Live Well – Be Well

By Will Jones*

36 years ago, in 1982, Bishop James S. Thomas hosted the first Black Clergy Retreat at Mohican State Park.  This year, the 2018 Black Clergy Retreat returns (September 23-25) to Mohican State Park.  Bishop Thomas instituted the event to nurture and develop Clergy who’s diversity and perspective is invaluable to the Conference.  This year, the theme “Live Well – Be Well” fulfills the purpose of nurturing and caring for the Black Clergy of The East and West Ohio Annual Conferences.

Last year the retreat had a similar focus.  Bishop Malone preached, “We cannot be as effective and as fruitful in our well doing in ministry, if we are not intentional in caring for our personal well-being.  We’re talking about emotional, we’re talking about physical, and we’re talking about spiritual,” in her sermon titled “How is it with your soul?”(video)

Clergy well-being is certainly an important aspect for ALL Clergy who serve in United Methodist Appointments.  Research, data, and experience tells us that Clergy of Color face additional challenges serving in a denomination that is predominantly white.  The Church is a leader in promoting understanding of why we need to highlight and learn other perspectives than the majority perspective.  Thus, the Bishops’ Retreat with Black Clergy is really about bringing special attention to the needs of the Black Church in East Ohio and West Ohio.

In addition to the Black Clergy Retreat, in its effort to promote Clergy of Color and our Racial-Ethnic Churches, the office of Multicultural Vitality and the Bishop held a gathering titled “STRONG – Strength, Training, and Resourcing on an ON Going basis” to support our racial-ethnic clergy.  The East Ohio 2018 Annual Conference also approved the creation for the Committee on Ethnic Local Church Concerns, a discipline required committee that focuses on the health and vitality of racial-ethnic churches.

If you are Interested in supporting or learning more about the East Ohio Conference effort of promoting our Racial-Ethnic churches and ministries, please contact the office of Multicultural Vitality at Vitality@eocumc.com 

Register for the 2018 Black Clergy Retreat.

* Will Jones is the director of Multicultural Vitality for the East Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church.

Kimberly Green Named EOC Lay Leader

Kimberly Green headshotBishop Tracy S. Malone has named Kimberly Green lay leader of the East Ohio Conference.  Effective July 1 she will succeed Greg Rentsch, who is stepping down after serving six years in the position.

“Kimberly brings a strong passion and personal faith commitment to Christian discipleship and mission,” Malone said.  “Her various leadership roles in the local church, and at the district- and Conference-levels demonstrate her ability to work and serve with lay and clergy to advance the Church’s mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”

Green is the lay leader at Celebration United Methodist Church (North Coast District) and a lay member to Annual Conference.  She also is co-chair of the North Coast District Strategy Committee, a member of both the North Coast District Leadership Development Committee and the North Coast District Strategic Funding Committee, and serves on the Conference Committee on Episcopacy.

“I am very excited and honored to serve in a greater capacity in The United Methodist Church,” Green said.  “It is prayer that gives me the ability to be a bold and courageous leader.  I am committed to do all that God has blessed me to do in making disciples for Jesus Christ.”

The director of Nursing Services at The MetroHealth System in Cleveland, Green is involved in several ministry initiatives that link her life’s work in healthcare with helping families and communities thrive.  She is passionate about serving and helping others outside the church walls.

Green earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from The Ohio State University and a Master of Science in Nursing, with a concentration in Leadership and Management, from University of Phoenix.

She and her husband Anthony are the parents of two adult daughters.

United Methodist Bishops Recommend a Way Forward

Bishop Cynthia F. Harvey (right) answers questions during a press conference about the United Methodist Church’s a Way Forward plan at the conclusion of the church’s Council of Bishops meeting in Chicago. She is flanked by Bishops Bruce R. Ough (left) and Kenneth H. Carter. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.

 

For immediate release  May 4, 2018

United Methodist Bishops Recommend a Way Forward

CHICAGO – United Methodist bishops, meeting in Chicago, engaged in a prayerful process to discern a way forward.  At the conclusion of the discernment process, the Council of Bishops strongly approved the following motion and rationale:

Having received and considered the extensive work of the Commission on a Way Forward, the Council of Bishops will submit a report to the Special Session of the General Conference in 2019 that includes:

  • All three plans (The Traditionalist Plan, The One Church Plan and the Connectional Conference Plan) for a way forward considered by the Commission and the Council.
  • The Council’s recommendation of the One Church Plan.
  • An historical narrative of the Council’s discernment process regarding all three plans.

Rationale:  In order to invite the church to go deeper into the journey the Council and Commission has been on, the Council will make all the information considered by the Commission and the Council of Bishops available to the delegates of the General Conference and acknowledges there is support for each of the three plans within the Council.  The values of our global church are reflected in all three plans.  The majority of the Council recommends the One Church Plan as the best way forward for The United Methodist Church.

Guided by the mission, vision and scope document, the bishops agreed to recommend the One Church Plan. This plan provides conferences, churches, and pastors the flexibility to uniquely reach their missional context while retaining the connectional nature of The United Methodist Church.

The One Church Plan allows for contextualization of language about human sexuality in support of the mission; and allows for central conferences, especially those in Africa, to retain their disciplinary authority to adapt the Book of Discipline and continue to include traditional language and values while fulfilling the vision of a global and multicultural church.

This plan also encourages a generous unity by giving United Methodists the ability to address different missional contexts in ways that reflect their theological convictions. The One Church Plan removes the restrictive language of the Book of Discipline and adds assurances to pastors and Conferences who due to their theological convictions cannot perform same-sex weddings or ordain self-avowed practicing homosexuals.

The Council’s discernment process was guided by the over-arching desire to strategically help the General Conference do its work and to honor the General Conference’s request for the Council to help the church find a way forward.

“With convicted humility, bishops want to be pastors and shepherds of the whole church in order to maximize the presence of a United Methodist witness in as many places in the world as possible and with as much contextual differentiation as possible,” said newly installed Council of Bishops President Ken Carter.

The bishops expressed deep appreciation for the diligent work that the 32-member Commission on a Way Forward Commission did in formulating the three plans; the Traditionalist Plan, the One Church Plan and the Connectional Conference Plan.

While the bishops recommended the One Church Plan they affirmed that the Connectional Conference Plan and the Traditionalist Plan held values that are important to the life and work of the church and will be included in the final report to the Special Session of General Conference that the bishops have called for Feb. 23-26 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA.

Bishop Carter, who served as a one of the moderators of the Commission, said the bishops are adopting a spirit of collaboration with the Commission, and an attitude of respect for the delegations who will take up this work on behalf of the whole church.

“The Council’s prayerful deliberation reflected the diversity of the global denomination on the matter of homosexuality and many other matters.  The Council affirms the strength of this diversity and our commitment to maintain the unity of the church,” Bishop Carter said.

Full details of the plans and accompanying legislative proposals will be released as soon as final editing of the entire report is completed and translated into the official languages of the General Conference.  It is estimated this will be no later than July 8.

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Media Contact: Rev. Dr. Maidstone Mulenga

Director of Communications – Council of Bishops

The United Methodist Church