For the first time, a member from outside the United States has been elected president of the United Methodist Judicial Council.
N. Oswald Tweh Sr., a lay member from Liberia, will lead the denomination's top court for 2016-20.
Tweh was elected to an eight-year term on Judicial Council in 2012. The nine members of the new council, five of whom were elected on May 16, will take office at the conclusion of General Conference 2016.
Other officers for the new council, elected during a brief organizing meeting on May 19, are Ruben Reyes, a lay member from Manila, Philippines, as vice president, and the Rev. Luan-Vu Tran of Lakewood, California, as secretary.
Tweh, an attorney, holds law degrees from the University of Liberia and Harvard University. He has served as assistant professor at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law at the University of Liberia and was president of the Liberian National Bar Association from 2006 to 2008.
Reyes, elected May 16 for a second eight-year term, is a retired justice of the Philippines Supreme Court and former presiding justice of the Philippines Court of Appeals. Currently, he is lay leader of Central United Methodist Church in Manila.
Tran, a new council member, is the pastor of Lakewood (California) First United Methodist Church. He has served churches in southern California since 2002 and is a member of the California-Pacific Conference. His degrees include one from Harvard Law School.
Other clergy members of Judicial Council for 2016-20 are the Rev. Øyvind Helliesen, Norway Conference; the Rev. J. Kabamba Kiboko, Texas Conference, and the Rev. Dennis L. Blackwell, Greater New Jersey Conference.
Additional lay members are Beth Capen, New York Conference; Deanell Reece Tacha, Kansas Conference, and Lídia Romão Gulele of Mozambique South Conference.
Linda Bloom, UMNS multimedia reporter based in New York.
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