The Monthly Update

October 2003 Update

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

This edition of the Monthly Update is the final report of annual conference summaries from the Methodist Church around the world, with the exception of two in the United States which have not submitted their reports as of this date.

We received a letter from Mrs. Faye Short, the President of RENEW, a Christian women's network working within the United Methodist Women to bring about much-needed change in that organization. She wrote that:

There have been some very bad resolutions to General Conference 2004 that have come out of the Northern Illinois Conference to mention just one..., "particularly calling for the full participation of gay and lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons in our denomination. The resolution was extensive, encouraging pastors and churches to preach the acceptance of homosexual    practice from our pulpits, expose parishioners to this message and '...encourage lay people to teach it in our Sunday School classes and tell it to our children...'"

She went on to point out that "even in this liberal conference, the vote for this resolution was 457 supporting, 306 opposing and 44 abstentions. So there are many who are standing firm in Northern Illinois." She pointed out further that "even after Jesus had done many miraculous signs in their presence, some did not believe him. Others believed, but because of fear of the religious leaders, would not make their beliefs public."

She makes the point that we are called to "contend for the faith" as we in Concerned Methodists have done so often. "So many of you are faithful in difficult places. You remain committed, even when everyone does not appreciate the fact that you ask questions and expect answers. Many have told me of a sense of 'calling' to 'speak the truth in love.' I believe your faithfulness makes a difference to God, and will make a difference in the lives of others and in the life of the United Methodist Church. I encourage you to 'stand firm.'"

We could have not said it more eloquently. I thank the Lord for strong Christian witnesses such as Faye Short, as I thank the Lord for your standing with us.

In His service,

 

Allen O. Morris,
Executive Director


Bits and Pieces from across the United Methodist Church

 The principal threat to United Methodism at the present time is not doctrinal rigidity or narrowness, but theological confusion and fragmentation.
                                    - Joe Pennel, Jr., bishop of the Virginia Conference

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Of Interest.

+ 300,000 miles on horseback, from the Atlantic to the Appalachians, from Maine to the Gulf of  Mexico, for forty-five years, he spread the gospel. This was Francis Asbury, Methodist Circuit riding preacher who was born this day, August 20, 1745. When the Revolution started, he refused to return with others to England: "I can by no means agree to leave such a field for gathering souls to Christ as we have in America." He befriended Richard Bassett, a signer of the Constitution, who converted, freed his slaves and paid them as hired labor. Francis Asbury dedicated the first African Methodist Episcopal Church and met personally with George Washington, congratulating him on his election. By the time he died, the Methodist Church in America had grown from 300 members to over 200,000. Unveiling the Equestrian Statue of Bishop Francis Asbury in Washington, D.C., 1924, President Calvin Coolidge stated: "This circuit rider spent his life making stronger the foundation on which our government rests...Francis Asbury is entitled to rank as one of the builders of our nation."

+ Annual Conference Sessions Prepare for General Conference

As is typical for the year preceding a General Conference, elections and petitions for the denomination's global body dominated this year's annual conferences. Some conferences in Europe and Africa will not meet until the fall. One of the 64 U.S. annual conferences meeting in May and June, Southwest Texas, tabled five petitions before the session needing more examination. At least 13 conferences took a variety of actions regarding ministry to and by lesbians and gay men. In the Northern Illinois Conference, 20 of the conference's 24 General and jurisdictional delegates signed a statement calling the denomination to be more open to gays and lesbians. The statement also opposed efforts to become a creedal church. The Western North Carolina Conference passed a resolution in support of the current language in the Discipline, while Iowa proposed a statement saying that “faithful Christians disagree on the compatibility of homosexuality with Christian teaching.” In times of worship, at least 14 conferences participated in services of repentance and reconciliation for racism. Leaders of the predominantly African American Methodist denominations were on hand to witness and to give their response. Four annual conferences also reported that they had services that included repentance for injustices against Native Americans. Additionally, at least three conferences recognized the 100th anniversary of Korean American Methodist ministries. Service projects and special offerings were regular occurrences. Annual conferences around the country collected flood buckets and other kits to be sent to the UM Committee on Relief's Sager Brown Depot in Louisiana. Other projects included bagging potatoes for the Society of St. Andrew.

- UMNewscope, August 15, 2003.

 

+ Commission on Men Proposes Renewing Men's Ministry

The General Commission on United Methodist Men, meeting July 17-20, called for the creation of Men's Ministry Sunday and an intensive study of men across the denomination. The group sought ways to address the fact that in many congregations, only about one third of the church members are men. The number of churches hosting local units that are current with their charter as of June 30 increased 11% from the year before to 4,964 units; others have yet to renew. The group asked General Conference to establish a “Men's Ministry Sunday” as a fourth special Sunday, without an offering. That day, to be held at any time during the year, would celebrate men's ministry within and beyond the local church. Resources would be provided by the general commission. The commission will also ask General Conference to create a committee to conduct a study of men across the denomination. A call for the study notes that when a man is the first to come to Christ, the rest of the family follows him 97% of the time. In an effort to reach younger men, the commission agreed to support a mentoring program developed by James W. Hollis Jr., a North Georgia Conference evangelist. That program calls for a man in the fourth quarter (ages 60-80) to recruit a man in the second (age 20-40) or third quarter (age 40-60) to mentor a male in the first quarter (under 20). The program involves, among other ideas, a ministry to single mothers.

- J. Richard Peck, General Commission on United Methodist Men; as reported in UMNewscope, August 1, 2003.

 

(UM) Bishops.  Agency proposes cutting number of bishops

LOS ANGELES (UMNS) - The General Council on Finance and Administration's $586 million budget proposal for the quadrennium 2005-08 includes a proposal that the church reduce its number of U.S. bishops next year. The proposal is that the denomination reduce by one the number of bishops each of the five U.S. jurisdictions is eligible to elect. The church has 50 active bishops in the five U. S. jurisdictions and 18 in the central conferences - regional units outside the United States. In addition, the Southeastern Jurisdiction could elect an additional bishop based on the current formula. With expected retirements next year, officials predict the retiree list could reach 92.

If enacted as written, the change would become effective at the end of General Conference, reducing the number

of bishops elected next year. Each jurisdiction would still elect one or more bishops to fill vacancies created by retirements next year. All of the jurisdictional conferences will be held in July. Proponents of the plan point to a potential reduction of about $1 million per bishop for the next four years in costs for salary, benefits, office, support staff and travel, as well as additional savings in what annual (regional) conferences contribute to expenses such as the parsonage and office. The number of central conference bishops is fixed at the current numbers for 2005-08, but the legislation also specifies additions or reductions in those areas based on increases or decreases in church membership. The income for the $586 million budget will be supplied through seven funds that are apportioned - that is, supported by each annual conference in amounts set by a formula. General Conference sets the "base percentage" used to compute the apportionments that are asked of each annual conference and, through the conferences, of each congregation. [Note: This proposal is definitely supported. - Editor]

- By Joretta Purdue; United Methodist News Service (UMNS); Washington; {03434}; Sep. 12, 2003.

 

Stewardship.  Communications Commission Proposes Advertising Expansion. Igniting Ministry received complete support on two expansion projects from the General Commission on Communications, that unanimously proposed to the 2004 General Conference an increase in the church's advertising presence on national cable news programming by 18 weeks each year, along with a creation of a youth aspect of the campaign designed to help congregations reach unchurched young people. The commission is proposing that the denomination budget $33.5 million for the television advertising campaign during the 2005-08 quadrennium, up from the $20 million approved for the current four-year period ending in 2004. The proposal for a youth campaign is designed to increase the awareness and recognition of the UMC's basic beliefs among young people ages 14-18. It will not be based on a national television advertising campaign, said Igniting Ministry team leader Steve Horswill-Johnston, but on locally designed and operated efforts involving: 1) production of how-to-oriented local church tools for youth, focusing on helping local church youth ministries conduct community-wide efforts to invite young people; 2) local-church advertising resources focused on youth; 3) grants to assist local church ministries and sustain strategic local marketing/advertising efforts; 4) youth leaders' Web site and an invitational Web site for youth seeking spiritual answers; and 5) local youth training in collaboration with the General Board of Discipleship. [Note: This initiative is extremely problematic and one which we completely oppose. Combined with the push by UM leaders to legitimize homosexuality this would mean that UM resources would be used to attract teens into a lifestyle that is extremely deleterious. In addition if the UM leadership had not acted in such an unresponsive way in advocating un-Christian ideals, our denomination would have not lost as many members as it had and not need a publicity campaign. - Editor]                                - UM News Service, as reported in UMNewscope, July 25, 2003.

 

Results from the Annual Conferences

 Austria Provisional Annual Conference met with Bishop Heinrich Bolleter presiding. It celebrated the 40-year jubilee of the “diaconal institution Spattstrasse Linz,” which serves young people in difficult circumstances by offering them a new perspective for the future. In his address, Bishop Heinrich Bolleter stressed the importance of such institutions. The conference: 1) heard about an agreement with the Protestant and the Lutheran Church concerning the religious education of the youth; 2) rejoiced in the fact that the local churches are becoming more and more international (at different places, bilingual worship services); 3) learned that several local churches have contacts with refugees who are taking part in the church life; 4) discussed the conditions how to reach teenagers with the gospel (this was considered to be only possible as long as parents cooperate and local churches are open-minded). Lay delegate elected to General Conference: Roland Siegrist. Clergy delegate: Lothar Poell. Membership is 686, up 27.                                                              - Urs Schweizer, as reported in Newscope, July 18, 2003.

Baltimore-Washington met with Bishop May presiding at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C. Meeting under the theme “Repair the Breach: Restore God's Community,” conference members took steps toward becoming repairers of the breach in a Service of Repentance and Call for Healing on June 14. The event was broadcast, via satellite, by the Church Communication Network to UM church subscribers in the region and around the country. James Salley, assistant vice-chancellor of Africa University, said “racism is the church's unfinished agenda.” Being able to sound the alarm of racism is impossible if we fail to claim our identity as Christians, he said. Clergy from the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, and African Methodist Episcopal Church acknowledged the confession of the conference with grace and a challenge for the future. Worshipers were given plumb lines during the service as a symbol of justice for all. The offering taken during the service raised more than $21,000 for the proposed Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the Mall in Washington. Clergy delegates elected to General Conference: David Argo (head of delegation), Peggy Johnson, Marcus Matthews, HiRho Park, Frank Trotter, Joseph Daniels, Mark Derby, Joan Carter-Rimbach, and Laura Easto. Laity delegates: Sandy Ferguson, Calvin Williams, Timothy Warner, Mary Baldridge, Darlynn McCrae, Mike McCurry, Tom Price, Caroleann Myers, and Ana Brito. Membership figures were not immediately available.

- Erik Alsgaard, as reported in Newscope, July 18, 2003.

California-Pacific met with Bishop Mary Ann Swenson presiding at the University of Redlands in Redlands, Ca. Members adopted a 2004 apportioned budget of $13,536,343, the same as the 2003 budget. Although the Council on Finance and Administration had proposed a 3.7% decrease, $500,899 was added to the apportionment budget to apply towards retired clergy healthcare support. Clergy delegates elected to General Conference: Grant Hagiya, David Richardson, Thomas Choi, Patricia Farris, and Mary Elizabeth Moore. Lay delegates: Dan Gara, Gaunnie Hardin Dixon, JoAnn Yoon Fukumoto, Eva Thai, and Becky Haase. Membership is 94,728, down 2,668.

- Larry Hygh Jr., as reported in Newscope, July 18, 2003.

Eastern Pennsylvania met with Bishop Peter D. Weaver presiding at Messiah College in Grantham, Penn. Faced with a prospective $250,000 budget shortfall, the conference also approved a 7% budget reduction. This year, the Denman Evangelism Award was presented to lay person Richard Hunt of Easton Calvary UMC. The clergy recipient of the Denman Award was Bishop Peter D. Weaver. Bishop Weaver led evangelism workshops for clergy and laity in each of the seven districts in the conference. In voting actions, the conference: 1) opposed the sale of alcohol on Sunday and the increase in the number of locations where alcohol can be sold, while supporting the state's system of strict control over the sale of wine and liquor in opposition to the privatization of the sale of wine and liquor; 2) urged the passing of a moratorium to suspend the death penalty and legislation that would eliminate the use of the death penalty in the Commonwealth; 3) passed a resolution in opposition to the expansion of gambling in Pennsylvania; and 4) urged the support of public education reform. Lay delegates to General Conference: Candace Carter, Ruth Daugherty, Thomas Gibson, J. Robert Ladd, Mary Ann Repsher, Lenora Thompson (co-chair of delegation), and Mary White. Clergy delegates: Michele Wright Bartlow, Melinda McKonly, Phillip Ponce, John Schol, Rodney Shearer, Dorothy Watson Tatem, and Charles Yrigoyen Jr. (co-chair of delegation). Membership is 131,625, down 1,816.         - Suzy Keenan, as reported in Newscope, July 18, 2003.

Germany North Annual Conference met with Bishop Walter Klaiber presiding. The conference struggled with finances-the decline of offerings and apportionments-and had to support the work of churches and administration by reaching into the reserves. Also, it struggled with the decline in number of clergy as well as concerns such as reorganizations, merging charges, and districts. The body celebrated the 300th birthday of John Wesley and received information that the European Methodist Festival celebrating this event in Potsdam/Berlin, Germany, has more than 900 registered guests from all European Methodist churches and the United States. The conference: 1) decided to sell four of its five retreat centers, since they are not used much by UM groups; 2) received information that the congregations that had grown during the last year were Ghanaian or international congregations; and 3) elected Klaus Junga, lay CPA from Solingen, as conference treasurer. Delegates for the 2004 General Conference are layman Hans-Wilhelm Herrmann and clergywoman Irene Kraft. Membership is 7,886, up 259.

- Heinrich Meinhardt, as reported in Newscope, July 18, 2003.

Greater New Jersey met at the Atlantic City Convention Center, with Bishop Alfred Johnson presiding. Dean Snyder, pastor of Foundry UMC, Washington, D.C., and former conference communications coordinator for the Baltimore-Washington Area, was the guest speaker for the Service of Repentance and Reconciliation for Racism.

The service, recommended by the 2000 General Conference, culminated in the participants receiving packets of salt to taste. Bishop Johnson said that occasionally salt is used in baptism to signify healing. The body also passed a resolution supporting a ban on smoking in public places in New Jersey. The conference accepted the challenge of endowing a scholarship for Africa University and raised more than $9,000. The Bishops' Initiative: Hope for the Children of Africa, concentrating specifically on the children of war-torn Liberia, also raised more than $4,700. The offering of pledges and gifts during the conference totaled more than $35,000. Lay delegates elected to General Conference: Jay Brown, Connie Ace, Mark Miller, Lyn Caterson, June McCullough, and Dale Whilden. Clergy delegates: Galen Goodwin, Sydney Sadio, Jeremiah Park, Dennis Blackwell, Vicki Miller Brendler, and Charles Bender. Membership is 111,740, down 2,084.            - David Malloy, as reported in Newscope, July 18, 2003.

New England met with Bishop Susan W. Hassinger presiding. In significant business: 1) the number of districts in the conference was reduced from ten to eight. This is a result of a decrease in apportionments dollars received in 2002 and 2003; 2) a proposed $10-million capital campaign to support camps and new churches and churches in need was postponed for consideration next year; and 3) lack of available time prevented the conference from acting on resolutions going to General Conference. Lay delegates elected to General Conference: Bonnie Marden, Elizabeth Sweet, Rosemary Word, P. Jay Clark, Samuel Purushotham, and Diane Peak. Clergy delegates: Vicki Woods (head of delegation), Scott Campbell, Ronald Wilson, Linda Campbell-Marshall, Paul H. Chang, and Aida I. Fernandez. Membership is 104,255, down 1,186.      - Mike Hickox, as reported in Newscope, July 18, 2003.

North Georgia met in Athens, with Bishop G. Lindsey Davis presiding. After the ordination service, the bishop asked for anyone in the congregation who thought God was calling him or her into ministry to step forward. Those who did received brochures describing different ways to be in ministry, along with promotional material for a workshop called “Is God Calling You?” Lay delegates elected to General Conference: Joe Whittemore, Joel Mooneyhan, Hiram Bobo, Betty Ellison, Joe Kilpatrick, Mathew Pinson, Lyn Powell, Paul Belk, Dick Williamson, Hank Huckaby, Chuck Lanier, Betty Whitten, Harvey Johnson, and Claudette Bryson. Clergy delegates: Jonathan Holston, Wiley Stephens, Jane Brooks, John Simmons, Walter Kimbrough, Dee Shelnutt, Phil DeMore, Alice Rogers, David Jones, Jamie Jenkins, David Naglee, Bridgette Young, Ed Tomlinson, and Mary Gene Lee. Membership is 328,265, up 6,140.    - Mark Nugent and Tim McDaniel, as reported in Newscope, July 18, 2003.

Poland met with Superintendent Edward Puslecki presiding Elk. The theme “United in Christ” was an invitation to discuss increasing questions and tensions among the pastors but also a call to stand and act together, rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ, in order to serve today's people in Poland and to share God's love with them. Conference business included: 1) reports about public events (march of repentance in Kielce remembering the pogrom against the Jews, ecumenical celebration in Warsaw of John Wesley's 300th birthday, 80 years of the UMC in Elk, and re-opening of the Retreat Center for Youth in Stare Juchy); 2) a resolution concerning the approaching membership of Poland in the European Union in which a commitment for minorities and a struggle against corruption and alcoholism are specially named; 3) a report about moving the Theological Seminary from Konstancin to Klarysev in September 2003; 4) the superintendent's report noting that 14 (of 36) congregations are growing; and 5) discussions about the identity of the UMC in Poland in the present and in the future, the participation of lay people in church leadership, the education of pastors, and the renovation of church buildings. Superintendent Puslecki expressed his deep gratitude for the generous financial support from abroad towards the pastors' salaries. Membership is 2,528, up 19.                                     - Urs Schweizer, as reported in Newscope, August 15, 2003.

Rocky Mountain met in Laramie, Wyo., with Bishop Warner H. Brown Jr. presiding. The session approved a completely new approach to the apportionment formula used to apportion the Wider Mission budget of the annual conference. The previous formula depended heavily upon church membership. The new formula uses only local church expenditures and worship attendance. Lay delegates elected to General Conference: Dan O'Neill (head of the delegation), Brad Laurvick, Judy Hill, and Liwliwa Robledo. Clergy delegates: Janet Forbes, Charles Schuster, Olon Lindemood, and Youngsook Kang. Membership is 70,617, down 1,772.

- Faye Veal, as reported in Newscope, July 18, 2003.

Tennessee met with Bishop William W. Morris presiding. John Ed Mathison, pastor of Frazer Memorial Church in Montgomery, Ala., was the conference preacher. G. Ross Freeman, North Georgia Conference retiree, led Bible study. District superintendents named concerns about the future of itinerant ministry in light of the complexity of the times, pastoral effectiveness, diminished role of pastoral concern and care, and pastoral housing. Bishop Morris outlined institutional issues facing the church as stewardship, connectionalism, insurance, itineration, ageism, sexism, and inclusivism. Conference members: 1) created a new agency that will lay the groundwork for a new mission of providing housing and other alternatives for supportive care for people with disabilities; and 2) received guidelines from the Health and Welfare Committee about the release of medical information about parishioners. The conference affirmed a covenant relationship with Martin Methodist College. A $10,680,459 budget was adopted for apportionment to the local churches, a decrease of approximately $100,000 from the 2003 budget. The conference concurred with resolutions on parsonage standards, housing allowances for retired ministers, equity on all general boards based on membership in annual conferences, and financial support for Africa University. However, members did not concur with a resolution related to the Tennessee lottery. Laity elected to General Conference: Betty Masters Alexander (co-chair of delegation), Joe Williams, C. Don Ladd, Brenda Menzies, Debbie Robinson, and Beth Morris. Clergy delegates: Vincent Walkup (co-chair of delegation), Jerry Mayo, Barbara Garcia, A. Lynn Hill, S. Renee Franklin, and John Collett. Membership is  115,184, up 598.

- Juanita Bass Brummitt, as reported in Newscope, July 18, 2003.

Western New York met with Bishop Violet L. Fisher presiding. Craig Kennet Miller served as conference teacher, speaking on the conference theme “Resource.” The conference officially entered into a new team structure with this session. The conference council on ministries was retired and was replaced by a visioning covenant council and ministry teams for connection, leadership, unity in diversity, and evangelism. Lay delegates elected to General Conference: Jay Williams and Gerald Richardson. Clergy delegates: Gregory Van Dussen (head of delegation) and John Cooke. Membership is 60,050, down 200.

- Marilyn Kasperek, as reported in Newscope, July 18, 2003.

Western Pennsylvania met with Bishop Hae-Jong Kim presiding. The increasing cost of health insurance drove the need for a mid-year revision of the approved 2003 conference plan for funding ministry and the recommendation to cut program allocations and eliminate one district for 2004. Each district costs between $90,000 and $100,000 annually, including salaries, housing, travel expenses, hospitalization, pension, and supplies. The plan to reduce the number of districts from 11 to 10 was approved in separate legislation submitted by the district superintendents. In other legislation, members: 1) called for a moratorium and elimination of the death penalty; 2) reinforced their opposition to the expansion of gambling in Pennsylvania; and 3) endorsed efforts to seek equitable funding of public schools. Clergy delegates elected to General Conference: Jeffrey E. Greenway (co-chair of delegation), Joel S. Garrett, John Ciampa, Glenn Kohlhepp, John Seth, Arnold Rhodes, Aimee Twigg, Martha Orphe, Sharon Schwab, and Dale Shunk. Lay delegates: Nancy DeNardo (co-chair of delegation), Matthew Johnson, Nyle Hershberger, Laura Zilhaver, Tracy Merrick, Betty Alwine, Pat Morris, Eileen Gray, Harold Yannayon, and Shane Hinderliter. Membership is 201,020, down 1,030.

- Jackie Campbell, as reported in Newscope, July 18, 2003.

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Defeat is for those who acknowledge it. - Anonymous 

 

Global Outlook

Nelson Bell, Father-in-Law to Billy Graham, also was committed to working for renewal within his (Presbyterian) denomination. His daughter Ruth talked about the influence her father had over her husband, "Over the years, Bill saw that to retreat is not a way to fight a battle. When things get difficult, you don't quit your church and join another. This is daddy's firm policy: you take a stand, you defend the faith, but you don't retreat."

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The Episcopal Church.           Episcopal Church Joins Episcopal Dissenters
Hopes ECUSA Will Repent of Its Pro-Homosexual Stance

(AgapePress) - A church in Tennessee has emphatically joined the growing number of congregations that are withholding funds from the Episcopal Church USA. St. Andrews Church in Nashville has removed the word "Episcopal" from its yard signs and draped them with black ribbon. St. Andrews' rector, Pastor James M. Guill, says the move is an attempt to disassociate his church from the actions of the 74th General Convention, and in particular, from the confirmation of Gene Robinson as the denomination's first openly homosexual bishop. According to the rector, the ten-percent portion of St. Andrews Church's offerings that is normally sent to the national church is being designated for other mission projects within or without the Diocese of Tennessee at the discretion of the bishop and council. "We're committed to remaining in the Anglican Communion, proclaiming the historic catholic and apostolic faith, but not committed to following the actions of the General Convention," Guill adds. The pastor says two upcoming meetings will be important in determining the future of the Episcopal denomination. He believes when Anglican bishops from Africa, Southeast Asia, and South America meet in Nairobi, Kenya, this month, they are likely to take steps to discipline the U.S. Episcopal Church. And Guill says another pivotal meeting will take place next month between the Archbishop of Canterbury and Anglican Primates at Lambeth Palace in London. "I foresee the Episcopal Church USA being placed on some sort of observer status," he says. "I know these bishops will want to follow the Matthean model -- to present the problem, sit down and reason and council with us, and give us an opportunity to repent." However, if that does not happen, the clergyman predicts there will be an alternative province or Anglican presence recognized in North America. Guill hopes the Diocese of Tennessee and his parish will be included in that recognition.

An Invitation
Meanwhile, Associated Press reports that leaders of the Anglican Church in America <http://www.acahome.org/> are extending a welcome to Episcopalians who object to their denomination's election of a homosexual bishop.

About 80 Anglican clerics are attending a three-day regional synod in Maine. Rev. Lester York of St. Paul's Anglican Church in Portland says he and other church leaders have been contacted by Episcopalians interested in learning more about the [more theologically conservative] Anglican church. He says the Anglicans are opening their church doors to Episcopalians who are upset at the election of Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire.

- By Jim Brown; Agape Press, September 19, 2003.

The Presbyterian Church. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) elected its first female moderator on the General Assembly's second ballot. Susan R. Andrews will serve for a one-year term. Upon her election, according to Christian Century, she resigned from the board of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, a group that seeks to overturn the ban on ordaining gays and lesbians, though both Andrews and the Covenant Network asked the assembly to postpone reconsideration of this issue in light of larger theological issues being discussed within the denomination.[Note: Their denomination suffers from the same homosexual advocacy problem as does ours. This is seen as putting into the leadersip position someone supportive of this practice over the objections of the majority of the presbyteries who oppose this practice.]                                      - Newscope; June 27, 2003.

Scotland. The Church of Scotland has overwhelmingly rejected a plan to form a “super-church” with three other Protestant denominations, including the Methodist Church. The decision at the church's general assembly on May 19 echoed opposition among congregations to the Scottish Church Initiative for Union, which would have broken with 400 years of Presbyterian tradition by creating the office of bishop in the united church.

- Ecumenical News International, as reported in Newscope; June 27, 2003.

The United Kingdom.  British Methodists and Church of England Seek Closer Ties The British Methodist Conference voted 277-86 to accept the joint Anglican Methodist Covenant. This is an initial step for mutual recognition of clergy, shared sacraments, and joint decision-making structures between the Church of England and British Methodism. Incoming conference president Neil Richardson encouraged the conference to resist the temptation of “Wesleyan fundamentalism” in the 300th year of Wesley's birth. UMs in the U.S. have begun conversations with the Episcopal Church which is the denominational member of the Anglican communion in the U.S. [Note: The Anglican denominations in the UK and the United States are more supportive of homosexual practice than both the UM Church and Third World Anglican communions.]       - Newscope;July 11, 2003

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We conquer - not in any brilliant fashion - we conquer by continuing.
                                                                  - Daily Walk, November 12, 1996