In the first presidential address of the quadrennium to the Council of Bishops at Epworth-by-the-Sea, Bishop Rosemarie Wenner encouraged the bishops to lead so that "we may be one in ministry to all the world."
"Oneness in ministry to all the world is not just a new program or a new structure to become more nimble and more effective. It is not only setting new goals for the new quadrennium. All this is important. But the most important thing is the spiritual renewal in all this," said Bishop Wenner.
United Methodist bishops from around the world are gathered at the retreat center to lay the foundation for the Council of Bishops' work over the next four years. The bishops will participate in a series of guided conversations to aid them in discerning the Council's role in moving the church forward.
Bishop Wenner encouraged her fellow bishops to "become a team, offering collegial leadership to the church and to the world."
"We are called to lead the church in challenging times to be a mission movement in order to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world," said Bishop Wenner. "We are here to explore what adaptive leadership means by listening to God, to one another, to the church and the world and by learning, reflecting, praying, visioning."
Wenner said that it's a time of new beginnings with newly elected bishops joining the Council. She urged her colleagues to find ways to direct resources towards helping congregations to be vital. She said that even though no significant structural changes were made during General Conference, "we can change the culture so that we can cooperate for the sake of helping one another in God's mission."
"I come from a country where it is common to ride a bicycle. Those of you who sometimes or frequently ride bicycles know from experience that it is impossible to sit on your bicycle and not to move forward. You will fall unless you continue to move. Christian unity in ministry to all the world is like riding a bicycle! We will fall unless we continue. We have to be on the move."
About the Council of Bishops
The Council of Bishops provides leadership and helps set the direction of the 12 million-member church and its mission throughout the world. The bishops are the top clergy leaders of The United Methodist Church, the second largest Protestant denomination in the U.S.