Latest from the Bishop

The Joyful Journey: Autumn reverie


We miss something deeply important if we neglect opportunities to slow down, watch the leaves change colors, and let a cool autumn breeze kiss our cheeks.

2011: How we’ve focused our ministry


by Cindy Gregorson and Barbara Carroll Looking back on 2011, the word that describes the work of the Minnesota Annual Conference is focus. We have spent the past year focusing our work and resources toward our key priorities of reaching new people and cultivating spiritual vitality. 1. We launchedthe Healthy Church Initiative, an intensive process for congregations to assess their ...

Being church vs. doing church


I was talking with a pastor of a new church in another denomination recently and was struck by his novel approach to ministry. What caught my attention was not just his seamless interweaving of Christian worship and interfaith dialogue. What caught my attention was not just the two-point charge he launched in two different restaurant/bars across town from one another. What caught my ...

New neighbors have arrived


I noticed something was changing as I handed out candy on Halloween. By my informal observation, 80 percent of my trick-or-treaters were NOT Caucasian. I live in Rosemount. Most people, upon hearing where I live, would expect the opposite . . . that 80 percent of my neighbors are Caucasian. I knew that the block I lived on was fairly diverse in terms of age and ethnicity—which is one of ...

Welcoming the C & E Christians


I admit it: I like those schmaltzy Christmas movies that the Hallmark channel runs around the clock this time of year. Yes, they can be cheesy. But they always tell a story of some kind of transformation. My favorites tell about someone whose heart is hardened and who is somehow an outsider, either by their own choice or circumstance. Eventually they get loved into new life and often ...

Glimpses of the past that shaped our witness


These days people may be able to choose from more than one United Methodist church within driving distance. But a hundred or so years ago, when people of European, African, and Asian descent were just starting to move into the Minnesota area, forming congregations entailed special challenges. What sacrifices did those early Methodist and Evangelical United Brethren make so we can enjoy ...

Choose generosity


I am one of those who commute to work every day. I don’t mind the drive. It is the traffic I hate. You can never predict it. Some days I sail into work; other days I barely crawl. On those crawling days, which are all too frequent, I find myself becoming increasingly impatient and frustrated, especially when we are stopped on the freeway for no apparent reason. I can understand how road ...

Experimentation is the road to the future


Do you remember when twitter was a bird’s song? text was ink on a page? applications were something you filled out for college admission? outlook was an attitude toward life? facebook was your family photo album? GPS was a Good Passenger in the adjacent Seat? and Skype was simply a typographical error? The world is changing at an accelerated pace. When we don’t try some new things, we ...

A conspiracy of kindness


One October the congregation to which I was appointed began a conspiracy. I am not sure how it got started. I just knew I was at the center of it. Every day something mysteriously showed up at my desk. Flowers, chocolate, a small gift, a personal note of thanks. Every day. For no apparent reason. I couldn’t imagine what I had done to deserve this. I was used to occasional notes of thanks...

Focusing on the essentials


We are a church with high aspirations. You should see the list of all the annual conference teams. They are trying to accomplish every good idea someone has had at some time, with the really good intentions of being responsive to people and expanding the circle of those with whom we are in ministry. The problem: we have become so wide in our scope of ministry that we are facing ...

Is our tent big enough?


Following her husband’s death, a member of a congregation I once led was rummaging through some old files in preparation for moving to a new apartment. She ran across a clipping from the World War II era that she passed on to me. I dropped it in a file of my own and recently ran across it as I perused and purged papers as I settled into my new office at the Minnesota Church Center. It ...

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Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

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