Featured guests at this year's California-Nevada Annual Conference Session include the Rev. Adam Hamilton, best-selling author and senior pastor at the largest, fastest-growing United Methodist church in the country (read related story); Jorge Lockward, coordinator of Global Praise for the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM); and Bishop Melvin G. Talbert (retired), who was resident bishop in this Conference from 1988 to his retirement in 2000.
Jorge A. Lockward
As worship leader for the 163rd Annual Conference Session, Jorge Lockward will bring a multicultural flavor to this year's services.
A native of the Dominican Republic, Lockward was a committee member for creation of the Spanish Language United Methodist Hymnal, Mil Voces para Celebrar, and has served as consultant on Global Music for several denominational hymnals. He is the editor of Tenemos Esperanza, a trilingual (Spanish, Portuguese, and English) songbook and recording of congregational song from Latin America, published in 2003 by GBGMusik. He also is co-founder and conductor-in-residence of Cántico Nuevo (New Song), a worship-and-arts ecumenical project in New York City.
Since January, 2000, Lockward has served as Global Praise Program Coordinator. Global Praise is a GBGM program "…to gather, receive, and share the songs of the people called Methodist and other Christians around the world. Music is imperative, if we are to move outside of ourselves, relate to others, and build community," according to the Global Praise website.
The Global Praise program brings together authors and composers from the global Methodist Connection and the ecumenical community to share their creative skills in witness. It seeks to discover the music that can be shared viably and effectively to strengthen and affirm one another in the faith pilgrimage, and to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to all. In addition, it seeks to enable and facilitate indigenous song among peoples wherever they are, for the enrichment of life, worship, and witness.
As a song leader, Lockward has offered his gifts in a variety of ecumenical settings, including the 9th Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Porto Alegre, Brazil. He also was one of the music leaders at last year's Religion Communication Congress, the world’s largest interfaith gathering of faith communications professionals, April 7-10, 2010 in Chicago.
"I always say that in multicultural worship, the main problem is not language or culture but power. Power is the problem when we think, as we do too often, that worship is something for us instead of something for God," Lockward told rccongress2010.org (©2007-2010 Religion Communication Congress 2010). He also added, "Communities share their own personal stories …. Make your community your parish by becoming spiritually responsible to every person: the biggest responsibility there is."
Lockward is a lay member of the New York Annual Conference.
Bishop Melvin G. Talbert
The person for whom the Bishop Melvin Talbert Award for Racial Justice is named will return to the California-Nevada Annual Conference to preach the sermon at the Journey of the Saints worship service, Thursday, June 16 from 4 to 5:30 p.m.
Bishop Talbert served here as resident bishop from 1988 until his retirement on August 31, 2000.
Born in Clinton, Louisiana, Melvin G. Talbert was one of seven children of sharecropper parents. He was married to Ethelou Douglas for 38 years until her death in February 1999. (Last year's Conference Offering at ACS was taken on behalf of the Gilead School for Children and the Ethelou D. Talbert Shelter for Girls in the Philippines, established in 1998, through another Conference Offering, to honor Mrs. Talbert.)
Bishop Talbert married Marilyn W. Magee on April 1, 2000. He has one daughter and three grandchildren.
Melvin Talbert received a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education degree from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1959. During his final year, he accepted a Call to the ordained ministry and after graduation entered Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC)/Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia, from which he earned a Master of Divinity degree in 1962, with the first full class of graduates from ITC.
While at ITC Talbert became president of the student body while serving a two-point charge in Tennessee. He became involved with the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and helped plan the first student sit-in demonstrations in Atlanta in 1960. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. accepted the invitation to join with the students in the sit-in demonstrations and was arrested with them – and Talbert spent three days and nights in the same jail cell as Dr. King.
His Civil Rights protest experiences impacted Talbert's life profoundly, and he takes pride in having shared a cell with the great Civil Rights leader.
After being ordained a Deacon and then an Elder and serving as interim at St. John's UMC in Watts, associate pastor at Wesley UMC in Los Angeles, and senior pastor at Hamilton UMC in Los Angeles, Talbert was named Associate Council Director for the Southern California-Arizona Conference. One year later, he was appointed District Superintendent for the Long Beach District. In 1973, Talbert was elected General Secretary for the General Board of Discipleship in Nashville, where he served until he was elected to the episcopacy in 1980 and was assigned to the Seattle Area. He was assigned to the San Francisco Area in 1988, where he retired August 31, 2000.
Talbert was visiting professor of Evangelism at Claremont College in 1978; a delegate to General Conference 1968-80, and a member of the Social Principles Commission, 1968-72. He is a trustee and Chair of the Board at Gammon, and at various times has served as trustee at University of Puget Sound, Claremont School of Theology, and Pacific School of Religion. He was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus of his seminary in 1990.
He was a member of the General Council on Ministries (and was Chair of its Missional Priority Coordinating Committee, 1976-84); a member of the General Commission on Religion and Race, 1980-88 (serving as its President, 1983-88); and a member of the General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns, 1988-96 and 2000-04. He was a director of the National Council of Churches (NCCCUSA) from the mid 1970s to August 2004, and served as its president 1996-97; a member of the World Methodist Council Executive Committee; the World Council of Churches Central Committee (its Executive Committee and Finance Committee); and was Secretary for the Council of Bishops (COB) for two quadrennia – 1988-92 and 1992-96 – during which time he carried the title Head of Communion.
Bishop Talbert was one of 40 Presidential Guests to accompany US President Bill Clinton on his peace pilgrimage to Northern Ireland and Ireland in December 1995, and has visited the White House on several occasions, representing the NCCCUSA and the Council of Bishops. Talbert was Ecumenical Officer for the Council of Bishops 2000-04, and served as Interim Executive Director of Black Methodists for Church Renewal, Inc.
His official Council of Bishops biography describes him as a sports enthusiast and "hacker golfer" who loves camping and plays a little guitar.