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A Newsletter for United Methodist Leaders

Vol. 28, No. 5/February 4, 2000

Seven Services Proposed for the Ordering of Ministry

General Conference delegates will have an opportunity to review and/or revise seven services for the ordering of ministry in the UMC.

A seven-person team (three bishops and two representatives each from the General Board of Discipleship and the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry) reviewed present services and prepared initial draft rituals for use and review by bishops and annual conferences. After receiving feedback, the team revised the services for presentation to the 2000 General Conference.

One service offers conferences an opportunity to conduct a single service in which deacons and elders are ordained and diaconal ministers are consecrated. Also, there is a ordination service for deacons in full connection and elders, but it may be used where there are only candidates under the 1996 Discipline. Adaptations of two 1992 rituals in the UM Book of Worship accommodate legislation in the 1996 Discipline. These provide separate services for the ordination of deacons and the ordination of elders. The team has also revised a 1992 service for the consecration of bishops.

Two new rituals are offered: 1) An order for commissioning of probationary members may be used at a time other than the services of consecration and ordination; and 2) "A Celebration of Christ's Ministry," may be used to recognize various ministries or to commission probationary members. The service, which focuses on the ministry of all Christians, may be adapted to the needs and style of each conference.

Cincinnati Layman to Deliver General Conference Laity Address 

Jim Nibbelink, lay leader of the West Ohio Conference, has been chosen to deliver the Laity Address at General Conference on the morning of May 3. 

Annual conference lay leaders from around the world were invited to submit written manuscripts. The speeches were judged on their own merit and without the names of the authors attached. 

A member of Armstrong Chapel UMC in Cincinnati, Nibbelink has served in leadership positions at the local, district, and conference levels. He was elected conference lay leader in 1996. Employed by Procter & Gamble, Nibbelink's current assignment involves installation of a global integrated information system. His work has included leading personal development and quality seminars. He also has consulted in areas of personal empowerment and creating organizational vision. -- UM News Service 

Advance Editions of DCA Now at Printer

The Advance Editions of the Daily Christian Advocate have gone to press and mailing will begin Feb. 24. The mailing will include two sections of legislative proposals from agencies, conferences, churches, groups, and individuals along with a handbook for delegates. This will be the first time that all petitions have been provided in a pre-conference mailing. In the past, petitions from general agencies and annual conferences had an earlier deadline and they were printed in a separate Advance Edition. A volume of petitions from churches, groups, and individuals was provided on the opening day of conference.

The handbook for delegates, which can later be put in a binder with daily editions, includes the agenda, names and addresses of delegates, legislative committee assignments, and the proposed plan of organization and rules of order.

The handbook reveals that the Faith and Order Committee, which is assigned petitions related to the Social Principles, will have the largest number of participants with 111. Other committees and membership numbers are: Global Ministries, 110; Discipleship, 105; Church and Society, 102; Higher Education and Ministry, 101; Financial Administration, 94; Local Church, 94; General and Judicial Administration, 93; Conferences, 85; and Independent Commissions, 72.

Assignments for a few delegations which have not turned in lists of their delegates or committee requests have yet to be made. 

Study of Communion Urged by Discipleship Board

A UM committee will spend the next four years developing a "comprehensive interpretive document on the theology and practice of Holy Communion in United Methodism" if a proposal from the General Board of Discipleship is accepted by General Conference. 

The board says such a study is needed because there are "persistent questions and varied practices related to frequency, `worthiness,' appropriate elements, modes of distribution, authority to administer Communion, length of service, effective presiding styles, and tone or mood of observance..." The proposed committee would be appointed by the Council of Bishops and would include two bishops and the general secretaries of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, the General Board of Discipleship, and the General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns.

Have questions about General Conference?  Call InfoServ at 1-800-251-8140, 8AM-4:30PM Central Time, Monday-Friday.  Email: infoserv@umcom.umc.org 

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