Bishop Ray W. Chamberlain
Resident Bishop

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bishop's perspective:
For retired clergy, we thank God

On June 11, Bishop Chamberlain gave the following letter to retirees at the Sending Forth Service of Annual Conference. Bishop Chamberlain deeply appreciates the retired clergy of this conference and encourages the laity and active clergy to continue to embrace and value them.

Dear Colleagues,
I write you as colleagues in a ministry which will continue until the day we cross over Jordan River. The official language of the United Methodist Church defines you as "retired." But in the grand economy of God's calling you are still claimed as active, needed and valued.

These are difficult days for both the world and the church. The gap in America between persons of Christian faith and no professed faith is expanding. Pastors in all denominations are being "fired" at an increasing rate. Burnout continues to soar. Conflict over styles of worship plagues Protestantism as well as Catholicism.

Our active pastors urgently need your maturity of faith, your wisdom, your encouragement and your prayers which will make the difference between some succeeding or failing.

Anxiety is high. Negativism is rampant. Blame is normative. It is within this arena I implore you to offer a different voice one of assurance, positivism and encouragement.

For all your years of faithful service I thank God. And for your continued ministry in many forms I join others in rising up to call you blessed.

My prayer is that you will be freshly energized by the empowering of the Holy Spirit for faithful witness.

Grace and peace,
Ray W. Chamberlain Jr.


9915 Kingston Pike, Suite C | Knoxville, TN 37922
PO Box 32939 | Knoxville, TN 37930 | Phone (865) 690-4080 | Fax (865) 690-3162

210 Maple St. | Johnson City, TN 37604
PO Box 2506 | Johnson City, TN 37605 | Phone (423) 928-2156 | Fax (423) 928-880

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