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Bishop Goodpaster: The future starts now

Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church
100 Maryland Ave. NE
Washington, D.C. 20002


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 2, 2011

St. Simons Island, Ga.: Six months ago, Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster, president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, challenged his fellow bishops to lean into God's future.

Today he amended the invitation, asking them not just to lean into the future, but to "lead into the future; to seize this moment in time to exercise our corporate leadership to make a difference in the world, and in this denomination we care so deeply about."

Goodpaster delivered the presidential address at Epworth By The Sea on St. Simons Island, Ga., noting that it is a place where both John and Charles Wesley walked.

He also noted the dramatic changes in the world since the Council last met there in November 2008."The global economic collapse has impacted every country, every village, and every person. Not only has the economy challenged our church and our leadership but we have also witnessed a series of disasters: a devastating earthquake in Haiti; an equally devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan; deadly tornados and floods across the United States; wars and violence in more countries than we care to name; revolution and a cry for basic human rights and freedoms in other countries; and still children die because of the diseases of poverty."

Goodpaster said that during the meeting, bishops would be invited to "think, talk, discern, and perhaps even decide about an alternative design for leading this branch of God's church."

"Leading into the future will demand that we begin to imagine how some of this might look, with no easy answers and no quick fixes. Leading into the future will demand that we become spiritual, servant, emergent, and missional leaders. At the intersection of those images, we may discover a framework in which we will lead our denomination into a future with hope and toward the transformation of the world, and of the church."

Goodpaster concluded by echoing 1 Peter 1:3, The Message: "The future starts now!"

Read the full text of the speech here.

About the Council of Bishops
The Council of Bishops-made up of 50 active bishops in the United States, 19 bishops in Europe, Asia and Africa, and 86 retired bishops worldwide-provides leadership and helps set the direction of the 11.5 million-member church and its mission throughout the world. The bishops are the top clergy leaders of The United Methodist Church, the second largest Protestant denomination in the U.S.

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