Council of Bishops meet at Lake Junaluska


 | Council of Bishops
Media contact: Diane Degnan (email)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – United Methodist bishops from around the globe will gather in North Carolina at the Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center for the Council of Bishops meeting, November 10-15, 2013.

“The clear priority for the Council of Bishops is to increase vitality in our congregations in all the regions where we are present,” said Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, president of the Council. “We will engage in prayer, theological reflection and visioning so that we help one another to train leaders, to create new faith communities, and to engage in ministries with the poor and health programs like Imagine No Malaria.”

On Sunday, November 10, a memorial service will be held at First United Methodist Church in Waynesville. Bishop Wenner will present the President’s Address at 9:45 am on Monday. On Wednesday, the Council will travel to the Qualla Boundary, which is part of the original homeland of the Cherokee Nation. The area is currently home to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, direct descendants of those who were able to avoid forced removal to the area that is now Oklahoma.

“We will spend an afternoon with our sisters and brothers of the Cherokee Nation, following up on Acts of Repentance at General Conference,” said Bishop Larry Goodpaster of the Western North Carolina Episcopal Area. “We will remember the start of the Trail of Tears 175 years ago and point toward our Council meeting in Oklahoma later this quadrennium,” he said, referring to the Council meeting scheduled for November 2014.

The Council will spiritually center itself in daily worship and communion, along with small covenant groups for prayer and reflection. Plenary sessions, held each morning Monday-Friday, as well as Monday, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, are open to the news media and the public. Among other reports, some of the items that will be discussed include:
• Objectives for the quadrennium: adaptive challenges and vital congregations
• Four Areas of Focus,  agency alignment, 2016 budget process
• Elections: President, President-Designate, Secretary
• Preparing for 2016 General Conference
• Imagine No Malaria
• 2016 Episcopal Address
• Theological foundations of United Methodist identity and mission

During the six-day meeting, the bishops will also have various small group meetings, including accountability groups which were created as part of a covenant to hold one another accountable as they work together to increase the number of vital congregations and engage congregations in mission and ministry in the Four Areas of Focus.

About the Council of Bishops
 | The Council of Bishops – made up of 46 active bishops in the United States, 20 bishops in Europe, Asia and Africa, and 97 retired bishops worldwide – provides leadership and helps set the direction of the 12 million-member church and its mission throughout the world. The bishops are the top clergy leaders of The United Methodist Church, the second largest Protestant denomination in the U.S.

Report shows older clergy bubble growing larger


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | Lewis Center for Church Leadership
Contact: Joe Arnold (email)

2013 Clergy Age Trends Report Shows Older Clergy Bubble Growing Larger

2.jpgWASHINGTON, D.C. – The number of older clergy continues to grow according to the Clergy Age Trends in the United Methodist Church report released today by the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary. The annual report is prepared with assistance from the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits of the United Methodist Church.

Older Clergy Reach Historic High as Share of Elders
• Elders between ages 55 and 72 comprise 54 percent of all active elders, the highest percentage in history. This group reached 50 percent for the first time ever in 2010. This age cohort represented only 30 percent of active elders as recently as 2000. Previously their percentage of the total was even lower.
• This oldest cohort of active elders makes up 59 percent of elders in the Western Jurisdiction and 58 percent in the Northeastern Jurisdiction.
• The median age of elders remains at 55 in 2013, the highest in history, reached first in 2010. The median age was 50 in 2000 and 45 in 1973. The average age remains at 53, an historic high, and the mode age (the single age most represented) is now 61, also a high.

The Percentage of Middle Age Elders Continues to Shrink
• The percentage of elders aged 35 to 54 continues to shrink, from 65 percent of all active elders in 2000 to 39.81 percent in 2013. In addition, the total number of active elders decreased again in 2013 and all the loss took place in the middle age group, with modest increases in actual numbers for both young and older elders.

The Number of Young Clergy Stays about the Same
• There are more young elders, deacons, and local pastors than ten years ago, though the percentage of young elders remains low compared to historical patterns, though the trend line is up modestly but consistently.
• For example, there are more young elders than since before 2000, and the percentage of young elders is higher than since before 2000. Young elders as a percentage of all elders stayed in the 4 percent range in the first half of the 2000s and since then have made steady progress in the 5 percent range, moving closer to the 6 percent or higher range last seen in the 1990s.

Full Report Available for Download
Much more information is available in the complete Clergy Age Trends report, which is available as a free PDF download at It shows the average and median ages of elders by United Methodist conference and features a breakdown of young, middle age, and older clergy by conference for elders, deacons, and local pastors.

The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary is pleased to provide this report as a service to the church.

# # #

About Lewis Center | The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary seeks to advance the understanding of Christian leadership and promote the effective and faithful practice of Christian leadership in the church and the world. The center is building a new vision for church leadership grounded in faith, informed by knowledge and exercised in effective practice. The center seeks a holistic understanding of leadership that brings together theology and management, scholarship and practice, research and application. The Lewis Center serves as a resource for clergy and lay leaders, congregations and denominational leaders. Through teaching, research, publications and resources, the center supports visionary spiritual leaders and addresses key leadership issues crucial to the church’s faithful witness.

Area-wide retreat for Clergy Women, Sep. 26-27


September 26-27, 2013 | Location: Beersheba Springs Assembly (MAP) | Please RSVP by Sep. 18


Memphis & TN Conferences | Featuring Bishop Bill McAlilly
Delightful, interesting, thought provoking…moving”


Arrive 5:30 pm for registration (either eat before you come or enjoy snacks provided)
7:00: Fun and games/get acquainted
8:00: Bishop McAlilly
9:00: Evening Devotional (Memphis)

7:00 am: Breakfast
9:00: Morning Devotional (Tennessee)
9:30: Conversation
Noon: Lunch
1:00 pm: Local sights
2:30: Closing Conversation
3:30: Depart

> Cost: $60/room (2 per room covering Thursday evening lodging, snacks, and 2 meals on Friday)
Mail registration form and $25.00 deposit by 9/18 to:
316 W. Lytle Suite 101
Murfreesboro, TN  37130

Forum of Bishops meeting continues


| UMCom
Contact: Diane Degnan (email), 615.742.5406

SAN DIEGO, Calif.: The second day of the learning forum for bishops serving annual conferences around the world focused on the strengths of The United Methodist Church and how to leverage these attributes as the church moves into the future.

The day began with worship, prayer, and singing, “Lord you are able to make all things new . . .” Preaching on the text, “If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation,” (II Cor. 5:17) Bishop Debra Wallace Padgett, of the Birmingham (Ala.) area, invited the bishops to reflect on how they as individuals and as a community can grow as new creations in Christ.

“’All things new’ begins with you and me,” she affirmed. “We are becoming new . . . it sweeps across communities, organizations, churches, councils, even denominations.”

Following worship, Brian McLaren, noted author and leader of the emerging church movement, addressed the bishops and engaged in dialogue concerning promising signs in The United Methodist Church. In the spirit of the Wesley Covenant Prayer, he suggested the church is in a time of “letting go” and “letting come” what God wills. In many places, there are creative leaders emerging and prototypes developing that reflect new ways of being church.

“As pressures increase,” he noted, “so do creativity, courage, and determination.” In such a time, things can, in the words of author and educator, Parker Palmer, “break apart” or “break open.” McLaren believes this can be an opportunity for the church and its leadership to “break open” with new possibilities.

In the afternoon, bishops shared “best practices” in appointment making, accountability systems, and ministry with younger generations. Small accountability groups met to enable the bishops to work with one another in the light of their commitments in the Four Areas of Focus and the adaptive challenge of developing more vital congregations. The day ended with learning groups discussing how each bishop can best lead in the unique contexts of the particular annual conference(s) she or he is serving.

# # #

United Methodist Bishops Begin First Forum Meeting

SAN DIEGO, Calif. // May 6, 2013: Active bishops of The United Methodist Church began the first meeting of the Forum of Residential Bishops on May 5 in San Diego with inspiring worship led by Rev. Jorge Lockward, Director of Global Praise for the General Board of Global Ministries. The bishops and spouses spent time in prayer, singing, praying for one another, anointing each other, and remembering their baptisms.

“The emerging church is a movement of the Holy Spirit,” said Bishop Robert Hayes of the Oklahoma Episcopal Area, who preached at the first night’s event. Bishop Hayes encouraged colleagues to reconnect spiritually with one another and with the church and to expect great things from God. “Change begins with us. We have to learn to engage with each other and even to disagree without being disagreeable. We have to model how to put new wine in new wineskins.”

“The purpose of the forum is to learn how to become a learning community,” said Bishop Grant Hagiya of the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area and leader of the planning team.  The Forum of Residential Bishops is a continuing education platform for the global community of United Methodist bishops with residential responsibilities.

In the first learning session, several bishops shared thoughts about how to engage with their colleagues in order to lead the church in times of rapid change. In addition, the bishops began meeting together in small groups in order to commit themselves to an intensive exchange about how to lead toward more vitality in their areas. The meeting will continue through May 9.

# # #

United Methodist Bishops work in partnership toward common goals


| UMCom
Contact: Diane Degnan (email), 615.742.5406

United Methodist Bishops work in partnership toward common goals

“Exploring leadership for an emerging church” will be the theme of the first meeting of the Forum of Residential Bishops, scheduled on May 5-9, 2013 in San Diego.

The purpose of the five-day meeting is to create a learning environment where the residential bishops will share best practices, experiments and innovations that are working/not working in order to learn from one another. Each day’s discussion and learning will  focus on a different theme, with addresses from selected keynote speakers.

“This will be an intensive time of learning, listening and renewing our commitment to our call,” said Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, president of the Council of Bishops. “By removing ourselves for a few days from the day-to-day urgency of leading annual conferences, we have an opportunity to jointly gain a wider perspective of the church as a whole and to help one another as leaders from around the globe.”

The bishops have previously committed to hold each other accountable through a covenant to work side-by-side to lead the denomination forward despite existing challenges in order to increase the number of vital congregations and engage congregations in mission and ministry in the Four Areas of Focus.

During the forum, the bishops will develop small accountability groups, and group members will follow up with each other afterwards related to their annual conference, jurisdictional and general leadership roles and responsibilities.

The bishops have identified some specific goals they are collectively working toward, which include:

  • Double the number of vital congregations in the U.S. by the end of 2017
  • Increase the number of vital congregations in the Central Conferences
  • Raise $75 million in the fight against malaria
  • Engage congregations in ministries to end poverty
  • Start 1,000 new congregations by then end of 2016
  • Enlist, support and mentor an additional 2,000 young candidates for ministry

On May 7, the Episcopal leaders will take a field trip to visit the U.S. – Mexico border.

The bishops will share information about their learning experiences through a series of daily updates which will be available on the Council’s website, and will conclude the meeting with a press conference (via web or phone — details to follow soon).

Last year, the Council of Bishops – which is comprised of both residential and retired bishops – decided to create a Forum of Residential Bishops for the purpose of building a learning community among peers. The meetings will be attended exclusively by active bishops; however, the forum will have no authority to make decisions or take actions on behalf of the Council. Such actions would be handled only when the full Council is assembled.

The full Council of Bishops has traditionally met twice a year, though they are not required to do so under church law. In order to make the forum meetings possible without creating  additional cost, the Council decided to meet only once a year. Their next meeting will be November 10-15, 2013 in Lake Junalaska, N.C.

# # #

A 40 Day Walk With God starts tomorrow morning!

1.jpgBeginning tomorrow morning the Memphis and Tennessee Conferences will embark on a 40-day journey together with God and through prayer. As we prepare for this upcoming Annual Conference season (Memphis – June 2-5, Tennessee – June 10-12), consider walking with us!

“We will join hands and hearts across Conferences as we enter into a 40-day season of intentional prayer together and with God. I believe this call to prayer will change your life and our churches as we prepare for Annual Conference.” – Bishop Bill McAlilly

There are several options for participation during the 40 Day Walk…

  • Physical prayer guides: there might still be a few of these floating around, contact your District offices for info (Memphis | TNUMC)
  • Digital prayer guides: DOWNLOAD (.PDF) for printing or for reading on your computer
  • 40 Days of Doodles for kids! CLICK HERE to download (.PDF)
  • Subscribe to the Bishop’s Blog: by subscribing with your email, you receive automatic updates to your inbox – each daily devotion will release at 6:00 am cst every morning between Apr. 24-Jun. 2. Enter your email address in the box on the upper right-hand side of the HOME page
  • Follow the Bishop’s Blog daily: just log on to every day to read the daily devotions from the 40 Day Walk With God prayer guide – each daily devotion will release at 6:00 am cst every morning between Apr. 24-Jun. 2

You can also get links from our social media presence on Facebook and Twitter:
> Memphis: Facebook | Twitter (@UM_Memphis Conf)
> Tennessee: Facebook | Twitter (@tnumc)

Use hashtag #40daywalk when sharing and tweeting through Twitter – let’s let the world know that the Memphis and Tennessee Conference’s are in a season of prayer and encourage our brothers and sisters across the connection to join us!


Top ‘Leading Ideas’ of 2012


Here’s a suggestion from Bishop McAlilly – another post from the “Leading Ideas” blog from The Lewis Center for Church Leadership. The text blow is an image that will take you straight to the full blog post in another window. Happy reading – and we welcome your additional ideas and comments below!


Keeping Hope and Closing the Gap


> CLICK HERE to read the article on the TX Methodist Foundation’s blog A Place At The Table


Gil Rendle serves as Senior Consultant with the Texas Methodist Foundation in Austin, Texas and as an independent consultant working with issues of change and leadership in denominations and large churches.

FULL ARTICLE: Hope is now building in the United Methodist Church like a fire. What started at first as a small spark some years ago among a small group of loosely connected leaders has continuously and increasingly found fuel and is now spreading. It is not just hope that is building but an impatience to engage the possibility of the mission field instead of the problems of the institution. A movement is forming.

But movements must deal with gaps that arise when some have been in the conversation about the purpose of the change from the beginning, others join later, and there are still many who don’t even know about the conversation (or don’t want to). If hope is to grow we will need to address the gap.

In this issue of our TMF e-journal we offer two vignettes about hope and the gap:

  • An Experience of the GapRev. Bobbi Kaye Jones shares a real-life experience as a district superintendent where she has been working intentionally to shift people’s focus from protecting their own church to engaging the mission field. Consider what it is like to be a leader who sees the hope, who works intentionally to help others see and respond, and is then confronted with the gap. This is a picture of where we are in the wilderness of an established denomination living in a deeply changed mission field.
  • An Example of Bridging the Gap – One of the great supports of the new and growing hope is that there are already examples of people who deeply understand the new mission field – which often demands very non-traditional responses that are very different from standard congregational fare. The ability to offer non-traditional responses is often the key to addressing younger generations. However, it requires that these people actively bridge the gap between what ministry once was and what it is yet to be. It means standing between being accountable to the long established institutional church and simultaneously risk building non-traditional approaches that can introduce discipleship to people who live in a changed culture. District Superintendent Ellen Alston from the Louisiana Conference helps us listen in on the experience and reflections of some young clergy who are already bridging the gap. One of the reasons we can hope for a changed and more Wesleyan United Methodist Church is because it is already happening. There are some already bridging the gap.

Every brave pilgrimage through a wilderness requires us to continue to draw the picture of the faithful future, to look back at that part of ourselves that is lagging behind, and to be willing to close the gap as an effort of hope.  Where are you in the conversation?

The One Room (Church) School House



Dr.Lew Parks is professor of theology, ministry, and congregational development and director of the Doctor of Ministry Program at Wesley Theological Seminary.

> CLICK HERE to read the article at Lewis Center’s LeadingIdeas

FULL ARTICLE: My mother attended a one room schoolhouse for all but the last two years of her public education. As a Baby Boomer, I grew up riding the wave of school growth and consolidation and the several accommodations that went with the territory: school buses, area rather than local sports, and, above all, specialization in curriculum with division of the student population. The churches I attended as a teenager and young adult emulated the best practices of the public school system: dedicated spaces, quality and colorful curriculum supported with the latest innovations in audio-video equipment, and credentialed experts to model and train teachers.

If this were the only script for doing Christian education and formation in a community of faith, small churches would seem to have been left behind — again. It’s the same familiar story: the needs are too great, the resources are too small. But those who are familiar with small churches know otherwise. The biblical portrait of transmitting the faith from one generation to the next in the context of everyday life continues to thrive in small congregations. The best teaching begins in the character of the teacher (put these words of mine in your heart and soul), capitalizes on teachable moments (when your children ask), and is achieved regardless of setting (when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise). (Deut 6:20-21; 11:18-20).

This is good news for small churches struggling with self-worth but also for the many formerly larger congregations today faced with the upkeep of empty Christian Education buildings, the loss of Sunday School as a primary port of entry (see Mission as the Emerging Entry Point for New People, Leading Ideas, April 6, 2011), and the need to consolidate classes or even grade levels. There is something to be said for the one room schoolhouse model of Christian formation and education, a model that capitalizes on the energy of the intergenerational experience with gentle regard for real differences in cognitive development and literacy.

There are one room schoolhouse examples of Christian education and formation that look like the last desperate efforts of a dying institution. There are others that flourish. The difference seems to be in the element of intentionality. Someone has to care enough to carry the vision of a dynamic community of learners across age and skill levels, together developing faith foundations. Outside help is available, even a curriculum specifically targeting the one room schoolhouse model (see “One Room Sunday School” at, but someone has to take the lead in that wonderful small church alchemy of turning necessity into opportunity.

Dr.Lew Parks is professor of theology, ministry, and congregational development and director of the Doctor of Ministry Program at Wesley Theological Seminary. His most recent book is Preaching in the Small Membership Church (Abingdon, 2009). It can be purchased at Amazon or Cokesbury.


The Service of Installation as Bishop, Memphis & TN Conferences

Service Celebrating Assignment (Memphis Conference)
Bishop William T. (Bill) McAlilly
September 9, 2012 | Northside UMC, Jackson, TN

> View PHOTO’s, click image below to view gallery

1.pngA Service of Celebrating the Assignment (TN Conference)
Bishop William T. McAlilly to the Nashville Area
September 23, 2012 | Murfreesboro 1st UMC

Order of service is below

> View PHOTO’s, click image below to view gallery



Opening Voluntary “Festive Trumpet Tune”
Mrs. Sandy Arndt, Organist
David German
Processional Hymn, #159 “Lift High The Cross” CRUCIFER
Greeting and Opening Prayer by Rev. Kenneth Edmondson
Anthem “He Never Failed Me Yet”
Katie Dobbins, soloist
Martin Methodist Chamber Choir
Robert Ray
Prayer for Illumination by Mrs. Holly Neal
Scripture Lesson “God the True Shepherd”
Read by Jonas Cooper
Ezekiel 34:11-16
Psalm Read by Rev. Tommy Vann Psalm 100
Scripture Lesson “The Characterof a Bishop”
Read by Rev.
Enrique Hernandez
Titus 1:7-9
Hymn, #545 “The Church’s One Foundation” AURELIA
Gospel Lesson “Feed My Sheep”
Read by Rev. Bettye Lewis
John 21:15-17
Introduction of the Bishop by Mr. Jim Allen
The Covenant Service
Presentation of Signs of Episcopal Ministry Pastoral staff presented by
Rev. Earl Davis
The Bible presented by
Mr. Cliff Steiger
The water presented by
Mrs. Betty Alexander
The bread & cup presented by
Rev. Sandy Shawhan
The towel & basin presented by
Rev. Jackson Henry
The stole presented by
Mr. Travis Lawson
The Book of Discipline presented by
Mr. George Brown
The gavel presented by
Rev. Paul Kang
Conclusion presented by
Rev. Jacob Armstrong
Scripture Proverbs 3:3-5
Sermon “Not On Your Own Understanding” Bishop William T. McAlilly
Prayer by Ms. Elizabeth Sweat
Offering Rev. Michael O’Bannon
Offertory “Duke Street”
Mrs. Sandy Arndt, Organist
Wilbur Held
Holy Communion
Dismissal With Blessing Bishop McAlilly
Hymn, #438 “Forth In Thy Name” DUKE STREET
Closing Voluntary “Grand Recessional”
Mrs. Sandy Arndt, Organist
Fred Brock

> View PHOTO’s, click image below to view gallery

> Photo Galleries
> ABOUT US, Bishop