Bishop Edward Paup of Seattle Elected as Top United Methodist Mission Executive

March 12, 2008

Stamford, CT, March 11, 2008—A man who wanted to be a missionary when he was young and grew up to become a bishop in The United Methodist Church will soon step into the role of chief executive of his denomination’s international mission agency.


Bishop Edward W. Paup of Seattle, 62, was elected on March 11 by the directors of the General Board of Global Ministries to serve in the post of general secretary of the organization. Global Ministries has personnel, projects, and partners in 135 countries.


California-Nevada Conference Bishop Beverly J. Shamana says, “Bishop Paup brings a deep passion for mission to this new position of General Secretary to the Board.


“I give thanks for his many gifts of transformational leadership which will take the General Board of Global Ministries into the future with strength.”


Paup will assume his new position on September 1, 2008, and at that time – in an unprecedented move – will resign from the episcopacy, retaining his status as an ordained elder (clergy) in the Rocky Mountain Annual Conference. Since Bishop Shamana is retiring September 1, 2008, Paup’s resignation means delegates will be required to elect two bishops when they meet for the Western Jurisdiction Conference in July.


At the mission agency, Paup will succeed Bishop Felton E. May, who was named interim general secretary in October 2007.


The general secretary-elect has been a director of Global Ministries since 2004. He currently chairs the Health and Relief unit, which incorporates the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and the Health and Welfare unit. He was the unanimous nominee of a 19-member search committee chaired by Bishop Joel N. Martinez of San Antonio, president of the board of directors.


In accepting the election, Bishop Paup spoke of his strong call to mission and his commitment to proclaim and bear witness in multiple ways to the transforming love of God. “All are called into mission,” he said, “and we must be prepared as a mission board to receive all of the gifts [talents] that people bring to mission.”


In an informal act of consecration, directors and staff of the mission board lifted up their hands, symbolically placing them on Paup’s shoulders, as a prayer was offered by the Rev. Dr. Maxie Dunnam, former president of Asbury Theological Seminary and a Global Ministries’ director (at right in photo). Dunnam asked God to bestow power, wisdom, and discernment upon the general secretary-elect.


The Rev. James B. Mooneyhan, chair of the board’s personnel committee (at left in photo), described Bishop Paup as “a leader who can carry the General Board of Global Ministries into the future. While we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us in mission, there are many new places into which we must boldly venture.”


Rev. Mooneyhan, who is pastor of the Sugar Hill United Methodist Church, Sugar Hill, Geogia, said that the personnel committee was impressed that Paup volunteered to resign from the office of bishop. “His status as an elder levels the playing field in our relations with other United Methodist boards and agencies.”


Paup, a native of Pennsylvania, has been the resident bishop of the Seattle Area since 2004, leading the Pacific Northwest Annual and Alaska Missionary conferences. From 1996 to 2004 he served the Portland (Oregon) Area, which at the time included the Oregon-Idaho and Alaska Missionary conferences.


In a statement released minutes after the election, the Committee on the Episcopacy of the Pacific Northwest Conference affirmed Paup “in this new leadership role for our denomination. While there will be a tremendous sense of loss to us here in the Pacific Northwest Conference, the Alaska Missionary Conference, and the Western Jurisdiction of the UMC, we celebrate the gifts and graces that Bishop Paup will bring to this important global ministry of the church.”


Paup is currently the president of the College of Bishops of the Western Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church and has served on many denominational boards and committees – both before and since his election to the episcopacy in 1996. He formerly headed the committee that oversees the Advance for Christ and His Church, the designated mission-giving program of church.


Paup says that his interest in mission as a child helped to shape his faith and that his election as a director re-ignited his passion for mission. As chair of the Health and Welfare unit, he had direct involvement in UMCOR responses to some of the worst natural disasters of recent times, including the 2004 tsunami in South Asia and the 2005 hurricanes along the US Gulf Coast.


Mission is foundational to every aspect of the church, or should be,” Paup says. He sees the General Board of Global Ministries as having a unique and pivotal role in the work of the church in “making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”


Edward W. Paup was born in Oil City, Pennsylvania in 1945, the son of educators, and grew up in Grace Methodist Church there. He attended Lycoming College, a United Methodist-related school in Williamsport, graduating in 1967. While at Lycoming he married the former Carol Brooks. The couple has three children and five grandchildren.


The new mission leader received his seminary training at Iliff School of Theology, Denver, and following graduation in 1967 was ordained a deacon by the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference. He transferred to the Rocky Mountain Conference and in 1970 was ordained a United Methodist elder.


Paup served as pastor or associate pastor of several congregations in Colorado from the late 1960s until he was named superintendent of the Utah/Western District of his conference in 1989. After four years in that position, he was appointed as assistant to the bishop of the Rocky Mountain Conference. Three years later, in 1996, he himself was elected a bishop by the Western Jurisdiction.


In a video message taped just following his election, Bishop Paup imparts his thoughts concerning this history-making transition, including its impact on the Western Jurisdiction.


(To view the video on line you will need to install QuickTime Player, if you do not have it already. This is a free download.)


Link here to read more about the election of bishops.


California-Nevada Conference Interim Communications Director Cate Monaghan contributed to this article written by Elliot Wright, Information Officer, GBGM.