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Regional United Methodist Bishops Affirm SMU Presidential Library Process

College of Bishops
South Central Jurisdiction
The United Methodist Church

Monday, Feb. 5, 2007 Contact: Stephen Drachler (615) 417-9284

Regional United Methodist Bishops Affirm SMU Presidential Library Process

DALLAS Bishops representing United Methodists in the south central United States today affirmed the process by which Southern Methodist University is seeking to host the George W. Bush presidential library and policy center.

"We believe Southern Methodist University's trustees and administration are acting responsibly and in good faith," the bishops said in a resolution adopted during their quarterly meeting. The bishops praised SMU President Dr. Gerald Turner's "careful stewardship and advocacy of the historic relationship between the university and the church" throughout this process.

President Bush is considering SMU for his presidential library and related policy center after his second term ends in 2008. First Lady Laura Bush is a graduate of the university and a member of its board of trustees. Three bishops serve as members of the board. The Bushes are members of Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas, close to the SMU campus.

SMU was created by The United Methodist Church in 1911. Its bylaws occasionally require the approval of the South Central Jurisdiction of trustee actions involving the sale and/or leasing of property.

"We understand the controversy involved in this proposal. Our action today is focused on the process SMU has been engaged. SMU has been forthcoming and transparent in its dealings and communication with us," the bishops said in their resolution.

The resolution was approved by the 10 active bishops present at the meeting. Retired bishops have voice, but do not vote on actions of the college.

The South Central Jurisdiction represents United Methodists in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Resolution Regarding Southern Methodist University
and the George W. Bush Presidential Library

The College of Bishops of the South Central Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church affirms the Southern Methodist University Board of Trustees in their negotiations to host the George W. Bush Presidential Library. We believe Southern Methodist University's Trustees and administration are acting responsibly and in good faith in the dialogue and discussions surrounding the presidential library. The College also voices its appreciation of the work of SMU President Dr. Gerald Turner throughout this process. We celebrate President Turner's careful stewardship and advocacy of the historic relationship between the university and the church.

Southern Methodist University was founded by the United Methodist Church and continues to enjoy a close relationship with the Church, a relationship underscored in the bylaws of the university. From time to time, the SMU Board of Trustees seeks advice and approval for university actions from the church.

We understand the controversy involved in this proposal. Our action today is focused on the process in which SMU has been engaged. SMU has been forthcoming and transparent in its dealings and communication with us.

Our relationship with Southern Methodist University and other United Methodist-related institutions of higher learning plays an important role in our mission to make disciples for Jesus Christ. We need to continue strengthening these relationships.

February 5, 2007

Dallas, Texas

Resolution offered by Bishop Charles Crutchfield