|German United Methodists re-elect Bishop Wenner|
Bishop Rosemarie Wenner was re-elected bishop of the German Central Conference of The United Methodist Church on Nov. 19.
A UMNS photo by Claus Kellner.
By Üllas Tankler*
Nov. 24, 2008 | DRESDEN, Germany (UMNS)
The newly re-elected United Methodist bishop of Germany declared that mission is the vocation of the church as she rallied its leaders to greater efforts in evangelism and starting new churches.
Wenner is congratulated by
Bishop Gregory Palmer.
A UMNS photo by Klaus Ulrich.
Speaking during the Nov. 19-22 meeting of the Germany Central Conference, Bishop Rosemarie Wenner said that "mission is not one area or field of ministry for the church. Mission is its vocation. The church is mission."
Wenner, 53, was re-elected to lead the church's 65,000 German United Methodists in 500 congregations. She received 90 percent of some 100 votes on the first ballot. The church's German membership has been stable in recent years.
Bishop Gregory V. Palmer, president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, presided over the election. The Germany Central Conference convenes every three years and represents the nation's three annual (regional) United Methodist conferences.
United Methodist bishops in the United States are elected for life, but term election is the general practice elsewhere. Wenner was first elected to a four-year term in 2005; this year, she was tapped for an eight-year term.
With her first election, Wenner became the first female United Methodist bishop outside the United States. She is now one of two. Earlier this year, the Rev. Joaquina Filipe Nhanala was elected in Mozambique.
Wenner attended the United Methodist Reutlingen Theological Seminary in Germany. She was ordained in 1981 and came into prominence within the international denomination after being appointed as a district superintendent in 1996.
"There are many challenges, but God is with us on this journey," she said in accepting re-election.
"There are many challenges, but God is with us on this journey." –Bishop Rosemarie Wenner
Asked at a news conference to identify the church's greatest challenge for the upcoming years, Wenner cited a need to motivate local churches to be more active and innovative in outreach.
She emphasized similar themes in her episcopal address. While encouraging the beginning of new congregations, the bishop acknowledged serious financial challenges facing the church in Germany and elsewhere.
The emphasis, she insisted, should not be on funds but on a spiritual approach. "A church which is becoming poorer can still be a missionary church," she said. "As a missionary church, we will share our gifts and resources with those who have even less than we do."
*Tankler is a staff executive with the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or email@example.com.
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