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San Francisco area Bishop Warner Brown has begun his term as president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops.
Bishop Rosemarie Wenner of the Germany Episcopal Area has served as president of the Council since April 2014. Her two-year term ended at the close of the Council’s executive committee meeting on May 4. A formal celebration and the traditional “passing of the gavel” will take place at the Council of Bishops’ meeting in November 2014.
Bishop Robert E. Hayes Jr., who has served three terms as the Councils' secretary, was succeeded by Louisiana Area Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey.
Looking back over the past two years, Bishop Wenner said she believed that the viewpoint she offered as a central conference bishop serving in Germany had helped to provide a broader perspective on many pressing questions as the church seeks to live together in diversity.
“It’s an ongoing journey,” said Bishop Wenner. “I trust and I’m full of hope that Bishop Brown takes up these questions and that together, the bishops as a team can help the church to really keep focused on increasing the vitality in and through congregations that grow in ministries in the four areas of focus.”
Bishop Brown praised Bishop Wenner for her outstanding leadership. “I feel honored to follow Bishop Wenner, who has done a really excellent job of helping the council begin engaging the conversation of how we lead the church for this time,” he said. “I hope to step into those shoes and continue that conversation.”
Bishop Brown said his hope for the Council is that they can speak with one voice words of encouragement to the church “in the many places where the church is doing good work, where growth is happening, where lives are being touched and lives are being saved … we have much to celebrate.”
“We are a very diverse church with a lot of things to learn from each other about how we effectively can be the church and make disciples of Jesus Christ, transform the world and hear and see the needs of people,” said Bishop Brown. “In order to do that, we’ll need to talk with each other and be honest with each other and learn from each other. I hope I can facilitate that kind of conversation.”
The executive committee also focused on preparations for the November 2014 Council of Bishops’ meeting in Oklahoma City, Okla.