From the Worldwide Faith News archives

United Methodists invited to conversation on future

From "NewsDesk" <NewsDesk@UMCOM.ORG>
Date Mon, 24 Feb 2003 13:21:37 -0600

Feb. 24, 2003  News media contact: Tim Tanton7(615)742-54707Nashville, Tenn. 

By United Methodist News Service

United Methodists are encouraged to participate in an online "conversation
about the future" with church leaders Feb. 26 and March 25.

The General Council on Ministries, in cooperation with the Inter-Agency
Research Task Force, is hosting the two webcasts, "What in the World Are We
Talking About? Strengthening Our Global Connection and Ecumenical

The first webcast will be at 8 p.m. Eastern time, Wednesday, Feb. 26. It will
be followed by a second webcast at 8 p.m. Eastern time, March 25.

"We are inviting the church into a conversation about the future," said Clare
Chapman, chairperson of the Forum on the Future committee. "We are not
looking for answers to questions, a solution for the future, or to debate the
pros and cons of one program of action over another. Rather, we are inviting
the church to talk, to question, to think about what is going on around the
world and how that will impact the mission and ministry of the church in the
next 25 years."

Both webcasts will focus on the changing world culture and its impact on
religion. The first will deal with the changes taking place in the United
States, and the second will focus on changes occurring around the world.  

The Feb. 26 webcast will be hosted from the studios of United Methodist
Communications in Nashville, Tenn. The second will originate from the studios
of the Far Eastern Broadcasting Co. in Manila, the Republic of the

The General Council on Ministries was directed by the 2000 General
Conference, the denomination's top legislative assembly, to host a forum on
issues that might affect the future of the church. The General Conference
also mandated that the council study five transformational directions for the
church, outlined by a Connectional Process Team. Those directions include
"strengthening our global connection and ecumenical relationships."

Panelists from across the United Methodist Church and outside the
denomination will be in dialogue with each other and the listening audience
about such questions as: 

7	How will the changing world culture in which United Methodists are
called to do ministry shape the future of the church?
7	How are the unique needs and expressions of faith of the regions of
the world likely to influence the nature of United Methodism's mission in the
7	What are the essential points at which the United Methodist
membership can connect to the global mission and ministry of the church?

The scheduled presenters include the Rev. William J. Abraham, Albert Cook
Outler Professor of Wesley Studies, Perkins School of Theology, Southern
Methodist University; the Rev. Brandon Cho, executive director of the United
Methodist Council on Korean American Ministries; Ernesto J. Cortis Jr.,
Southwest regional director of the Chicago-based Industrial Areas Foundation;
Erin Hawkins, staff executive, United Methodist Commission on Religion and
Race; Bishop Thomas L. Hoyt, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church; Jan Love,
professor, Department of Religious Studies, University of South Carolina;
Bishop Edward Paup, leader of the denomination's Portland (Ore.) Area and
president of the General Council on Ministries; the Rev. Bruce Robbins, top
staff executive, United Methodist Commission on Christian Unity and
Interreligious Concerns; and Jay Williams, Harvard University student.

To participate in the webcasts, go to More details
are available by contacting the council's Office of Research & Planning,, or by calling Craig This, director of research and
planning, at (937) 227-9415.

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United Methodist News Service
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