United Methodist Bishops Urged to Do Soul Check

November 03, 2009

By Kathy L. Gilbert*

Nov. 2, 2009 | LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) - Soul matters.
As the United Methodist Council of Bishops gathered for their fall meeting, church officials were reminded to pay attention to the "soulful" qualities of Christian leadership.
"Never forget we traffic in hope," Bishop Gregory Palmer said in his presidential address. "Our mission doesn't depend completely on us. God is relentless in God's purpose."
The church is facing serious challenges and is "awash in truth and reality checks." But that's not the whole message, he said.
"We have told it like it is so well [that] we have become a fearful people. We have sent messages that there isn't enough of this or that. But that is only a part of our job. The other part is to say we have everything we need, if only we have the eyes to see it."
During the November 1-5 meeting, the bishops will be in conversation around "preparing principled Christian leaders," one of the four areas of focus adopted by the 2008 General Conference, the denomination's top legislative body.
Palmer reminded the bishops that a leader does not need to be at the podium.
"In our quest to grow the church, may we not lose our courage and our voice to stand, even if it is unpopular. The greatest courage will be to have honest conversations in this council. We seem to walk right up to [it], and then lose our heart."
*Gilbert is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tennessee.