nine new resolutions and one disciplinary change for delegates to consider during the 2004 General Conference. Of especial note is one resolution calls upon General Conference to establish and fund a task force to look into issues of teen sexual identity and suicide risk, citing a 1989 U.S. government study that showed teens dealing with issues of sexual identity are two to three times more likely to attempt suicide than other youth. The proposed change to the denomination's law book, the Book of Discipline, also refers to this issue, and would lift any restrictions on using church money for such a task force. Currently, the book forbids the use of funds "to promote the acceptance of homosexuality."

- A resolution on privatization notes with concern the fact that many public responsibilities - ranging from the running of prisons to the implementation of welfare programs - have been "abandoned to private enterprise." [See next issue on

"Enter the Government; Exit the Church. The Women's Division position loses sight of what the church should do here.]

- A resolution on greed include opposing tax cut measures "that would increase the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few and reduce the resources available for alleviation of poverty."

Division directors also voted to resubmit, without change, current resolutions on "Responsible Parenthood" and "Membership in Clubs or Organizations that Practice Exclusivity." In addition, revised resolutions on the topics of environmental justice, environmental racism, reparations for African Americans, affirmative action and biblical language will be submitted.                                               - UMNS; Linda Bloom; New York; 10-21-71B{205}; April 8, 2003.


Of Interest. Enter the Government, Exit the Church

A Mississippi pastor says the Church needs to reclaim ground it lost when it allowed the government to become the primary caregiver for those facing tough times. Tupelo's Temple of Compassion and Deliverance is a church known for taking in the homeless and helping them get back on their feet, while sharing with them the gospel of Christ. Bishop Clarence Parks says government welfare programs have stripped churches of power and responsibility. "Most of the time, if you're not careful, if you start giving up any power ... or control, then that control that you start giving up will start



controlling and manipulating you," Parks says. "I think when the government came in with welfare, it took a responsibility off the Church [so that it] didn't really have to do as much." Parks says the Church should never have let the government take responsibility for helping those in need. "Jesus says we are the light of the world -- and because so many times we don't take [seriously] that responsibility and that position of being the light ... we have to depend on the government to do things that we should be doing," the bishop says. Parks says when government-subsidized welfare programs expanded in the 1960s, many churches began focusing on buildings and budgets. [Note: Also, by the churches not being involved in this type of ministry they lose countless opportunities to witness for Jesus Christ by providing material comforts. - Editor]                                                                 - Allie Martin; AgapePress; May 22, 2003.


The Good Stuff.  Memorial Day Special: No Greater Love - A Memorial Day Salute to Military Chaplains

This Memorial Day, let us pause in honor of the millions of men and women who have given their lives in service to this great country as we remember that ‘freedom is not free.'


War has been around for a very long time. Since the beginning of history, men have engaged in military conflict. Here in America, our own country was born as the result of a war for independence. And, in recent months, we have been engaged in yet another war to bring freedom to the people of Iraq.

            As long as there has been war, there have been men who willingly placed their lives in jeopardy because of their belief in a particular cause, and/or because of their great love of country. War brings fear and the reality of death, and most who engage in a military struggle become concerned about what will happen to them if they are killed. Will they go to heaven? Will they go to hell? Is there a heaven and a hell? Where is God in all this?

            Here in America, as far back as the Revolutionary War, there has been a recognized need for spiritual guidance and comfort for those fighting on the battlefield. In that war, ministers took leave from their churches and served as the nation's first chaplains. Since World War II, U.S. chaplains have not carried weapons and are classified as non-combatants, consistently leaving themselves open to being wounded or killed.

            Chaplains have served in every American war. Thousands of valiant, godly men have risked their lives for the wounded and dying -- to give a drink of water, to bandage a bloody wound, to comfort and pray, or to hold the hand of a fallen brother as he slips into eternity. Many chaplains have lost their own lives while in service to God and country. Men such as these epitomize John 15:13: "Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."

            This Memorial Day, it is a privilege to honor America's chaplains by relating the stories of some who gave their "last full measure of devotion."


Commander George S. Rentz; World War II -- 1882-1942
A Pennsylvanian, George Rentz graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary and was ordained by the Presbytery of Northumberland in 1909. When the U.S. became involved in World War I, Rentz was appointed acting chaplain and was assigned to the 11th Regiment of Marines in France. He attained the rank of Commander in 1924 and served on several vessels in the years following.

            In 1940, Rentz transferred to the USS Houston and devoted his life to providing the ship's crew and officers with spiritual guidance and hope. With the onset of World War II, the Houston became a part of the allied fleet. On March 1, 1942, the battle cruiser was in the Java Sea, along with Australia's HMAS Perth. The two ships were overwhelmed by a Japanese troop convoy, but fought valiantly to the last. Both took direct hits, ultimately causing them to sink. Chaplain Rentz found himself in the sea with several other sailors, holding onto a floating piece from one of the Houston's planes. The float was dangerously overloaded, and Rentz tried to get several of the wounded sailors to take his life jacket. After all, he told them, "you men are young; I have lived the major part, and I am willing to go." When he got no takers, Rentz tried to leave his life jacket and float away, only to be brought back by the others. He became an encouragement to all as he prayed and sang hymns. Ultimately, the chaplain placed his life jacket near a wounded sailor who had none, and quietly slipped into the sea. For giving his life, Chaplain Rentz was awarded, posthumously, the Navy Cross. In addition, a guided missile frigate, the USS Rentz, was named in his honor.


Captain Herman G. Felhoelter; Korean War -- 1914-1950
A Catholic priest from Washington state, Chaplain Herman Felhoelter had been assigned to the U.S. Army's 19th Infantry Regiment. It was July 16, 1950, and Felhoelter's unit had been involved in heavy fighting near Taejon and the Kum River in North Korea. U.S. troops had been met by wave after wave of North Korean troops. Many from Felhoelter's regiment were wounded, and as he and another 100 men struggled up a hill near the river, they carried nearly 30 wounded as they fled the communists. It soon became clear that if the men continued carrying the wounded, they would not be able to escape. In a selfless act of bravery, the chaplain urged a medical officer to leave with the others, and he stayed behind



with the wounded men. Not long after, a sergeant, concerned with the fate of the rag-tag bunch, lifted a pair of binoculars to his eyes and was shocked and sickened to see enemy soldiers overtake the group and savagely murder them all, including the chaplain who was praying for his friends. Herman Felhoelter would have been 37 years old the following day. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross posthumously. Four days before his death, he had written his mother: "Don't worry, Mother. God's will be done. I feel so good to know the power of your prayers accompanying me .... I am happy in the thought that I can help some souls who need help ...."


Lieutenant Robert R. Brett; Vietnam War -- 1936-1968
A touching story with a poignant twist is that of U.S. Navy Chaplain Robert Brett. Born in Pennsylvania, Brett earned a B.A. and a master's degree from Catholic University. After graduating from the Naval Chaplains School in August of 1967, he soon joined the 2nd Battalion, 26th Marines near the Khe Sanh Combat Base in Vietnam.

            Brett was known among the troops for his daring and determination as he traveled from post to post, celebrating Mass in the face of nearly constant enemy fire. The chaplain had a special assistant in PFC Alexander S. Chin from Maryland, a religious young man, who had already earned two Purple Hearts for his bravery. Chin had told his superiors he could not kill another human, and had been assigned to help the chaplain. The two were inseparable and became steadfast friends. On February 22, 1968, the chaplain and his aide found themselves on an air strip in Khe Sanh where they were waiting for a chopper to take them back to battalion headquarters. They were about to board the helicopter when they came under enemy fire. Witnesses said that Brett told the chopper to take off without him and his aide, which allowed Lt. Pete Post to go instead. As the two headed back to the trench, Post watched helplessly as an incoming rocket struck, killing Brett, Chin and eight others. Fifteen were wounded. Honored for their bravery, Brett and Chin were buried in their respective family burial plots, where they rested for 30 years. But their story doesn't end there.

            Edward Rouse, nephew of Chaplain Brett, had been 13 years old when his uncle was killed. He had always greatly admired Brett -- so much so that he followed in his uncle's footsteps by becoming a Marine. Because of Chaplain Brett's sacrifice, Rouse and his family believed it was fitting for him to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. In late 1998, Rouse made arrangements for Brett to be buried on Chaplain's Hill. After learning of the relationship between Brett and Chin, Rouse hired a private investigator who located Chin's family. They were amenable to Chin's remains being moved to Arlington. Rouse obtained special permission for Chin to be buried on Chaplain's Hill, and in 1999, the chaplain's friend was buried beside him -- united in death as they had been in life.

                                                                                                - Src: Pat Centner; AgapePress, May 23, 2003.


Results from the Annual Conferences

Detroit Annual Conference met May 16-19 at UM-related Adrian College. Conference members welcomed officials of two partner churches--the Liberia Annual Conference and the Methodist Church of Haiti--and lamented that Bishop

Ricardo Pereira, recently re-elected bishop of the Methodist Church in Cuba, could not be with them as conference preacher. The conference voted to pursue the elimination of all state sales taxes on charitable fundraising. Resolutions supported affirmative action, the creation of a U.S. Department of Peace, a moratorium on bottling fresh water without further studies on its sustainability, and a boycott of bottled water companies owned by Perrier. Other resolutions urged: 1) all UM facilities in the conference to become latex-free sites because of allergy issues; 2) congregations to study and respond to provisions of the Patriot Act and other civil liberties issues; and 3) study of issues related to nuclear arsenals and considering their elimination. The conference approved a boycott of Mt. Olive Pickle Co. products and will send a similar resolution to General Conference. Members also agreed to end the boycott of The Detroit News, Detroit Free

Press, and USA Today and recommended a similar action by General Conference. Sixteen clergy retired. Membership stands at 104,969, up 979.                                                                     - Ann Whiting, Michigan Christian Advocate


Liberia Annual Conference was convened at Tubman UMC, Paynesville, outside Monrovia. The 170th session of the conference was held Feb. 10-17. Some major issues discussed and resolved at the conference include:

A) That the theme and text of the session remain in place for the next four years with the intention to preach and hammer across the length and breadth of the conference the importance of honest stewardship to every UM in the Liberia Annual Conference.

B) Growing out of the war situation that now engulfs the nation and that also has caused and is causing national catastrophe, the grave internal political disorder that threatens the peace and stability of the state, and the internal displacement of the people, the session reaffirmed the position of the Liberian Council of Churches for the intervention of a force that will disarm all unconstitutional and irregular armed adventurers in order to calm the nightmare of continuous warfare.




Lay delegates elected to General Conference: Cllr. P. Edwin Gausi, Cllr. Joseph N. Nagbe, Christiana Harmon, Wilson K. Tarpeh, J. Lamark Cox Sr., George Moore, and Agatha Bedell. Clergy delegates: John S. M. Russell, James Karmbor, James D. Karblee Sr., Erlene P. Thompson, Samuel J. Quire Jr., Nelly Wright, and Anthony G. Dioh. There were 12 persons ordained as elders, and six elders retired. Membership of the Liberia Annual Conference stands at 168,618. This is up over the previous three years, when it was 161,049. - Edwin J. Clarke, Jr. - Newscope, May 2, 2003.


South German Annual Conference met May 13-18 in Heilbronn and Karlsruhe, Germany, with Bishop Walter Klaiber residing. The conference theme was “Coming together-preaching Christ.” This theme reflected the most important point of business for the conference-the coming together of the Southwest German Conference and the South German Conference to form one new conference, which will be called the (new) South German Conference. Although the unification potentially will reduce costs, it is not primarily seen as a cost-cutting measure; rather, it is hoped that both conferences will benefit in other ways from the streamlined structure and from the larger and more diverse pool of workers. The conference also hopes and prays that a spiritual renewal will accompany the structural. In other business, the conference agreed to a position paper, which comments on the ongoing revamping of the social system in Germany. While a reform of the social system is deemed necessary, this reform needs to proceed in a just and even-handed manner. It should not come at the cost of the poor and disenfranchised. Also, a “Word to the Congregations” was set before the conference by the superintendents for discussion. After the participants in 16 workshops discussed and amended the paper, the conference passed a resolution committing conference members to making the paper known in their churches. The “Word to the Congregations” seeks to define the identity and mission of the Evangelisch-methodistische Kirche (EmK) in Germany. elected as clergy delegate to General Conference was Reiner Stahl. Layperson: Ulrike Brodbeck. The conference honored ten retiring pastors this year and ordained eight persons (one female and seven males) as clergy. Membership (confessing members) of the newly formed conference stands at 18,910. The Southern German Conference was down 231 members, or 1.57%, and the Southwest German Conference was down 140 members, or 3.04%. The number of baptized members in the new conference stands at 15,323. - Jonathan Whitlock

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It is the small daily happenings that make life spectacular.


Global Outlook


Beneath the hard shell of people is someone who wants to be loved.

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Europe.  European Methodists plan festival in Germany

European Methodists are planning a "festival of faith" July 30-Aug. 3 in Potsdam, Germany, to celebrate the 300th anniversary of John Wesley's birth. The event honoring the founder of Methodism will be the first major initiative of the European Methodist Council, according to Colin Ride, Europe secretary for the British Methodist Church. Ride is the festival's co-coordinator with Armin Besserer, the council's secretary. Council membership includes British Methodist, Irish Methodist and United Methodist churches, as well as those in independent denominations in Italy, Portugal, Spain and elsewhere.                - UMNS; Linda Bloom; New York; 10-71BPI{077}; Feb. 14, 2003.


Iraq. Global News from the Frontlines: Iraqi Christians Find Strength

AMMAN, Jordan, March 28 (Compass) -- "Your prayers for us have made a difference and continue to lift our spirits," say Christians in Iraq. "This conflict has forced us to live for each other and focus on helping each other get through these times of great danger. But we trust in God's support, His protection and strength," one Iraqi Christian said. The Christians are also aware of the sufferings of their Muslim neighbors and try to offer help. Their witness and compassion will have a far-reaching impact upon their communities, said one Christian leader. the [war] has been a mixed blessing. The Christian communities run the risk of becoming targets of retaliation for Muslim extremists.

                                                            - by David Freeman; Compass Direct <">


Lithuania. The Lithuania District Conference, meeting April 4-6, celebrated the growth of the UMC in the country and approved resolutions: 1) that no alcohol will be used or served in any official UM function and 2) inviting the leaders of the various denominations in Lithuania to a series of ecumenical seminars focusing on how to improve and strengthen ecumenical relations.

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Every day in every way, through God's grace - I'm getting better.