Church Agencies See 'Minimal' Impact from Enron Debacle
GCOM team moves ahead with idea for common church board
Association sanctions six church-related colleges

Expanded News Briefs
Agencies offer training events for new songbook
National conference will focus on changing communities
Southern Baptists to Stop Endorsing Ordained Women Chaplains
Souper Bowl Raises $2.6 Million to Fight Hunger

UMNS National News Briefs

Feb. 13, 2002
GCOM team moves ahead with idea for common church board

By United Methodist News Service

The idea of creating a single governing board for almost all of the United Methodist Church's general agencies has taken a step forward with the approval of the denomination's Council on Ministries' leadership team.

The Servant Leadership Team, meeting Feb. 5-7 in New Orleans, embraced the idea and decided to develop a formal proposal for the full General Council on Ministries (GCOM).

Top staff executive Daniel Church has suggested that the general agencies "share a common table of governance" while continuing to operate with their own individual portfolios. A single board would provide leadership for all of the agencies except the United Methodist Publishing House and the Board of Pension and Health Benefits.

A writing team will develop a formal proposal that will be given to GCOM members by April 1. Council members will have time to discuss the idea with others in their annual conferences and around the church in preparation for the full GCOM meeting April 19 in Oklahoma City, Church told United Methodist News Service. GCOM, with offices in Dayton, Ohio, coordinates the denomination's programs and elects top officers to most of its general agencies.

The Servant Leadership Team has set a fall deadline for getting a final decision on what GCOM will recommend to General Conference. The church's top legislative assembly meets in Pittsburgh in 2004.

The idea for a single board was one of three proposals that Church outlined for the GCOM at its October meeting. The council mandated that the ideas be publicized across the church for a response.

Church's second proposal called for the creation of a bicameral legislature for the denomination. Such a legislature would meet every four years, with one house constituted much like the General Conference and the other comprising the denomination's bishops. Currently, the bishops attend and preside over General Conference but do not have voting power. The Servant Leadership Team didn't embrace this proposal, but it agreed to continue exploring ways to involve the bishops in general church leadership beyond their local areas.

Church's third proposal was to refine the denomination's understanding of its own global nature. Noting that the current United Methodist Church structure was developed in an American context, he suggested encouraging church members outside the United States "who are eager to find their own local applications of the Methodist impulse É to do so without risk of the U.S. church immediately withdrawing its mission support." Often, churches in other countries don't seek autonomy for fear of losing financial support.

The Servant Leadership Team members decided further discussion was needed, Church said.

All GCOM members were invited to join in the Servant Leadership Team's discussions through a 90-minute Web cast, held Feb. 6 at a television studio. Besides enabling broader discussion about the proposals, the Web cast gave the council an opportunity to pilot technology that it hopes to use again in the 2001-2004 quadrennium, Church said.

Church described the discussion about the governing board idea as "hearty É (with) a lot of good give and take."

"Various points of view have clustered around specific issues," he said. People around the church have expressed great approval for having a board that can see the whole picture of the church's ministries, the sense of synergy that would come from agencies working together, and the good stewardship that would result from reducing the duplication of tasks. Concerns include the fact that the total number of members would be fewer with a consolidated board, possibly resulting in less representation for groups that traditionally have been marginalized. Some also fear that centralizing authority into any single entity would be dangerous, he said.

During its meeting, the Servant Leadership Team also approved a proposal from the GCOM's Committee on Legislation to invite any individuals interested in sponsoring General Conference legislation to meet at a common table to discuss their ideas.

The meeting would allow people to share ideas and get resources that will help them write cogent legislation, Church said. "Anyone who wishes to come at one's own expense may and sit, literally, at the table and talk," he said. Others will be able to contact the council without attending the meeting, he said.

Historically, only executives with the general agencies have had such a meeting before each General Conference, he said.

With the Servant Leadership Team's approval, the legislative committee will begin planning the meeting. Details need to be worked out, but Church said the meeting probably would be held in early 2003.


Feb. 12, 2002
Association sanctions six church-related colleges
By United Methodist News Service

The regional accrediting body of college and universities in the South has sanctioned six United Methodist-related colleges and universities for financial and technical concerns.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in Decatur, Ga., placed the colleges on probation, warning, or delayed affirmation. The denomination's University Senate and Division of Higher Education are working closely with those colleges to overcome the sanctions.

The association is the recognized regional accrediting body in 11 Southern states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia) and Latin America for institutions of higher education that award associate, baccalaureate, master's or doctoral degrees.

The sanctioned colleges were named during the Jan. 17-18 meeting of the University Senate, an elected group of 25 higher-education professionals who determine what schools, colleges, universities and seminaries meet the criteria for listing as institutions affiliated with the United Methodist Church.

Many of the schools are making progress in correcting the financial and technical matters of concern by the association, according to Ken Yamada, staff executive in the denomination's Division of Higher Education, a unit of the Board of Higher Education and Ministry in Nashville, Tenn.

The association has degrees of sanctions, Yamada said. Probation is a public sanction against a college for noncompliance with the association's Criteria for Accreditation, a guidebook on accrediting standards. Warning is a public or private sanction against a college for failure to meet accreditation criteria. Delayed affirmation occurs when a college has not met all accrediting criteria. Each college remains accredited and has from six to 12 months to dissolve the concerns and report to the association for review and action.

The sanctioned institutions are:

  • Bennett College, Greensboro, N.C., for 12 months for failure to comply with criteria of possessing sufficient financial resources to support all programs.

  • Ferrum (Va.) College for 12 months for failure to comply with criteria of conditions of eligibility.

  • Hiwassee College, Madisonville, Tenn., for 12 months for failure to comply with criteria of conditions of eligibility, institutional effectiveness and possessing sufficient financial resources to support all programs.

  • Martin Methodist College, Pulaski, Tenn., for six months for failure to comply with criteria for planning and evaluating educational programs, administrative and educational and support services, institutional research, faculty and budget planning.

  • McMurry College, Abilene, Texas, for 12 months for failure to comply with criteria in planning and evaluating administrative and educational support services and for failure to comply with criteria of possessing sufficient financial resources to support all programs.

  • North Carolina Wesleyan College, Rocky Mount, for 12 months for failure to comply with criteria for planning and evaluating educational programs, administrative and educational and support services, institutional research, faculty, and library and online resources.

In a related matter, the Division of Higher Education has been assisting Wood College, a two-year liberal arts school in Mathiston, Miss., in an appeal to the association regarding accreditation. The association said the college failed to comply with criteria for possessing sufficient financial resources to support all programs and failed to demonstrate good cause for continuing accreditation. The school, also related to the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, appealed to the association and remains an accredited institution on warning until an appeals committee decides the matter in March.

There are 124 institutions related to the United Methodist Church in diverse settings across the United States, from rural communities to large cities. Student enrollment ranges from 200 to 15,000.

The senate, established in 1882, is one of the oldest accrediting bodies in the country. Its mission was to ensure that schools, colleges and universities related to the church were worthy of carrying the denomination's name. In recent years, regional bodies have accredited academic institutions, and the senate has focused more on how institutions are related to the United Methodist Church.

In addition to being accredited by regional accrediting bodies, institutions must meet the University Senate's review of institutions in four categories: institutional integrity; well-structured programs; sound management; and clearly defined church relationships.

Using those criteria, the senators approved eight schools for continued listing as United Methodist-related institutions at their recent meeting. An academic institution is reviewed once every 10 years, or more often under special circumstances.

The denomination's 13 theological schools, plus all other seminaries that educate the church's clergy, must have senate approval. Church-related seminaries are reviewed every 10 years based on criteria in the Book of Discipline and other factors established by the Division of Ordained Ministry of the Board of Higher Education and Ministry as well as the senate. The senate approved three seminaries for continued listing as related to the United Methodist Church.

Theological schools not related to the denomination also must meet certain criteria to be listed by the senate. These institutions are reviewed every four years. A commission on theological education assists the senate in evaluating non-United Methodist-related schools of theology and employs five criteria. The criteria are freedom of academic inquiry; opportunity for growth in the United Methodist tradition; compatibility with the Social Principles; racial and gender profile of faculty and students; and academic quality.

During the senate's most recent meeting, 16 non-related theological schools and seminaries were approved to educate United Methodist ministers.

One of the accepted schools, Brite Divinity School, a part of Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, recently reported that most of its students are United Methodists while the majority of students attending the university are Catholic. The divinity school and the university are affiliated with the Christian Church or Disciples of Christ. Nearly 30 denominations are represented in the divinity school's student body, nine in the faculty.

Approved by the University Senate for continued listing as United Methodist-related schools, colleges and universities were:

Albion (Mich.) College.
Iowa Wesleyan College, Mount Pleasant
Kendall College, Evanston, Ill.
Lycoming College, Williamsport, Pa.
Randolph-Macon Woman's College, Lynchburg, Va.
Southern Methodist University, Dallas.
Young Harris (Ga.) College.
Randolph-Macon Academy, Front Royal, Va.

United Methodist theological schools and seminaries approved by the senate for continued listing include:

Iliff School of Theology, Denver.
Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas.
Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington.

University Senate-approved non-United Methodist theological seminaries and schools include:

Associated Mennonite Biblical, Elkhart, Ind.
Brite Divinity School, Fort Worth, Texas.
Chicago Theological Seminary.
Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis.
Colgate Rochester Divinity School, Rochester, N.Y.
Eastern Mennonite Seminary, Harrisonburg, Va.
Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, Austin, Texas;
Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, Calif.
Fuller Seattle Extension Center, Seattle.
Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn.
Moravian Theological Seminary, Bethlehem, Pa.
Phillips Theological Seminary, Tulsa, Okla.
Princeton (N.J.) Theological Seminary.
University of the South School of Theology, Sewanee, Tenn.
Union Theological Seminary, New York.
United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, New Brighton, Minn.

A list of University Senate approved non-United Methodist seminaries that can educate United Methodist clergy may be found at

The senate's next meeting will be June 27-28 at Iliff School of Theology in Denver.



Feb. 11, 2002
Agencies offer training events for new songbook

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) -- The United Methodist Publishing House and churchwide Board of Discipleship are planning a series of six introductory and training events for The Faith We Sing songbook.

The three-day events will be held in the United Methodist Church's five U.S. jurisdictions. The first will be at Mathewson Street United Methodist Church in Providence, R.I., Feb. 25-27. It will be followed by others in different regions: Feb. 28-March 2, First United Methodist Church, Evanston, Ill; April 22-24, Saint Mark United Methodist Church, Atlanta; April 25-27, First United Methodist Church, Garland, Texas; May 6-8, First United Methodist Church, Garden Grove, Calif.; and May 9-11, Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church, Oakland, Calif.

The two United Methodist agencies held a national introductory event for the book a year ago in Nashville. "It was so well received and attended, we closed that event off to registrations, and we've had continued interest in it," said Dean McIntyre, music resources director at the Board of Discipleship and coordinator of the training events.

The Providence event will feature some of the church's most prominent music and worship experts, including Michael Hawn, Perkins School of Theology; Mark Miller, instructor of organ and choral music at Drew University and artist-in-residence at Union Theological Seminary; Dan Benedict, Board of Discipleship worship resources director; and Gary Alan Smith and Debi Tyree, both Abingdon Press music editors at the Publishing House. Topics will include gospel and ethnic music, the theology of the songbook, worship planning, Taize music and use of the hymnal as a choir book.

Evening worship will include a Taize service and a hymn festival, both open to the public.

A different plenary and workshop leader will be featured at each location. Providence: Carl Daw, executive director of the Hymn Society in the U.S. and Canada; Evanston: Ruth Duck, professor of worship and hymn writer at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary; Dallas: Jane Marshall, composer, hymn writer, author, teacher; Atlanta: Brian Wren, professor of worship and hymn writer, Columbia Theological Seminary; and for both California events: Jim and Jean Strathdee, music directors and songwriters.

The church's response to The Faith We Sing has been strong. "It has exceeded our expectations for sales," McIntyre said. "We've had an ongoing string of phone calls and e-mail messages and letters asking about it."

The book is available in several editions, each designed for a specific type of user – church member, choir, worship planner, musician and so on.
Sales of the various editions are at around 500,000 copies, said Judy Smith, executive director of publishing at the Publishing House. Sales of the pew edition are about 30 percent above expectations, she said.

Last year, after the songbook was introduced, the board and the Publishing House received an initial flurry of postcards critical of the book's theology, primarily regarding the use of feminine references to God in some songs.

McIntyre said he has had ongoing conversations with some of the critics. The people who have complained are in the minority, though they hold an opinion that "we certainly don't want to slight or ignore," he said.

For more information or a brochure on the training events, contact Jean Musterman at the Board of Discipleship, toll free, (877) 899-2780, Ext. 7070, or at Information and materials are also available at

The early registration deadline for the Providence event has passed, but McIntyre said walk-ins would be accepted there and at the other events until attendance is full.


Feb. 8, 2002
National conference will focus on changing communities

By United Methodist News Service

Windsor Village United Methodist Church, the denomination's largest U.S. congregation, will share its experience in transforming communities by hosting a nationwide conference this spring.

Up to 500 United Methodists and leaders of other traditions and nonprofit organizations are expected to attend the April 4-6 eChurch2002 Ministry Conference to network and gather resources for changing their communities.

EChurch is a "teaching-church" initiative of Windsor Village in Houston that will provide opportunities to increase the effectiveness of churches, pastors and ministry volunteers, said the Rev. Robert Johnson, leader of the initiative and the church's senior associate pastor.

The conference is planned as a learning and networking opportunity for churches "to increase their effectiveness in getting God's people mobilized for ministry" and "to increase their effectiveness in leading churches to get involved in building and transforming communities for the glory of God," Johnson said.

Windsor Village's partners in the conference are the United Methodist Communities of Shalom Zone program of the New York-based United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, the Texas Annual Conference's Office of Spiritual Formation and the Urban Church Network of the Dallas-based Leadership Network.

Presentations on issues of leadership will provided by the Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell, pastor of the 14,300-member Windsor Village congregation; economist and columnist Julianne Malveaux; Houston Texans owner Bob McNair; and former NFL player Reggie White. More than 10 workshops will be offered.

"The sanctuary must be taken into the streets in order for the church to be relevant in the 21st century," said Caldwell, also author of the Gospel of Good Success. With that focus, eChurch is a way for Windsor Village to share its knowledge, inspire through its stories and teach and inform those who have their own "kingdom-building visions," he said.

"Good success is not success by worldly, secular standards," Johnson said. "It is the success that God promised Joshua in Joshua 1:1-9 that means being able to accomplish your God-given mission." Windsor Village is in this sharing mode because "we believe that we can inspire and encourage others to greater effectiveness in their own God-given visions, ministries, and missions," he said.

Windsor Village is innovative because its leaders have not allowed themselves to get "boxed in" with methods and approaches that are no longer effective, Johnson said.

An innovative church thrives on change, he said. Innovation is critical for every church to help members become equipped and empowered for mission and ministry.

Windsor Village's street-oriented ministry has led to the construction of a 400-home planned community, a prayer center, a family life center, a wellness center, a tennis center, a commercial business park, an elementary school, and parks and catfish ponds. The church has become a national model for how faith-based organizations can transform a community through empowerment and effective public and private partnerships.

The church held its first eChurch conference last year. In the future, officials anticipate expanding the event to include three to five smaller events throughout the year.

More information about eChurch2002 Ministry Conference, including registration, may be found online at, by sending an e-mail message to Robert Johnson at or by calling (713) 723-8187, Ext. 237.


Feb. 14, 2002
Southern Baptists to Stop Endorsing Ordained Women Chaplains

(RNS) The Southern Baptist Convention's North American Mission Board has decided to no longer endorse ordained women chaplains.

The action, taken at a trustee meeting Feb. 6, reflects another adaptation of denominational policy following revisions of the faith statement of the nation's largest Protestant denomination.

"The Chaplains Commission has not required or considered ordination in the endorsement of chaplains in the past," said a statement from the trustees. "However, in the future we will refrain from endorsing ordained women to the office of chaplain. We recognize ordination as a local church action, but endorsement and its requirement is the action of a national agency."

The trustee board oversees the work of the Chaplains Commission, which endorses chaplains to work in such areas as prisons, hospitals and businesses.

Mission Board spokesman Martin King said 2,600 chaplains are endorsed by the denomination, including 235 women. Ninety-four of those women are ordained.

King said the decision "applies to future endorsements."

He said the matter was discussed at several meetings after a delegate attending the June 2001 meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention made a motion that the issue be reconsidered in light of the 2000 Baptist Faith & Message. That version of the faith statement states that "the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture."

The trustees also cited a 1984 resolution that opposed women's ordination.

They affirmed that women can serve in areas of ministry, including chaplaincies, without ordination and said they will legally defend women chaplains who are denied the right to serve as a chaplain by any institution "because of their religious conviction concerning ordination."

The Rev. Karen Massey, president of Baptist Women in Ministry, predicted the board's decision will lead women to seek endorsement from other agencies, such as the American Baptist Churches, USA, or Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, which are both more theologically liberal than the Southern Baptist Convention's leadership.

"I think there will be a lot of women who will exit," she said.

Since there are relatively few women pastors in the denomination, Massey said chaplaincies have been one of the main career opportunities for ordained Southern Baptist women until this decision.

The group estimated in 2000 that there were just under 100 women serving as pastors or co-pastors in Southern Baptist churches.

"Eventually ... there will be no women in Southern Baptist life who are ordained," Massey said.

-- Adelle M. Banks


Souper Bowl Raises $2.6 Million to Fight Hunger

(RNS) The annual "Souper Bowl of Caring" fund-raiser on Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 3) raised $2.6 million in 6,350 congregations across the United States, and that number will probably exceed $3 million when all the reports are in, organizers said.

That money will be given by the churches to local soup kitchens, food banks and other charities, said Brad Smith, the campaign's director. Since the program went national in 1993 -- raising $144,000 the first year -- youth groups have collected $13.6 million. The vast majority of the money -- $12 million -- has been raised in the last four years.

"I think that young people are providing the leading witness that Super Bowl weekend can be about something more than consumerism," Smith said. "In the midst of the million-dollar commercials and multimillionaire ball players and billionaire owners, you have these kids who are joining together with the support of their congregations and are slowly transforming Super Bowl weekend into a time of caring."

The programs involve church youth groups who stand at their churches' doors with soup pots or chef's hats seeking donations. This year, Smith also encouraged the youth groups to work on the Saturday before the Super Bowl at a local soup kitchen or other charity.

The program was started in 1990 in Columbia, S.C., with 22 churches led by Spring Valley Presbyterian Church. That coalition raised $5,700 and went statewide the next year. Smith said the majority of churches are Protestant, but the effort is growing among Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Jewish congregations.

-- Kevin Eckstrom


back to The Call home

Problem with this Page?
Email the Webmaster

AOL users: This page is best viewed with Netscape or Internet Explorer 5.0+ browsers.

Go to Holston Conference Home Page